The FIA’s drive to amend the 2023 technical standards and raise floor edges by 25mm to assist minimise car bouncing has angered the majority of teams, who feel it will compel an unneeded and costly rethink of their new car designs.
Over the previous two weekends, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has canvassed the opinions of all teams and drivers in an attempt to gain a better understanding of the situation and determine exactly what measures should be adopted in the end.
While some teams would much prefer a 10mm raising of the floor, there is no guarantee that Ben Sulayem will agree to a compromise solution – and there has been talk of a potential legal challenge if the FIA goes ahead with the original plan.
Mercedes, on the other hand, welcomes the FIA’s stance on the topic, and team manager Wolff stated that a medical report he was presented in a meeting with Ben Sulayem at the Hungaroring on Saturday was all the evidence he needed to ensure that the approach would not be watered down.
“There’s all this talk of lobbying in either direction, but I think fundamentally, what are we talking about?” he said.
“The FIA has commissioned medical work on the porpoising. The summary of the doctors is that frequency of 1-2Hz, sustained over a few minutes, can lead to brain damage. We have 6-7Hz over several hours.
“So the answer is very easy: the FIA needs to do something about it.”
Despite the FIA medical report’s evidence, not all teams are convinced that there is a genuine safety problem for next year.
Ferrari believes that the measures that will be implemented at the Belgian Grand Prix, in which teams will be required to adhere to an Aerodynamic Oscillation Metric (AOM), will be sufficient to eliminate the worst of the porpoising.
Racing director Laurent Mekies said: “I think we need to be very careful when we speak about safety grounds.
“I think we were all in this [press conference] room last time we discussed it and that was for the halo, these sort of things.
“There are a few important topics to be discussing in future: roll hoops or something else. So I think you need to separate that from the discussions we are having with teams, with the FIA, on how to make situations better for the porpoising and in that context, the TD [for Spa] is doing a good job.”
While porpoising has not been an issue in recent races, Wolff thinks it would be wrong to think the problem has been eradicated completely.
“I still fundamentally believe that there is no choice for the FIA and for us to do something,” he added.
“I don’t want to have it in Spa, or at some of the later races where the track is not as smooth as on a conventional racetrack, and we haven’t done anything, and people say: ‘well, now it’s too late.’
“The argument is we haven’t had any porpoising and bouncing in the last few races. But it doesn’t count because Silverstone, Paul Ricard, and Austria aren’t exactly tracks that we bounce at anyway.”