F1 has introduced new rules for 2022 designed to make racing closer and more exciting. It’s a massive shift from the old regulations, so the teams have had to start from scratch this season.

The FIA has announced it is introducing new measures to combat ‘porpoising’ amid concerns over Formula 1 drivers’ safety.

The severe bouncing of cars has been an unexpected issue following the introduction of F1’s all-new design regulations for 2022, with Mercedes one of the worst impacted teams.

Lewis Hamilton has complained about the problem throughout the season, but with the bumpy Baku street circuit at Azerbaijan GP deepening the issue and leaving the seven-time world champion in severe pain after the race, F1’s governing body has taken action.

What is porposing?

Porpoising is where Formula One cars start bouncing when they reach their highest speeds. It has plagued most teams to varying degrees this season. However, the FIA was forced to get involved following the Azerbaijan Grand Prix when drivers became more vocal about the injuries to their backs.

What causes porpoising?

A vital component of the ground effect in Formula 1 is the use of wind tunnels built into the car’s underbody, also known as Venturi tunnels. The airflow through these spaces must be uninterrupted for the desired benefits to be realized properly.

When airflow is alternatingly obstructed and resumed at a rapid rate due to inefficient design or vehicle damage, it produces that noticeable bouncing effect that drives racing teams crazy and can severely impact who wins championships and who’s forced to go back to the drawing board.

Mercedes and Williams are the biggest gainers from the reset of Formula 1’s aerodynamic testing restrictions for the year’s second half.

Mercedes and Williams are lower in the constructors’ championship at the midway point of the 2022 season than at the end of the last campaign.

This means Mercedes moves from 70% of the aerodynamic testing limits governing wind tunnel and CFD use for the year’s first half to 80% for the second. This is based on the ATR rules set out in Appendix 7 of the sporting regulations.

Very dangerous

Red Bull F1 team principal Christian Horner is unhappy with the FIA’s technical directive for this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix, describing it as potentially very dangerous.

“The FIA, you can understand safety being their main concern, but to drop a technical directive like that just as we’re coming into a weekend, without any consultation, it just feels the wrong way to be going about things,” Horner told Sky. “I think there needs to be proper consultation with the experts. 

“A solution can be found. It’s a very dangerous thing to be giving the FIA the right to set up your rear ride height and your set-up going into a race. What happens if the wind changes during the race? What happens if the porpoising gets worse for whatever reason, based on the baseline they give? So it’s the metric with, how could they measure it? 

“To apply this regulation – that’s what needs to be discussed. The intent is all well and good but it’s not been introduced in the right way.”