Unfair to change F1 rules over porpoise complaints

The return of ground influence with the new generation of F1 cars for 2022 has led to the porpoise phenomenon that has affected some teams worse than others.

The problem reached a new peak over the weekend at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix as drivers struggled with bouncing their cars along the surface of the street circuit, particularly in the long start/finish straight.

Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were vocal about safety concerns, while Alpha Torres driver Pierre Gasly felt the FIA ​​needed to find a solution “to save us from ending up with a stick at the age of 30”.

Red Bull has had a lot less porpoise problem with its car than many other teams. Max Verstappen led his teammate Sergio Perez to a 1-2 victory in Baku, extending Red Bull’s supremacy at the top of the two tournaments.

This is the first time that Red Bull drivers have finished first and second in the drivers’ standings since 2011, while its lead in the constructors’ championship is now 80 points.

While discussing a call for drivers to amend the rules to eliminate porpoises, Red Bull F1 boss Horner noted that teams “can always stick a thicker plate to the car if they want” and that “the easiest thing is to lift the car”.

“You have a choice of where to run your car, right?” Horner said. “You should never operate an unsafe car. But I think that’s more for the technicians. Because some cars have problems. And there are some cars that have very few problems.

“So it seems unfair to punish those who have done a decent job, versus those who may have missed the mark a little.”

Christian Horner, Team Principal, Red Bull Racing

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Horner added that the FIA ​​should only intervene if it was “a real safety concern across the entire network”.

“But if it’s only affecting isolated people or teams, it’s something that this team has to deal with,” he said.

It emerged over the weekend at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix that the teams had rejected a proposal last year to raise the minimum ride height for cars under the new regulations.

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But the growing call from drivers with safety concerns has brought the matter back into the spotlight ahead of this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix.

Asked how he would deal with his team’s drivers if Red Bull had trouble fishing, Horner said he would “ask them to pet as much as they can over the radio”, describing it as “part of the game”.

There are cures [porpoising] “But it hurts the performance of the car,” Horner said.

“So the easiest thing to do is to file a complaint. Each team has a choice.”

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