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Porpoising: FIA to submit new 2023 regulations this week

Amidst the ongoing row over Oscar Piastri, F1 looks set for another storm as FIA president, Mohammed Ben Sulayem reveals that the new regulations to eradicate porpoising will be submitted this week.

Taking to social media tonight, Ben Sulayem tweeted:

“Having discussed the porpoising issue with all 20 F1 drivers & 10 team principals, I’m happy to confirm that we will be submitting updated 2023 Technical Regulations to the WMSC this week to address this, in addition to the measures already taken for the remainder of this season.”

The news will be welcomed by Mercedes which had been increasingly urging the change to the 2023 regulations in the name of safety. Indeed, only last week team boss, Toto Wolff revealed that the FIA had received a report claiming that sustained bouncing could lead to brain damage.

“The FIA has commissioned medical work on the porpoising,” he revealed. “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.”

However, a number of teams, most notably Red Bull and Ferrari have been against the move, with Christian Horner dismissive of the safety claim, believing that the change was more about aiding Mercedes.

“Here we are potentially in August, with what could be a major redesign of the car if the size of the floor were raised by the 25mm that they’re talking about, and other aspects,” he said in Hungary last week. “And I think one would say that that wasn’t purely on safety.

“I think that a compromise needs to be found,” he continued. “It’s a little bit of a tricky one because that regulation change is massive. It changes the whole concept of the aerodynamics. And it’s a tricky one for the FIA, because where do you draw the line?

“While yes, there is a safety obligation of the FIA to look into, where does that line stop? Because you know, do we need to seek permission to go from slicks to wet or wet to slicks? If we hit a kerb or not. You’ve just got to be very careful about the unintended consequences of these things. And, of course, the caveat is safety and safety is of paramount importance to everybody – but it has to be taken into context, I’d be far more concerned about the roll hoop on the Sauber, that’s needs looking at from a driver protection point of view, as opposed to, the bouncing or porpoising, as it’s become called, that we haven’t seen at recent races.

“I’m certain, in fact, if you’ve just left the regulations alone, the engineering capability in this pit lane is such that it wouldn’t really be an issue next year,” he insisted.

“But I think there is room for a compromise. The FIA President is personally getting involved. I know he’s spoken to, I think, all of the drivers. He’s speaking to all of the teams and hopefully clarity on that, certainly for next year, will be forthcoming in the next few days.”

Well, the president had made clear his decision and Horner and certain other teams are not going to be happy, indeed there has already been talk of legal action.

In the short term, at the Belgian Grand Prix later this month, the FIA will finally introduce the metric by which the bouncing (oscillating) can be measured, any teams that exceeds the mandated limit facing possible disqualification.

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