Given the fact that Formula 1 introduced its ground effect cars as part of its major technical regulations overhaul for the current campaign, one somewhat unforeseeable consequence was the return of vertical oscillating – or porpoising, especially on the straights.
Porpoising has caused issues for a few teams, mostly Mercedes, which led to calls for rule changes justified for safety grounds, that has led to a stand-off for months between teams regarding this topic.
After a lot of debate from FIA’s World Motorsport Council, those rule changes have now been officially confirmed. As anticipated, the Spa race which take place later this month will mark the start of the FIA monitoring the aero phenomenon, as the FIA will bring changes to the stiffness requirements of the underfloor plank and skids.
Starting with the 2023 Formula One campaign, the edges of the car floors will be raised by 15mm, while the diffuser throat height will also be raised and its edges stiffened.
The FIA will also impose an additional sensor to be used on the floor to evaluate porpoising, while the governing body explained that the floor changes will be implemented in a way that should “avoid any impact on the teams’ designs of the mechanical components”.
Changes to the roll hoops on cars for next year will also be introduced as a direct result of Alfa Romeo drive Zhou Guanyu’s massive accident at the British GP.
Zhou’s car was flipped over following contact between George Russell and Pierre Gasly at the start of the Silverstone race, with the Chinese driver’s Alfa Romeo sliding upside down until it vaulted the tyre barrier and landed in front of the catch fencing.
After an investigation following the failure of Zhou’s roll hoop in the incident, the FIA has ratified changes for the next F1 campaign.
Changes will be needed to the top of the roll hoop concept, with the goal of limiting the chances of it digging into the ground during a similar incident as was the case with Zhou’s car.
The minimum height for the point at which the homologation test is applied will also be made, while there will be a new homologation test to better test roll hoops against adverse loads.
The plan is of the 2024 homologation tests of roll hoops to be overhauled and thus further improve the safety of the part.