Guenther Steiner, Haas, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022

FIA’s porpoising response could ‘completely change the pecking order’ in F1

2022 Canadian Grand Prix

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Haas team principal Guenther Steiner says the FIA’s attempt to reduce porpoising in Formula 1 cars could drastically change the competitive order in the championship.

The sport’s governing body confirmed today it has issued a technical directive to teams outlining its plans to combat the severe porpoising and bouncing which have prompted complaints from a growing number of drivers in recent weeks.

Teams have been told their cars’ floors will be subjected to closer inspections at this weekend’s Canadian Grand Prix. The FIA also plans to impose a limit on the severity of vertical movement drivers are subjected to.

Steiner admitted the problem needs to be tackled but insisted the affected teams could improve the ride quality of their cars by not running them as low to the ground as they have done.

“We need to measure what it is,” he said. “And I think some of the cars are pretty bad.

“But then there is a solution, just raise the ride height. But then you go slow. Who wants to go slow?”

Mid-season changes to technical rules and standard equipment have proved controversial in the past, he pointed out. “It’s like, I don’t know how many years ago, when in the middle of the season we had the change of tyres,” said Steiner. “Something like this, you change something fundamentally, you could change the pecking order again completely. Is that really fair?”

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The FIA should restrict the severity of bouncing which is permitted, Steiner believes, rather than forcing teams to change their designs.

Report: Montreal is “going to hurt” in stiff 2022 cars say drivers hoping for bouncing fix
“Yes, it’s a safety factor, but that could be approached as well. If it is too dangerous, just raise your ride height.

“I think the measurement of this is to find a way where, if it is dangerous, without changing the regulations, to find a limit of something and saying if you are above this threshold [you get a penalty]. I don’t know what penalty you could give, I have no idea yet, I didn’t look into it as well and it’s pretty fresh all these things.”

Mercedes have found it especially difficult to control the porpoising on their car and their drivers have been particularly vocal about the discomfort they have experienced. However Steiner does not believe the team has successfully lobbied the FIA to introduce a rules change they have already prepared for.

“You know how malicious we are, we always think there’s something behind it. And then the next one could say, ‘oh, they’ve got already a solution for a solution’, if the FIA comes up with a change and then Mercedes has developed something in that direction already, and then they come out of the gate already running. But I think that is going a little bit too far.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Will Wood
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33 comments on “FIA’s porpoising response could ‘completely change the pecking order’ in F1”

  1. Good. Red Bull and Alpine were on top of things. Made the floor unnecessarily heavy to make it more compliant – then FIA mandated floor stays, so the weight gain was for nothing. That sort of rule change happens all the time, always to the detriment of the team that actually figured it out. With porpoising, the same looked to happen. I’m happy this measure is much more fair.

    1. What measure? Saying that cars that porpoise less ride better, I don’t think that is mutually exclusive.
      Ferrari porpoises the most but it looks to ride amongst the best, their performance at street tracks has been great and they take kerbs better than any other car also they look to run relatively high off the ground. McLaren and mercedes look as low to the ground as anything out there, one looks like a jack hammer and the other like a magic carpet.

    2. Red Bull made the floor necessarily heavy and rigid to stop porpoising. But then were over the minimum weight, and lobbied the FIA to increase it.
      Alpine and Alfa Romeo actually did the best job coming in just at the weight limit, but with a strong enough floor. But were both penalized when they had to make compromises to do that, and then the weight limit is increased rendering all that effort moot. Now theyre not as competitive as they could be when they actually followed the rules. This is pretty much the opposite of what the rules were intended to do. And we’re seeing some serious tests of the rules in the first year. Like toddlers Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes are constantly pushing too far hoping to get away with it.

  2. But I think that is going a little bit too far.

    “Only the paranoid survive.”

  3. Not sure what’s got Gunther worked up– Either his team has done the “right thing” by raising ride height, in which case why should they care, or they haven’t, in which case, why not?

    Unless of course, his team’s car is still shaking like a jackhammer, it’s just not hitting the track when doing so– in which case they might have a problem– along with pretty much every team on the grid.

    1. It’s worded a bit strange in the article but I think Steiner is actually in favour of this. He’s speaking out against a rules change as that would be unfair, but doesn’t see this as a rule change.

  4. This is the issue with all the budget & development restrictions.

    Fixing big problems becomes harder so teams struggling early on have less opportunity to improve. With these current restrictions and cost caps we would have never seen the dramatic McLaren improvement in 2004 & 2009 that brought them into race winning contention later in the year for example and i think thats a shame as that sort of thing is a part of the sport i always found enjoyable.

    They also mean any mid season rule changes will hit affected teams harder as again they will have less opportunity to alter and develop cars around those alterations.

    Not saying this will be the case but image if the FIA implement a rule change to fix the bouncing only for that rule change to destroy the performance of the Ferrari. That will not only hand the championship to Red Bull/Max but with the cap and development restrictions on top of Ferrari having less wind tunnel time from next month there season is basically over as they won’t be able to redevelop the car in time.

    They should rename it to ‘FIA Budget Formula 1 former GP1 car park championship’.

    1. @LyndaMarks Ferrari will actually have more wind tunnel time from next month if/when they’re still 2nd in the WCC post-Canadian GP, but otherwise, everything is more or less spot-on.

      1. Ferrari will actually have more wind tunnel time from next month

        I guess Ferrari will have less; they were 3rd at the end of last year and most likely 2nd mid season this year.

        1. @jff More versus RBR because lower position = more time.
          I quite clearly meant more than RBR since the original post references Ferrari’s wind tunnel time versus RBR.
          Less for the next six months than they’ve had thus far this year, yes, but this wasn’t the point.

      2. @jerejj you can safely drop the if/when part as Ferrari are 80 points behind so they will still be second in the WCC after Canada.

        1. @mattds Indeed. I forgot to note that 44 is the maximum team-specific score in a single race, automatically meaning the order will be the same post-race in any outcome.
          Therefore, Ferrari is already guaranteed to have more wind tunnel time than RBR for this year’s latter six months & RBR, of course, will have the least among all teams, like Mercedes, thus far this year.

  5. It is all going to come down to how the FIA go about it.
    If they apply blanket changes that negatively impact the teams that have done a good job, that is unfair, as they have done the job within the rules for this season.
    If they simply enforce a “Bounce limit” without changing rules, that would probably be a little more fair, but could still be to the detriment of those that have done a good job.
    The best answer for now is probably some form of bounce limit for the remainder of this season with rules changes to address it for next season, but still without making it so drastic that Teams have to go a change their fundamental concepts., Teams will have designed their current entries with a few years of development in mind, no major overhauls.

  6. So the FIA are not looking to change the rules, they are looking to limit bouncing to within medically acceptable levels.
    “According to the FIA, the short-term measures will include closer scrutiny of the planks and skids underneath the cars, both in terms of their design and their observed wear. They will also define a metric – the exact mathematical formula of which is still being analysed, and which the F1 teams have been asked to contribute to – to define a limit for the “acceptable level of vertical oscillations”.

    This seems reasonable.

  7. it will be fun to watch this unfold, who is going to be on the right & wrong side of this change?

  8. Using Lewis as an example, for Baku his MB was obviously set up for maximum performance and to hell with his pain threshold. His race pace in clean air was pretty good, easily the 5th fastest car. What would his race pace be were it set up for Lewis’s comfort and greater drivability (a combo of higher ride height, softer springs, less downforce, etc.)? Would a comfortable, less stressed Lewis make up the performance deficit due to minimizing of oscillations and impacts?

    1. He was still 2 secs a lap slower in race pace than Red Bull and Ferrari (Leclerc).
      Merc have got a lot of work to do, to fix porpoising and performance.

    2. @greenflag Looks like we’re going to find out now that FIA has decided to intervene where the team chose not to.

  9. Shane O Laake
    17th June 2022, 0:31

    Since it’s the symptom that’s the problem, monitor the symptom and let the teams design around it. Use the sensors in their helmets (earpieces I think) or add a new one. Cross a threshold and the car is black flagged. Teams can do whatever is needed to stay below threshold. No need to police ride height or any other factor beyond the existing rules and measures.

  10. Watch the video in this article on
    “FIA to introduce measures to control proposing in the interest of safety” – it is Data up to Spain, interesting that at points Merc have actually had the least proposing, they just got it totally wrong at the last race, but it is clear that they can dial it out without tech rule changes.

  11. I don’t understand what was Steiner mean by “The FIA should restrict the severity of bouncing which is permitted”. It is exactly what FIA aim for by saying “quantitative limit for acceptable level of vertical oscillations”, which mean penalty for any team that exceed normal limit suggested by medical advisor.

    I’m ready for a new live AWS dashboard about how many times vertical oscillations happen in each team and what the penalties. Let say every 2000 vibration that exceed 6mm are equal to 0.5 second time penalty.

    1. I don’t understand what was Steiner mean by “The FIA should restrict the severity of bouncing which is permitted”.

      I suppose he means “not just short term”, but I’m far from fluent in Steiner-lingo. He clearly expects mandatory design changes rather than setup changes. It oozes from the entire article…

    2. Let say every 2000 vibration that exceed 6mm are equal to 0.5 second time penalty.

      Given they are looking at limiting acceleration, not displacement, this is unlikely.

      More likely is that they place an upper limit on vertical acceleration (4g? 5g?), possibly with a clause allowing it in extreme situations.

      1. 4-5G is a lot. I’m guessing we are talking “no more than X vertical accelerations above 0.8/0.9/1 G per minute”

  12. Completely changing the pecking order is exactly what this was all about. Wouldn’t be surprised if a certain team starts winning all the time again.

    1. @mayrton it’s about driver safety, first and foremost. This change is more likely to hinder your bete noire than help them

    2. Highly unlikely. The changes outlined are more likely to negatively affect Mercedes than any other team.

      In fact, these changes look most likely to benefit RBR, as they are exhibiting one of the least amounts of porpoising so will have to make the fewest changes to comply. Ferrari, on the other hand, see more porpoising, so these changes are likely to force them to make more modifications than RBR, which are more likely to reduce their performance (otherwise they’d have made them already).

      All things considered, there is a very high chance that this will be massively advantageous to RBR and leave them running away unchallenged with both championships.

      1. @drmouse A fair assessment. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ferrari is ticked off about this mandate, in spite of whatever punishment their drivers were going through, for at least the payoff is/was there for them. It’s going to be fascinating to see what changes if any RBR has to make, and what the presumably bigger changes Ferrari will have to make will do to their performance. Might be relatively little or it might be significant. Of course it will also depend on the track etc etc. At some tracks it should in my view take less car raising to comply to the new TD than at other venues.

  13. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    17th June 2022, 13:29

    I’m just hoping that this doesn’t give a free pass to teams to sort out what are their own issues for making their cars go faster when there is an option that may make the ride better, but lose performance.

    Alfa Romeo for example never really look to have much in the way of bouncing at all and at most tracks this year, they have been at the top of the midfield. It would be unfair if they were forced to change their setup, while also being unfair if other teams were allowed to take advantage of changing their setup without compromising themselves a little. Alfa seem to have managed to get solid performance without this issue, and if it is possible for any other team to reduce their issues simply by raising the ride height / making their car slower, then that is what they should do. Too bad they are struggling.

    To me it is similar to when Mercedes were the dominant team and many of us just accepted that they had done the best job. Well this year, virtually all teams are suffering from this to some degree (though some more than others), but alfa much less so, and Mercedes especially doing these experiments to try and be faster are making it worse, so sadly, whatever teams suffer should just accept that they will have to go slower.

    1. @thegianthogweed Interesting you haven’t mentioned RBR who for all intents and purposes have had insignificant porpoising starting at pre-season testing and therefore have shown the rest of the grid that a winning car with porpoising barely worth a mention, within the current regs and caps, and without a mid-season TD, is possible.

    2. @thegianthogweed the thing is Alfa Romeo great development before the season started is more likely to get sacrifice for other team benefits. Just like minimum weight.

  14. ah, it haven’t even been half a season yet. where’s Brawn and his self-praise now

  15. Sergey Martyn
    17th June 2022, 16:48

    Steiner’s wet dream: MAG – P1, MSC – P2 or vice versa.

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