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Formula 1

Ferrari challenges validity of FIA’s action on F1 bouncing

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
3 min read

Ferrari has told the FIA it does not consider new technical directives aimed at helping control the porpoising and bouncing of Formula 1 cars to be “applicable”.

Ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix weekend, the FIA informed teams it intends to set a limit for the vertical oscillations drivers can be subjected to.

It will force teams to alter their set-ups if they are found to be breaching that limit and the FIA is also exploring changes to the technical regulations for the future to reduce the potential for this phenomenon to occur, and to improve the ride quality in general.

Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto said it is valid to consider technical changes to tackle the porpoising phenomenon, which Ferrari has been one of the worst affected by.

But Ferrari is not happy with how the FIA has gone about this so far, as it believes it is tantamount to a unilateral change of regulations.

“For us, that TD’s not applicable,” Binotto said when asked by The Race for Ferrari’s position on the issue.

“And it’s something we mentioned to the FIA.

“A TD is there to clarify regulations, or to address policing. It is not there to change the regulations. That’s [a matter of] governance.”

Even though the FIA can unilaterally implement changes on safety grounds, there is still a process to follow.

Binotto argued that the FIA should undertake a consultation with the Technical Advisory Committee, which is the forum in which potential rules changes can be tabled, before a new regulation is drafted and then put to the FIA World Motor Sport Council for formal approval.

In the end, while the FIA did begin a process of data gathering from all the cars throughout the practice sessions in Canada, there was no bouncing metric established for the race itself.

It was felt that the complexity of establishing that metric from all the data from the different cars was not going to be a quick job.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Canadian Grand Prix Race Day Montreal, Canada

The British Grand Prix is now being mooted as the likely implementation of the full directive.

Binotto said: “They [the instructions in the technical directive] have been issued by mistake.

“Part of it, the metric, has not been applied. And the extra brackets have been not fitted in any car for the weekend.

“So, a big noise for nothing.”

Binotto was partly referring to another element of the FIA’s technical directive in which it has permitted teams to add a second floor stay to try to help any struggling team stiffen its floors to help prevent porpoising.

Mercedes was the only team to trial this in Canada, much to the curiosity of rival teams – including Ferrari – which wondered how it could have readied a part so quickly given notice of the technical directive only came on Thursday.

The second stay appeared on George Russell’s car in first practice on Friday and Lewis Hamilton’s as well in FP2, and Mercedes said this was an attempt at responding to the FIA technical directive on-site.

Binotto was evidently sceptical about Mercedes’ claim, though.

“Toto says they did it overnight,” Binotto said of his Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff.

“What I can say is that Ferrari would not be capable of doing it.

“No doubt I’m surprised that a team is so strong in doing that overnight.

“I can maybe only trust what he’s saying.”

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