BBC on why FIA’s Spa TD could affect Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull

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The FIA’s ‘anti-porpoising’ technical directive will also prevent teams from using ‘flexi-floors’. BBC’s Andrew Benson explains the details.

At the Belgian Grand Prix the FIA will start enforcing their ‘anti-porpoising’ technical directive, which will also prevent teams from using ‘flexi-floors’.

Since it is believed that Ferrari and Red Bull have been using this solution, the new directive could negatively affect their performance level.

In his BBC column, Andrew Benson has taken a look at the details.

“Mercedes have had a difficult start to the season – their least competitive for 10 years,” Benson wrote.

“But the first part of the year ended on a high with their first 2022 pole position – secured by George Russell, Hamilton’s best result yet – second place, and the team’s first double podium.

“Mercedes have made significant progress with the car in recent weeks, and are optimistic they can continue to do so, and inch closer to Ferrari and Red Bull on pace.


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“A rule change for this weekend gives them further hope too. Belgium marks the start of governing body the FIA’s attempt to control ‘porpoising’ – the buzzword of 2022 so far.

“This and the related phenomenon of ‘bouncing’ are directly related to the new technical rules introduced this season with the aim of improving the racing.

“These make it advantageous to run the cars as close to the ground as possible, which can set up an aerodynamic disruption that leads to the car developing a violent vertical oscillation (porpoising), and makes them prone to smashing into the track over bumps (bouncing).

“Back in June, the drivers collectively asked the FIA to take action, fearing there was a long-term risk to their health.

“Two key changes have been introduced before Belgium – a vertical oscillation metric, which defines the maximum permitted amount of bouncing; and stricter tests on floor rigidity. It is the latter that has the most potentially intriguing effect.



“The FIA has introduced a new test on the underbody ‘plank’ – a piece of hardwood that can wear only so much and which therefore prevents the ride-height from being run too low.

“The idea is to prevent the plank from bending upwards into a gap that had been deliberately left by some teams between the plank and underside of the monocoque for that purpose.

“Ferrari and Red Bull are two of the teams understood to have been using this design, which is believed to be effective in controlling porpoising. The Mercedes does not have such a gap.

“Will this affect the competitive order, and allow Mercedes to close up relative to Ferrari and Red Bull, independent of whatever upgrades each team introduces?

“Mercedes certainly believe so,” the Briton concluded.

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