Ferrari and Red Bull to lose performance as FIA will monitor ‘central floor flexibility’ from Spa

The cars will be tweaked for the rest of 2022, before more alterations are brought in next season.

The FIA has confirmed that the teams have found common ground over the 2023 technical regulations, enabling them to be pushed through.

A number of teams, Mercedes in particular, have been victims of “porpoising” and bouncing this season, in a phenomenon brought about by the technical regulations introduced ahead of this year.

The new ground effect aerodynamics meant a reshuffle of the chassis design, and this, in the Silver Arrows’ case, caused turbulence that resulted in the floor violently hitting the track surface.

The German side have shown faith in their ambitious concept of virtually no sidepods, hoping that they would ultimately find a way to get around the aerodynamic issues.

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They eventually did just that, but when they felt able to run the car low again, they encountered bouncing, which involves the floor hitting the circuit on its own.

This is not so bad over one lap, but as the plank wears away, it becomes ever more uncomfortable, as Sir Lewis Hamilton discovered in Baku.

The pace of the eight-time champions has picked up since then, as evidenced by the seven podiums Hamilton and George Russell have managed in the last six races.

However, they are yet to get a win on the board in 2022; in fact, the Ferrari pair of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc have won four of the opening 13 races, while Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has won eight, and his team-mate Sergio Perez one.

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The lack of performance for Mercedes is what aroused suspicion when a technical directive was introduced at the Canadian Grand Prix.

The FIA took measurements of the cars, which would then inform a limit on oscillating movement, so they have the power, as of the next race in Belgium, to ask teams to raise their ride height if their bouncing exceeds that.

They have also banned the moving skid blocks some teams have been using, and it has also been confirmed that they are taking action on some of the wooden planks, which were found to be flexing more than 2mm.

Next season, there were initial proposals to raise the height of the front wing floor edges by 25mm, as well as raising the diffuser throat.

Also touted were more stringent deflection tests and more accurate sensors to detect oscillation, and it is all being brought in due to safety concerns.

The view from Red Bull and Ferrari is that Mercedes are using safety to influence the regulations in their favour, so they were against it.

Other teams were also opposed due to the fact that changing the cars now means undoing all of the work that has already been done on the 2023 machines.

Therefore, the FIA were talked down to a 15mm raising of the edges, and these plans, among others, have been submitted for next season.

“The phenomenon of vertical oscillations (‘aerodynamic porpoising’), combined with low ride heights and minimal rake, have been a noted characteristic of the new generation of Formula 1 cars, introduced in 2022, and has been discussed several times in the Technical Advisory Committee meetings,” read a statement from the FIA.

“The appearance of this phenomenon raised concerns about safety and the health and wellbeing of the drivers.

“While the effect of this phenomenon has been less pronounced on some recent circuits, the FIA believe its occurrence, and the associated safety issues, will remain and potentially become even worse in the future.

“The FIA have consulted extensively with the teams and have come to a final position as follows:

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“From the Belgian Grand Prix, the FIA will measure the phenomenon and expect teams to operate below a certain threshold in order for their car to be considered safe. In addition, the following measures are approved for 2022 and 2023:

“[For 2022] Central Floor Flexibility – changes to re-define the stiffness requirements of plank and skids around the thickness measurement holes.

“[For 2023] The floor edges will be raised by 15mm. The diffuser throat height will be raised, while care has been taken to avoid any impact on the teams’ designs of the mechanical components. The diffuser edge stiffness will be increased.

“An additional sensor will be mandated to monitor the phenomenon more effectively.”

It is as yet unknown whether there will be a protest from any of the teams regarding the new laws being introduced, but the fact that a compromise was found on the floor edges would suggest that everyone is just about on board with the changes.