Lewis Hamilton told to ‘stay at home’ ahead of British GP

Several drivers have expressed their concern over safety as a result of the ground effect aerodynamics on the new cars.

AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost is not inclined to show a lot of sympathy for drivers who are complaining about the “porpoising” and bouncing issues due to the new technical regulations.

Ground effect aerodynamics have been reintroduced this season in a bid to help drivers follow more closely and, ultimately, improve the racing spectacle.

The new aero concept means that the chassis design is radically different compared with before, and the cars are also running a lot lower to the ground – the added load on the suspension means that it has to be stiffer to deal with it.

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This stiffness caused bouncing in and of itself and, couple that with turbulence from the chassis, it makes for a very uncomfortable experience.

Sir Lewis Hamilton struggled to get out of his car after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, and multiple drivers have been outspoken about the long-term health effects the abrasion with the track surface can have.

The FIA therefore introduced a technical directive at the Canadian Grand Prix designed to eradicate the issue and make for a safer experience for the drivers.

They have implemented a metric for how much force the cars are being subjected to and they will use the data collected in Montreal to set a limit for oscillating movement.

Any team that exceeds this will be asked to raise the ride height of their car, but Tost is unsure why there is such a big surprise in the discomfort the drivers are going through, given the anticipation that the new machines would be less comfortable than the previous ones.

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“When this new regulation was created, it was clear from the very beginning onwards that these cars will not be easy to drive,” he said.

“Why? Because this floor, with a Venturi principle, makes it necessary that the cars are set up quite stiff; that the cars are quite close to the surface, and that the front and rear ride-height is quite low. 

“At least, you will gain a lot of performance if the car’s setup as low as possible, and as hard as possible.

“In addition to this, you have the 18-inch tyres, therefore it is clear that there is less damping coming from the tyres, and that the cars are not any more so comfortable to drive as it was in the past. Now, the drivers complain about it.

“On one hand, I can understand – it’s not so easy for them. On the other hand, this is a Formula 1 car. 

“I remember back when the wing cars were out there, there was a driver coming to me on Sunday evening and said ‘tomorrow I have to go to the dentist because I lose my fillings because the cars are so hard to drive.’ It’s nothing new.”

The Austrian indicated that anyone struggling physically with the new cars should adjust their training to better prepare themselves for the bumps.

“Now, there are two things. First of all, the drivers must do more training for the neck muscles and for the gluteus maximus, then this helps, for sure,” added Tost.

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“The FIA is coming now with this new Technical Directive, which, of course, will help to find out how big are the forces. 

“And then, when they create these metrics, then maybe we can find a way to reduce the bouncing, and the forces which are coming to the drivers. 

“How much this can be controlled, I don’t know yet. We, from Scuderia AlphaTauri will support the FIA.

“We will give them the data and then we will see what will be the result. 

“But this is a Formula 1 car, this is not a Rolls Royce, and drivers should be aware of this. 

“And if the cars are too stiff, or it’s too difficult for them, maybe they should stay at home, in the living room, sit in the chair, and then they can do the races on TV or wherever. I don’t know.”

Former F1 driver and 13-time race winner David Coulthard has also previously told any drivers moaning about their hardships in the cockpit to “get on with it,” indicating that there would be plenty of up-and-coming racers ready to replace them if they do not want to race.