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AlphaTauri team principal Franz Tost has hailed the FIA’s decision to clamp down on ‘porpoising’ with a new technical directive in place from the Belgian Grand Prix. The FIA has introduced new measures to combat concerns surrounding the issue that has plagued several cars this season, most notably Mercedes.
On Tuesday, the governing body announced it would “re-define” the “stiffness requirements” of the wooden plank that runs along the bottom of F1 cars. Changes for 2022 and 2023 were announced to ease concerns about some teams having ‘flexi-floors’.
A statement read: “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.”
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And Tost has praised the FIA for its intervention with the new TD, making it clearer for teams to understand the limits on their cars. “From the regulation side, I think the FIA are doing a good job,” Tost told GPFans. It’s not so easy when teams are using safety for regulation changes because of this bouncing and so on.
“The FIA reacted quite good. Now we have the metric. They came up with a technical directive. Teams know now exactly what the limits are. They have to stay within this. Now it’s up to the teams to sort it out that the cars are not bouncing in a way that the drivers are not able to have everything under control.”
FIA rules make it clear that the wooden plank underneath cars must have a 2mm flexibility limit. However, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has been among those most vocal about suspicions that some teams had taken advantage of a grey area to gain up to 6mm.
Wolff will be just as delighted as Tost over the new TD, with the FIA expected to inspect cars more closely from Spa onwards.
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