Brain damage risks show FIA must act against porpoises in F1, says Wolff

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A push from the FIA ​​to change the 2023 technical regulations and raise floor edges by 25mm to help eliminate car bounce has not gone down well with most teams, who fear this will be an unnecessary and expensive redesign their new car plans.

FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem has been seeking the views of all teams and drivers over the past two weekends to get a better understanding of the situation and work out what action should ultimately be taken.

While some teams would prefer a 10mm floor raise, there is no guarantee that Ben Sulayem will agree to a compromise solution – and there is a potential legal challenge if the FIA ​​goes ahead with the original plan.

However, Mercedes is one of the teams to welcome the FIA’s stance on the matter, and team boss Wolff suggested that a medical report he received on Saturday during a meeting with Ben Sulayem at the Hungaroring was all the evidence that he was there for sure. had to be. should not dilute the approach.

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“There’s all this talk of lobbying both ways, but I think fundamentally, what are we talking about?” he said.

“The FIA ​​has ordered medical work on the porpoises. The doctors’ summary is that a frequency of 1-2 Hz, sustained for a few minutes, can lead to brain damage. We have 6-7 Hz for several hours .

“So the answer is very simple: the FIA ​​must do something about it.”

But despite the evidence from the FIA’s medical report, not all teams are convinced there is a real safety issue for next year.

George Russell, Mercedes W13, Carlos Sainz, Ferrari F1-75, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL36, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13, rest of the field at the start

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Photo By: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Ferrari believes the plans that come into effect at the Belgian Grand Prix, where teams must stay within an Aerodynamic Oscillation Metric (AOM), will be enough to get rid of the worst of the porpoises.

Race director Laurent Mekies said: “I think we have to be very careful when it comes to safety reasons.

“I think we were all in this” [press conference] room, last time we discussed it and that was for the halo, things like this.

“There are a few important topics to discuss going forward: roller hoops or something else. So I think you have to separate that from the discussions we have with teams, with the FIA, about how we can improve situations for the porpoises and in that context, the TD [for Spa] does a good job.”

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While porpoises have not been a problem in recent races, Wolff thinks it would be wrong to think the problem has been completely eradicated.

“I still fundamentally believe that there is no choice for the FIA ​​and for us to do anything,” he added.

“I don’t want it at Spa, or some of the later races where the track isn’t as smooth as a conventional race track, and we haven’t done anything, and people are saying, ‘well, it’s too late now.’

“The argument is we haven’t had porpoises and bouncing in the last few races. But it doesn’t count, because Silverstone, Paul Ricard and Austria are not really circuits that we bounce on.”

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