FIA ignore Ferrari protest threats as rule changes approved in boost for Lewis Hamilton


The FIA’s World Motor Sport Council have given the green light to regulation changes for the rest of this season and in 2023 in a bid to combat the ‘porpoising’ issue that has plagued the efforts of Mercedes over the course of this year. The Silver Arrows led calls for alterations to be made before the summer break, with Lewis Hamilton and George Russell having suffered from the violent bouncing of their cars on long straights since pre-season testing.

Mercedes have now seemingly got their wish, with the FIA approving the changes on Tuesday after several months of discussions behind closed doors. Not everybody is expected to be on board with the new measures, though, and Ferrari have already threatened to protest the ruling in the event of its approval as they believe it would serve to benefit Mercedes.

The FIA will measure the levels of porpoising on all cars from the Belgian Grand Prix onwards and will expect teams to operate below a certain threshold in order to be considered safe. Additional restrictions on the stiffness of some parts of the floor will also be introduced, while the floor edges and diffuser throat height will be raised but only in 2023.

The changes are expected to mainly aid Mercedes, who have suffered with the issue of porpoising more than other teams. The safety of porpoising has however been called into question by a number of drivers since the start of this year. FIA president Mohamed Ben Sulayem has since reaffirmed that his main priority needs to be mitigating the health risks faced by those in the cockpit in order to reduce the risk of preventable injuries.

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“Safety is absolutely the highest priority for the FIA, and we have devoted significant time and resources to the analysis and resolution of the issue of porpoising,” explained Sulayem.

“I have personally discussed this matter with all of the teams and drivers, and while of course there are some differences in opinion owing to varying competitive positions, it is very clear that the FIA has a duty to act and ensure that the drivers are not put at undue risk of injury as a result of this phenomenon.”

It remains to be seen whether Ferrari will ultimately decide to protest the changes, which could leave teams with just a few months to alter the ongoing development paths of their 2023 cars. Team principal Mattia Binotto recently suggested that the Italian outfit could take action with regards to the FIA’s new measures when quizzed on the alterations by Motorsport.com.

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“I hope there won’t be any changes, I don’t see any real reasons to make changes to the technical regulations for safety reasons, especially if we look at the latest races,” said Binotto.

“In addition, if the aerodynamic regulations were to change for 2023 it would be a considerable problem considering the time of year we are in, there would be very little time to change the concept of the new car.

“And, I repeat, there are no reasons to introduce changes to the technical regulation by citing safety reasons. So, I think it can’t happen, and if it does, we’ll try to figure out how to stop them.”

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