F1 bosses welcome delayed clarification of floor rules that ‘not all big teams had exploited’

2022 Austrian Grand Prix

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Formula 1 teams welcomed the FIA’s decision to delay introducing a clarification which could force some to change the design of their cars’ floors.

The behaviour of teams’ plank and skid assemblies has become a focus of attention as some teams suspect their rivals of using parts which flex excessively to improve their cars’ performance.

The FIA originally announced that a new technical directive clarifying this area of the regulations would come into force in time for the French Grand Prix. But at yesterday’s meeting of the F1 Commission the decision was taken to postpone it to the Belgian Grand Prix, over a month later, to allow teams more time to make any necessary changes to their cars.

“Following feedback and consultation with the teams and in order to allow the teams to make necessary updates to the plank and skid assemblies, which will ensure a fair application of the metric used to measure this oscillation across all cars, the implementation of the draft technical directive issued to the teams prior to the British Grand Prix will come into effect from the Belgian Grand Prix,” said the FIA and Formula 1 in a joint statement.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff drew attention to the behaviour of other teams’ floors following the Canadian Grand Prix three weeks ago. His driver George Russell said yesterday “Ferrari and Red Bull were probably pushing the boundaries with the planks a bit more than the interpretation of the regulation.”

Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto claimed the technical directive was aimed at addressing the ‘porpoising’ some teams have experienced this year. He said that as this problem has lessened in recent events – which have taken place on smoother circuits – the clarification can be delayed.

“We are still discussing much the TD and the porpoising,” he said in today’s FIA press conference. “But as a matter of fact it doesn’t seem to be an issue or a subject anymore.

“It was not a subject in Silverstone, it has not been here a subject, in Austria, for [any] of us. I’m pretty sure it will not be in the next two races.

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“So again, are we overshoot[ing] with the FIA, the subject? Was there really a true need to act and to release TDs? At first they did it in Canada not following the right process. It’s good that after that they reviewed it, they started a discussion at the [Technical Advisory Committee], there will be a new discussion next week at the TAC once again, trying to fine-tune it.

“On the floor there will be some changes which will be required because now a new clarification has been issued with new tests, which is required, new requirements, new specifications. It will take some time to do it so I think it’s good to relax it to Belgium because, not being a subject, there is no need to rush.”

However Wolff said the directive was needed to address the “different interpretation on the skid assemblies” used by some teams as it has a bearing on the performance of the cars. “That means how low you can run the car in the front and also stiffness of plank, which will be a discussion for next year’s regulations.

“Obviously, for us, we don’t need to change anything, so we would like to have it as soon as possible. It can help for porpoising, which Mattia said is not a big issue for the next races, that’s true, but it can be a performance topic. I think again, a compromise is coming for Spa that allows the teams that need to change enough time and we can live with that.”

Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack said he was “not surprised that there was a big reaction” to the technical directive, “because it seems that of the big teams not all have exploited this avenue.”

“I don’t think that will change anything for us,” he added.

Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vasseur indicated he would be happy with an even longer delay. “I think we could postpone to race 14 or even 16 or 18,” he said. “I’m not really convinced that it’s to the FIA to interfere into the set-up of the car.”

“It won’t be a big change for us,” he added, “but I’m a bit surprised with the reaction because in the regulation the plank is supposed to be a rigid.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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15 comments on “F1 bosses welcome delayed clarification of floor rules that ‘not all big teams had exploited’”

  1. Never got why RB were so against the clarification when they seem to suffer less porposing and would seemingly effect Ferrari and slow them down… then all this plank stuff came out and once again highlighted RB were literally bending the rules again.

  2. Embarrassing political games to name other teams who supposedly “interpreted” the floor rules, without looking to their own floor that needed an extra (illegal) support to become less flexible.
    I wish they stopped these games and do the talking on track.

  3. Mid-season rule changes shouldn’t be a thing, with the sole exception being dire safety issues. That is obviously not the case here.

    Once again, this rule change seems to have become a “Mercedes are on the backfoot and get a rule change to catch up” and quite frankly, that is a weird way to go about a competition.

    When the rule change was solely aimed at safety (because allegedly, Mercedes drivers were having severe backpain issues), fine, perhaps introduce regulations. However, everything added since then appears to be not about safety, but sour grapes. The other cars that allegedly flex were passing every test. If testing is to be changed, then do that from next season onwards, not in the middle of a season.

    1. jane stillman
      9th July 2022, 12:48

      Mercedes have already said they will not have to change anything as have Red Bull

    2. They were grasping at straws to help out Mercedes. There can’t be any doubt about that. The timing of everything that happened is incredibly suspicious even if you are a fan imo.

      First an ex-Merc employee joining FIA.

      Then in Baku with the help of some acting skills everything that is Mercedes, even the drivers screamed about safety.

      A technical directive is issued for Canada (a back-to-back race with Baku) 24 hours before the start of the weekend which not only is completely controversial since it basically changed the rules mid-season but Mercedes has already prepared a floor with an extra stray obviously by leaked inside information. <—– This is by far the most disgusting situation that happened so far.

      Then suddenly FIA comes up with floor flexing technical for which reason again? Why was DAS in the spirit of the rules and they let it go on, essentially killing a season by giving a team a rightfully gained but IMO unneeded advantage and floor flexing is not?

      The difference between the top 2 teams makes for unbelievably good racing this year. Nobody in their right mind would threaten to disrupt that with everything mentioned above. There is only one logical reason. Mercedes.

      1. You forgot to mention Ross Brawn and jean Todt and Stefano Domenicalli ran the FIA for several years. All were Ferrari men during the Ferrari International Assistance years. You’re welcome

    3. You’ll never avoid clarification of the rule so FIA has to define if grey area is white or black. Has been like that in the past and will continue in the future. Actually specifying what is legal or not and giving a time frame is the most faire it can be.
      In this case it’s an interpretation and defining the intention, RB and Ferrari are not losing any results and benefited from it, other teams can decide whether to try it for the few remaining races or accept they missed a trick that’s going to be banned.
      Exactly as it should be when there is a cost cap in place. Could also have been deemed legal in which case teams not using the trick would know that investing resources into it is not a waste.

      Haven’t read the rule but haven’t seen any team principal arguing about the intent of the rule which tend to support FIA position.
      Let’s not throw a stone at everything they do, they are far from perfect but still so sensible things.

    4. This is about the safety of the drivers… that trumps all other considerations.

      Some teams were bendin the rules, acting outside the sprit of the rules, as others were placing their drivers in jepody in order to compete. Naturally the FIA knowing what’s going on, had a duty of care to make it known.

      You can’t wait for an accident to then say well actually we knew all along the they weren’t all playing with the same type of ball or the same size goals.

  4. I can’t believe how naïve some people are. Accusing Mercedes of influeincing the FIA for a change? First, the TD with regards to porpoising was aimed against Mercedes, coz they were the most affected team, they had to either fix the issue or be in danger of disqualification. Second, the plan should be rigid and should not flex by more than 2mm. The FIA found out some floors are flexing by over 300% the allowed maximum, they issued a TD. Is following the rules now considered a bad thing? And why is the hate towards Mercedes? Mid season rules were all aimed to slow down Mercedes. Really some people literally have worse memories than fish. The FIA should have interfered to prevent teams from cheating, like they did last years with the flexi rear wings! I don’t get why the FIA are being lean towards such dirty tactics of cheating when you know you truck guarantees escaping a test.

    1. “I can’t believe how naïve some people are”

      Did you really say this after writing your ridiciulous paragraph?

    2. Coventry Climax
      10th July 2022, 0:50

      Fish actually have great memory. Failed for biology, most likely.

  5. When will you understand that Mercedes is the most damaging and toxic team for F1?

    How much nonsense, lies, hypocrisy covered up by a false desire to bring goodness to the world, diversity does it still take for you to open your eyes? How much longer will the British narrative continue? How much longer will the FIA employ people who help Mercedes? Why did Wolff come out with a proposal to kick the FIA out of F1? After all, it’s to his advantage, politically, he’s ganging up on everyone like a world champion. He compromises himself every time, but always gets what he wants.

    1. Did you not see the end of last season mate??!!

  6. When will you understand that Mercedes is the most damaging and toxic team for F1?

    Sorry but that title was taken long ago by Ferrari. Have you never heard the long-standing expansion of FIA?
    Have you forgotten the blatant engine cheating by Ferrari in 2019. The main mechanism of the cheat was covered by a “clarification” issued after Red Bull asked if that specific mechanism was legal.
    Should we start listing the RB infringements where they seem to have tried to take the dubious ethics title from Ferrari?

    1. Coventry Climax
      10th July 2022, 0:54

      What’s the name for when a kid that’s caught whines “But he does it too”?

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