Porpoising rule changes on safety grounds “a f****** joke” – Vasseur

Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vasseur believes the FIA’s argument that it needs to make changes to stop porpoising is “a f****** joke” and goes against the spirit of the rules.

The FIA is pushing through a new technical directive – starting from the Belgian Grand Prix – that will see the level of porpoising measured and a limit imposed that teams must stay within. That will then be followed by changes to the 2023 floor regulations, but a number of teams are unhappy with the governing body’s decisions and Vasseur says the justification is completely wrong.

“We started [the 2023 car] a couple of weeks ago and it’s true that now, changing ‘just’ the edge of the floor is not ‘just’, you have to change everything,” Vasseur told RACER. “From my point of view it’s far too late. It’s not the spirit of the regulation and the global regulation because we always pushed for stability in the regulations for cost cap and so on, because we want to carry over some parts that now we can’t anymore.

“Then from my point of view, to use safety grounds on this is just a f****** joke. Porpoising is not safety. Porpoising is easy to fix, you just have to increase the ride height.”

When it was put to Vasseur that the upcoming technical directive could have meant the 2023 changes were not required, he replied: “Don’t ask me because I don’t understand.

“But I’m not sure also that the matrix for safety reasons is a good approach, because using the same thing you could say we have to police the ride height in Spa because you can have bottoming into Raidillon. So the FIA could say ‘OK you have to run the car at 30mm because below 30 you could have bottoming into Raidillon’.

“Or when the track is damp and some teams are putting on slicks first, we are taking a risk. We can crash. And they can say ‘No, you have to use slicks only when it’s under 104% [of the fastest time]’. I don’t know, but if we go down this route… It’s much more risky for the FIA because if they put a limit on slicks and someone crashes then they will be responsible because the limit is not at the right place.

“If [Fernando] Alonso for example has mega pain in the back after Spa and he was below the matrix he could complain about the matrix. I’m not sure it’s the right way to police it. Safety is always a criteria in our choices. It’s a criteria for the brake temperatures, it’s a criteria when you are using intermediates or slicks… I think it’s a bit strange.”

Only Mercedes, McLaren and Aston Martin are believed to be in favor of the changes, with varying levels of opposition, but the FIA doesn’t need unanimity from the teams if it forces them through under safety grounds.