Horner: Porpoising crackdown heading into ‘dangerous avenue’

Jon Wilde
Christian Horner, Jost Capito and Otmar Szafnauer at a press conference. Silverstone July 2022.

Christian Horner, Jost Capito and Otmar Szafnauer at a British Grand Prix constructors press conference. Silverstone July 2022.

Christian Horner fears F1 could be heading down a “dangerous avenue” with the recently-announced porpoising clampdown influencing car set-ups.

An FIA technical directive was issued before the Canadian Grand Prix aimed at eliminating the porpoising that has been a major feature of the 2022 Formula 1 season with its all-new cars.

A data-gathering exercise took place during the Montreal weekend, but measurements of how much cars are oscillating will not come into effect until the French Grand Prix from July 22-24.

But although safety is the primary reason for wanting to eradicate porpoising, with drivers having reported severe back pain, Horner feels it is the wrong move for the FIA to be dictating how cars are set up – and also how the checks will be carried out.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, tries to pass George Russell, Mercedes. Barcelona May 2022.

“The metric they are talking about is quite complicated, that’s the concern about it, over what period is the measurement taken, individual instances and all that kind of thing,” said the Red Bull team principal at a British Grand Prix press conference.

“When you look at it from a purist point of view it’s not ideal because it seems we are giving more and more influence to the FIA to dictate what your set-up is.

“At what point do they say ‘you have to run this rear wing, or a certain ride height?’ It’s a dangerous avenue to go down.

“I understand on the grounds of safety this is being introduced, because the porpoising on a limited amount of cars is obviously at an extreme level, and they are looking into having that mechanism to control that.

“But hopefully it’s only something that will be there for this year and hopefully something all the teams will be on top of, as I’m sure all the cars will converge next year.

“It’s certainly not a precedent we want to go down, otherwise set-ups will be being dictated by the FIA directives.”

Red Bull, who are leading both World Championships by comfortable margins, are also uneasy about mid-season rule changes when they have been among the teams least affected by porpoising.

Regarding his thoughts on the metric being introduced, Horner had a supporter in Williams team principal Jost Capito who was also speaking at the press conference.

“The proposal is much too complicated,” said the German. “We have to find simpler solutions that still allow the team to work and do the set-up and still fulfil the regulations.”