Bottas: Porpoising ‘getting quite serious’, sees injury risk

Jamie Woodhouse
Valtteri Bottas drives past the castle in the Alfa Romeo C42. Azerbaijan, June 2022.

Valtteri Bottas drives past the Baku castle in the special liveried Alfa Romeo C42. Azerbaijan, June 2022.

Valtteri Bottas says Formula 1 drivers and the FIA have met to discuss future steps after porpoising got “serious” in Baku.

The bouncing phenomenon has been present since Formula 1 switched to ground-effect aerodynamics for 2022, Mercedes and Ferrari looking particularly prone to bouncing along the straights.

At the Azerbaijan Grand Prix various drivers spoke up about the issue.

Mercedes’ George Russell wants action taken before Formula 1 sees a major incident due to porpoising, while his team-mate Lewis Hamilton spoke of suffering with serious back pain.

Carlos Sainz demanded swift FIA action, Pierre Gasly spoke of potentially “ending up with a cane at 30 years old” and Daniel Ricciardo said the drivers could “macho” through the bouncing for a race but not for a season.

Bottas then joined the group of drivers weighing in on the topic, acknowledging it is becoming a “quite serious” issue.

“I’ve seen how sore some of the drivers are after the race,” said Bottas, quoted by BBC Sport.

“Some of the certain speeds and corners…the cars are less under control because of it.

“It’s definitely a topic and it’s getting quite serious.”

In conversation with BBC Sport, Bottas added: “[I’m] not sure how sustainable that is in the future and we start to actually see injuries of drivers just by driving the cars – that’s not how it should be.

“We, as drivers, spoke with the FIA at the last race and made the point pretty clear that we would like to seek any options in the future for how we can improve it.”

Carlos Sainz's Ferrari heads a train of cars. Baku June 2022.
Carlos Sainz's Ferrari heads a train of cars during the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Baku June 2022.

Many drivers endured a very bumpy ride in Baku, although Bottas said the porpoising issue has not hit himself or Alfa Romeo to the same level other teams and drivers have experienced so far.

“I don’t think I’ve ever felt it in the worst way that some teams or drivers are experiencing it,” he confirmed.

A recent report suggested the FIA are willing to make technical changes to address the ride of the 2022 challengers but that some teams were preventing that from happening.

After the race in Baku, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner suggested the porpoising complaints were all “part of the game” as the issue can be managed by raising the ride height of the car, but that means less downforce and thus performance.