F1 News: Pat Symonds Slams FIA Over Mercedes Porpoising – “Most Teams Now Understand”
Formula 1’s Chief Technical Officer (CTO), Pat Symonds, recently spoke about the porpoising problems that plagued the 2022 season in an interview with Auto Motor Und Sport.
Symonds explained that the issues had been highlighted as a potential problem when the rule changes were introduced, but they were not taken into account. The porpoising problems were particularly problematic for Mercedes, who struggled with them from the start of the season. Once they were able to get the porpoising under control later in the season, it became clear that they had been covering up a range of other issues with their car.
Symonds also criticized the way that the FIA handled the situation with Mercedes. Team principal Toto Wolff and the Mercedes garage had been complaining about the numerous porpoising issues they were experiencing, and after Lewis Hamilton had to crawl out of his car following the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Wolff used medical reports to push for changes to be made.
The CTO said that he believed Mercedes “overreacted” and “went public quite vociferously” after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. He argued that if the FIA had not intervened, the problems would have eventually been resolved, as most teams had learned how to control the bouncing.
Symonds is a highly experienced motor racing engineer, having served as CTO for Williams from 2013 to 2016 and also worked for Benetton, Renault, and Virgin Formula One teams. He became CTO for Formula One in 2017. In the interview, he stated:
“There is no doubt that the bouncing has changed things.”
He went on to explain that he disagreed with the way the FIA handled the situation with Mercedes:
“I think they overreacted a bit after Baku. In Baku, we saw the worst repercussions because a team tried something that didn’t work and then went public quite vociferously. If they hadn’t intervened, the problems would have been solved. Most teams now understand how to control bouncing.”
Overall, it seems that the porpoising problems of the 2022 Formula 1 season were a result of a combination of rule changes and teams not properly accounting for the potential issues that these changes might bring. While the problems were eventually resolved, they caused significant difficulties for certain teams, and the way that the situation was handled by the FIA was also a source of controversy. It remains to be seen whether similar issues will arise in future seasons.