Guenther Steiner, the team principal of Haas, believes the FIA's efforts to eliminate porpoising in Formula 1 vehicles might radically alter the championship's competitive order.
The governing body of the sport announced today that it has issued a technical guideline to teams outlining its measures to counteract the excessive porpoising and bouncing that has triggered an increasing number of driver complaints in recent weeks.
At this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix, teams will be subjected to stricter inspections of their vehicles' floors. In addition, the FIA intends to establish a restriction on the intensity of vertical movement drivers must endure.
Steiner acknowledged that the issue must be addressed, but he claimed that the affected teams could improve the ride quality of their cars by not keeping them so low to the ground.
“We need to measure what it is,” he said. “And I think some of the cars are pretty bad.
“But then there is a solution, just raise the ride height. But then you go slow. Who wants to go slow?”
In the past, mid-season adjustments to technical rules and standard equipment have been unpopular, he noted. "It's like, I don't know how many years ago, when we changed tires in the midst of the season," Steiner added. “Something like this, you change something fundamentally, you could change the pecking order again completely. Is that really fair?”
Steiner argues that the FIA should limit the amount of permissible bouncing rather than requiring teams to adjust their designs.
“Yes, it’s a safety factor, but that could be approached as well. If it is too dangerous, just raise your ride height.
“I think the measurement of this is to find a way where, if it is dangerous, without changing the regulations, to find a limit of something and saying if you are above this threshold [you get a penalty]. I don’t know what penalty you could give, I have no idea yet, I didn’t look into it as well and it’s pretty fresh all these things.”
Mercedes has had a particularly difficult time controlling the porpoising on their vehicles, and their drivers have been very vocal about the discomfort they've suffered. However, Steiner does not believe that the team has effectively persuaded the FIA to implement a rule change for which it has already planned.
“You know how malicious we are, we always think there’s something behind it. And then the next one could say, ‘oh, they’ve got already a solution for a solution’, if the FIA comes up with a change and then Mercedes has developed something in that direction already, and then they come out of the gate already running. But I think that is going a little bit too far.”