The FIA's new technical directive may impact the F1 order and generate debate.

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© FIA

The FIA's most recent update addressing the porpoising technical directive, which was initially presented to the teams in Canada, has postponed the introduction of limits on the intensity of any bouncing until the French Grand Prix.

After analyzing the data from Montreal, the regulatory body has now established a monitoring indicator for the issue. This was sent to the teams this weekend at Silverstone so that they may "perform their own study during the next two grand prix to determine what, if any, improvements they may need to undertake in order to be compliant."

The most intriguing aspect of this upgrade, however, is to the "new parameters" addressing plank wear and stiffness, "which are intrinsically tied to the same issue and go hand in hand with the metric."

The FIA has announced that it will henceforth consider any configuration of a car's chassis around a plank that flexes more than 2mm to be in violation of rules 3.5.9e and 3.15.8a:

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“3.5.9e. The thickness of the plank assembly measured normal to the lower surface must be 10mm ± 0.2mm and must be uniform when new. Due to wear, a minimum thickness of 9mm will be acceptable, and compliance with this requirement will be evaluated at the peripheries of the allocated holes.

“3.15.8a. Bodywork within RV-

PLANK may deflect no more than 2mm at the two holes in the plank at XF=1080 and no more than 2mm at the rear-most hole when the car is supported at these locations without the driver. The vehicle will be supported by 70mm-diameter pads centered on the holes and in touch exclusively with the plank assembly's underside. The displacement will be measured relative to the reference plane at the center of each hole at the supports."

This suggests that some or all of the teams may be unlawfully running the plank too softly to control the bounce.

If your plank deflected by more than this amount, it would let you to drive the vehicle with a bit more rake, reducing bottoming at high speeds without losing downforce at lower speeds. In recent races, it has been seen that numerous cars are racing with a minor amount of rake.

It will be fascinating to observe how this change may affect the competitive order. Because the first technical order, as published in Montreal, just said that a limit of bouncing severity would be established and that you must run whatever ride height prevents the automobile from exceeding that limit. This would have obviously enhanced Red Bull's advantage over Ferrari and made it more challenging for Mercedes. Nonetheless, if the Red Bull's resistance to bouncing has been aided by a degree of rake that will no longer be authorized in France in order to fulfill the technical guideline about plank wear and stiffness, then this might alter the situation substantially.

We await further information, but this has the potential to be controversial.