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Overview | Rule changes for the 2023 F1 season explained

Overview | Rule changes for the 2023 F1 season explained

10-08-2022 15:11


By now, all Formula 1 teams seem to be free of porpoising. This even applies to Mercedes, but Toto Wolff's team insists that rule changes are needed to get rid of the problem once and for all. The majority of F1 teams did not agree, but in the meantime they have reached an agreement with the FIA. GPblog lists the changes envisioned for 2023.

Changes for the 2023 F1 season

For the 2023 F1 season, the FIA wants to introduce a number of rule changes to get rid of porpoising. The governing body cited safety as the main motivation, but that argument was questioned by several teams. In the meantime, the parties have reached a compromise, which may lead to some changes in the intended changes.

Fifteen millimetres higher floor edges

The FIA wanted to raise the floor edges by 25 millimetres, but it has now become clear that this has been reduced to fifteen millimetres. This after loud protests from the F1 teams who had already dealt with porpoising and are therefore able to set the ride height lower.

By raising the sides of the floor, it becomes more difficult for the teams to physically seal off the rear part of the venturi tunnel* from the ambient air pressure. Currently it is possible to increase the downforce from the bottom of the car in this way, with the associated risk of blocking the airflow and triggering porpoising.

* Venturi tunnels are recesses under the car that generate downforce by accelerating the air underneath, creating an area of low pressure due to the Venturi effect. The effect is to suck the cars to the ground, as it were, while creating a minimum amount of dirty air behind the car.

Raising the diffuser throat

The most narrow point in the tunnel of the underfloor is called the 'throat'. It is at this point that the pressure change is created, accelerating the airflow and increasing the downforce. The throat is located at the back of the tunnel, just below where the driver sits. The airspeed increases exponentially in the last few millimetres of space between the throat and the ground. At some point, however, this gap can become too small, causing the flow to stop. The FIA wants to make it compulsory to raise the throat of the diffuser to make the underside of the car more tolerant of changes in dynamic ride height.

Testing lateral deflection of the floor

By limiting the lateral deflection of the floor, the FIA wants to make it more difficult - in combination with the raised edges - to use the outer edges of the floor to seal off the underside of the car.

Precise sensors for vertical acceleration

From Spa-Francorchamps, the vertical accelerations of the cars will be measured by the sensors already installed, which were originally designed to register the impact of accidents. These sensors will therefore fulfil a dual function for the rest of this season, but for 2023 specific sensors will be installed to measure vertical forces more accurately.

Changes sent to WMSC

The changes still need to be approved by the World Motor Sports Council and are therefore not yet final. When they are, the rule changes in 2023 will come on top of the already existing technical directive, which will come into effect from the Belgian Grand Prix. At Spa-Francorchamps, the FIA will begin taking measurements to check the vertical forces on the cars, which will include measuring the wear of the base plate. The governing body also wants to get rid of any ways of circumventing the latter, after it was reported that Red Bull Racing and Ferrari were guilty of this.

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