MONTREAL, Canada — Reigning world champion Max Verstappen does not agree with Formula One’s rules being changed mid-way through the season to stop cars violently bouncing at high speeds.
The FIA said this week has vowed to reduce or eliminate the bouncing F1 cars have been doing this year due to concerns over the health of its drivers, with closer attention now being paid to the planks of cars and with a metric being devised to measure an acceptable level of car oscillation.
TV cameras showed Lewis Hamilton struggling to get out of his Mercedes car after spending the entire Baku race being bounced around in his cockpit while driving down Baku’s long back straight.
Even though it remains unclear whether the FIA’s intervention will help or hinder the teams with bouncing cars, Verstappen is not happy with the governing body stepping in at this point.
“For me, regardless if it is going to help or work against us, rule changes in the middle of the year I don’t think it is correct,” he said.
“I understand the safety part of it but I think if you talk to every engineer in the paddock if you raise your car you will have less issues anyway.
“You are going to try and find the limit of what your body can cope with for performance but I don’t think for now it is correct for them to intervene and start applying these rules.
“It is very simple, just go up on ride height and you wont have these issues, it is basically a little bit complicated and I also think it will be very hard to police.”
Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate George Russell suggested Red Bull and Ferrari are looking to protect their championship lead.
“There is obviously a lot of mixed agendas here from different teams and drivers ,we have heard from Carlos [Sainz], Checo [Perez] and Max earlier in the season how bad it has been but now their performance is strong they don’t want changes because it can only only hinder them,” Russell said.
“So it is a bit of shame to see performance being prioritised over safety.”
Hamilton has been having acupuncture and cryotherapy this week to recover in time for Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix.
He revealed on Instagram he had only managed to go for a run on Thursday evening, showing how his back pain had lingered after the Baku race.
“I can definitely feel that I am little bit shorter this week,” Hamilton said in the same press conference.
“My discs are definitely not in the best shape right now and that is not good for longevity.”
Hamilton, sat next to Verstappen, suggested some people in Formula One are saying one thing in public about the issue and another behind closed doors when the subject is raised.
“It is always interesting seeing people’s perspective and opinions in different lights, obviously in front of you it is one thing and in the background sometimes people say different things,” he said, although it was unclear whether it was a reference to Verstappen or any individual in particular.
He also is unsure whether the changes will do much to the competitive order.
“Ultimately safety is the most important things and I think at least one driver in every team has spoken on it, I don’t think it will change an awful amount but I think there’s lots of work that needs to be done.
“It is positive that the FIA are working towards improving it because we have this care for the next few years — it is not about coping with the bouncing for the next few years, it is about completely getting rid of it and fixing it so that future drivers, all of us, don’t have back problems moving forward.”
Fellow multiple world champion Sebastian Vettel welcomed the FIA intervention.
“Us drivers will suffer injuries short-term or for the rest of our lives with something that can be avoided,” he said.
“Looking at the future, it can’t be going on for another four or five years. It is good that the FIA look into it and put safety above performance.”
F1’s season continues with the Canadian Grand Prix on June 19.