'Porpoising' problem one for teams not FIA, says Verstappen

Formula One championship leader Max Verstappen spoke out against mid-season rule changes on Friday while Lewis Hamilton said driver health came first in discussion of the sport's 'porpoising' problem.

Published : Jun 18, 2022 10:26 IST

Max Verstappen.
Max Verstappen.

Max Verstappen.

Formula One championship leader Max Verstappen spoke out against mid-season rule changes on Friday while Lewis Hamilton said driver health came first in discussion of the sport's 'porpoising' problem.

Sitting side-by-side in front of the media ahead of Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix, the pair went head-to-head in discussing a move by the governing FIA to address the issue of cars bouncing dramatically at high speeds.

Concern reached new levels last weekend at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix when a bruised seven-time world champion Hamilton struggled to get out of his Mercedes after finishing fourth.

Verstappen said porpoising was something teams should be left to address rather than the FIA stepping in.

"Regardless if it is going to help us or work against us, I think rule changes in the middle of the year I don't think is correct," said Verstappen, who enters Sunday's race 21 points clear of team mate Sergio Perez.


"For sure the porpoising we have at the moment is not nice. But some teams are able to handle these things a lot better than others so it is possible to get rid of it.

"I don't think we have to over dramatise what is happening."

However, Hamilton said he would not have been able to pass the sport's extraction test.

"I cannot stress more how important health is for us," the Briton said. "Safety has to be paramount.

"My discs (in the back) are definitely not in the best of shape right now and that's not good for longevity and there are things we can do.

"It's not about coping with the bouncing for the next four years it's about completely getting rid of it and fixing it so that all of us don't have back problems."

As some of motor racing's best minds work overtime to solve the problem caused by new aerodynamic regulations, Verstappen maintained it was something easily fixed if teams are willing.

The solution? Just raise the car up, said the 24-year-old Dutchman, fully aware that would also bring a marked drop in performance.


"Naturally ourselves and team have to find the limit of (what) you can cope with your body yourself for performance," said Verstappen.

"I don't think it's correct now to have to intervene and start to apply these kind of rules ... it is very simple; go up and you won't have these issues."

Vettel uses Canadian Grand Prix to protest tar sands

Formula One activist Sebastian Vettel has used his platform to put the spotlight on many issues from LGBTQ rights to climate change but this week the German came to the Canadian Grand Prix targeting Alberta's tar sands.

A four-time world champion, Vettel arrived at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve riding a bicycle wearing a white T-shirt sporting a picture of a pipeline with “Stop Mining Tar Sands” at the top and “Canada’s Climate Crime” stencilled along the bottom.

The Aston Martin driver said he will also wear a special helmet for Sunday's race highlighting the issue.

"I think what happens in Alberta is a crime because you chop down a lot of trees and you basically destroy the place just to extract oil and the manner of doing it with the tar sands, mining oil sands, is horrible for nature,” Vettel told reporters during his pre-race news conference on Friday.


"There’s so much science around the topic that fossil fuels are going to end, and living in a time that we do now these things shouldn’t be allowed anymore and they shouldn’t happen.

"So it is just in principal to raise awareness."

Vettel's protest caught the attention of Alberta politicians who quickly took to social media labelling the German, whose team is sponsored by Saudi Arabia state-owned oil giant Aramco, a hypocrite.

"I have seen a lot of hypocrisy over the years, but this one takes the cake," tweeted Alberta's Energy Minister Sonya Savage. "A race car driver sponsored by Aston Martin, with financing from Saudi Aramco, complaining about the oil sands.

"Saudi Aramco has the largest daily oil production of all companies in the world. It is reputed to be the single largest contributor to global carbon emissions, of any company, since 1965," added Savage.

Vettel has linked his name to many causes.

Last year he wore a rainbow-coloured T-shirt in Hungary with the message 'same love' to protest anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and earlier this month said Formula One was now ready to welcome it's first openly gay driver.

But for the father of three, environmental issues are of particular concern, saying he does not want to leave the next generation a destroyed planet.

At the Miami Grand Prix in May he wore another T-shirt that warned, "Miami 2060 – 1st Grand Prix Underwater – Act Now or Swim Later.”

"It is just to think about future generations and the world we will leave in their hands once they are old enough to carry on to take care of it," said Vettel, who is often spotted at tracks helping clean up rubbish after a race. "I think it is only fair to look after it and not destroy it."

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