Verstappen criticises FIA for mid-season rule change

Given the usual ponderous approach of the FIA to change it was a huge surprise for many F1 commentators that the Ben Sulayem’s new governance regime released a technical directive just days after “bouncing Baku” in response to driver complaints. Whilst the directive doesn’t detail the exact action the FIA will take, it does state there will be strict monitoring of the vertical G’s the drivers a re suffering from ‘porpoising’.

Mid-season rules changes are rare because they usually require the full agreement of all the competitors which is nigh on impossible to achieve. However, for issues of ‘safety’ the FIA can act unilaterally at anytime.

Max Verstappen has responded strongly to the FIA directive telling RACER today, “I think it’s a bit disappointing that again there is a rule change mid-season, I would say,”

The Red Bull driver believes the change has come about due to Mercedes constant complaining for most of the season about the new F1 car ‘ground effect’ design regulations. 

”It’s not even about affecting us more or less than other teams, but it shouldn’t be that one team is complaining a lot and suddenly then they change the regs around it.

“I think there are a lot of teams that actually did an amazing job to not have these kind of issues, so it is possible to drive around it.



However, Max may protest the principle of the mid season regulation change but it appears may not understand the exact effect the regulation will have.

“If you raise your car then you won’t have these issues, but you lose performance,” continued Verstappen

“But if you can’t design the car properly for that then that’s your fault, it’s not the regs’ fault. For me that is a bit of a shame.”

And this is the surprise.

The FIA are not mandating redesigning the cars, simply monitoring their performance during the Friday practice sessions and as Max observed, forcing teams to raise their ride height to ensure a maximum vertical G is not breached. It is this force that is causing the drivers distress.

Mercedes clearly ran their car far lower than Red Bull in Baku and were third quickest. However, their car suffered the worst ‘bouncing’ and clearly had the technical directive been in force last week in Azerbaijan, Mercedes would have been forced by the FIA to raise the ride height to reduce the discomfort for the drivers.



Verstappen concludes, ”Of course every track is different, too, but I think it’s a bit of a shame to change it mid-season and clearly teams have shown you can drive normally, or at least with a lot less issues than some other teams.”

The fact each race track affects each team differently will cause a headache for the teams and the FIA because much of Friday practice session will be about setting the car up for reduced ‘porpoising’ and not long run simulations and one lap qualifying pace simulations.

The data the FIA will need to trawl will not be insubstantial to establish the “maximum vertical oscillations” allowable and for each car what that means in terms of ride height settings.

READ MORE: RED BULL clear winners from FIA regulation change

6 responses to “Verstappen criticises FIA for mid-season rule change

  1. As Max rightly said, it is a shame that MB is allowed to get away every time with changes that are favorable only to them, whether mid-season or post-season. With one team having such power, the racing was never fair in the past as unbiased fans of F1 know. MB needs to be disciplined. I hope FIA will not allow MB to run amok like this.
    I can’t help thinking how good the racing would have been in the past 8 years but for this skullduggery of MB being permitted. Then it surely have been Vettel who might have been the 7- or 8-time champion. We would also have been delivered from the combined devious antics of Wolff and Hamilton.

  2. Well said. MB should just admit they got it wrong. I understqnd setting limits for safety. But i dsagree with FIA changeing any design regs. Maybe most other teams still have it right. But i have 1 thing to say. Austom Martin have already changed their design as they fot it wrong. The Mercs need to wake up

  3. As far as I understand it, the rules are only limiting the maximum bounce forces. Hów a team realizes that is up to them. So it’s likely that RB doesn’t need to do anything while Merc must, ie, raise their ride height.

  4. Didn’t max win his championship by a different rule being applied during the very last race. All I will say is that’s rich coming from him

    • You mean like changing pit stop time limits, new test for flexi rear wings or was it the rule rule change that Mercedes went after to get a man fired from his job, eventhough regulations were in a grey area?? Ummm anyone else see a theme here??

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