Carlos Sainz believes that F1 should examine the long-term health impact that porpoising could have on drivers.
Carlos Sainz revealed his fears about the back problems created by this year’s ‘ground effect’ Formula One vehicles on Thursday, potentially turning his lifetime goal into a horrible nightmare.
Following the return to ground effect technology as part of the 2022 rule changes, several teams’ vehicles are experiencing the high-frequency bouncing phenomena known as porpoising on the straights.
The 2022 season will be remembered for seeing F1 drivers’ heads aggressively bounce up and down inside the cockpit. Sainz expressed concerns about probable side effects ahead of this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.
“I think as drivers and F1 we need to consider how much of a toll a driver should be paying for his back and his health in an F1 career with this kind of car philosophy,” Sainz said.
“I think we need to open the debate more than anything.”
“I think the regulations are great. They are doing exactly what we need it for racing but do we need to run as stiff for our necks and back as we are having to run lately with this car mass?”
“For me, it’s more a philosophical question that I put out there for F1 and everyone to rethink about how much the driver needs to actually pay a price in his career with his health in order to combat it. I’m thinking more long term.”
While Sainz revealed that he has not sought medical counsel over his health concerns, the Spaniard believes it is a matter that the drivers should discuss.
“I haven’t had expert advice,” he said. “I’ve done my usual checks on my back, neck tightness, and I see this year I’m tighter everywhere and I’m already feeling it.”
“I don’t need expert advice to know that 10 years like this it’s going to be tough, and you’re going to need to work a lot in mobility, flexibility.”
“I’m going to need to invest in overall body health.”
“It’s probably a question that as drivers we don’t like talking about much because we don’t like sounding, let’s say weak. I’m strong, I’m actually very fit, I consider myself one of the fittest drivers, and I’ve never struggled in an F1 race at all.
“It’s more long-term, and for the benefit of all of us that maybe we should put it out there to talk about, and see what options do we have.”
“Then there is the interest of the teams, of overtaking, of the show you need to factor in the equation. But what if we, for the first time ever, also factor in a bit of the driver? It could be interesting.”
“It will get to a point that if we decide to go in certain directions the FIA needs to get involved, for sure. Let’s see in the future.”
“It’s still very early days – it was pretty much a thought that I’ve been having in the first five races when I’ve been suffering with porpoising, and this situation that I’ve never really brought up in a meeting yet.”
“I was probably thinking out loud and it’s still very young in my head, and I need to talk to other drivers like George [Russell] or others that are struggling with the same phenomenon.”
“We need to pretty much sit together to see what we can offer or propose.”