Fiery F1 feud reignites after crucial change: 'Total rubbish'

Toto Wolff and Christian Horner are pictured side by side.
F1 team bosses Toto Wolff and Christian Horner are at loggerheads once more after the FIA's latest technical directive to teams. Pictures: Getty Images

The heated F1 rivalry between Red Bull Racing and Mercedes has re-ignited after the FIA issued a technical directive to teams regarding the floor of their cars.

Under the revised technical regulations introduced for the 2022 F1 season, the floor of each car has become substantially more important as the aerodynamics seek to direct airflow under the car.

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The nre rules have lead to teams battling the 'porpoising' issue, with many cars seen bouncing up and down along the straights due to the aerodynamics stalling under the car.

This makes for an inefficient car and incredibly uncomfortable experience for the drivers - hence the FIA making moves to reduce the porpoising effect.

Part of these changes has been preventing teams from implementing a floor that flexes, closing a loophole in the rules some teams are believed to have taken advantage of.

After dominating the entire F1 hybrid engine era since their introduction in 2014, this season marks the first time Mercedes haven't been the pacesetters.

Instead it has been Red Bull and Ferrari competing for wins, with Mercedes slowly clawing their way back to the top of the field.

With an improving car, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff fired a pointed shot at Red Bull and Ferrari when asked iif he believed the title rivals had pushed the boundaries of the rule book.

"I think so. I haven’t been able to squeeze the skids (underfloor) of certain teams,” Wolff said.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner was less than impressed by Wolff's take.

After a bitter rivalry last season, which came down to a last lap controversy that fuelled the animosity between the two teams, Horner was quick to shut down any suggestion of wrongdoing on Red Bull's part.

“That’s total rubbish. Absolutely no issues or concerns on our floor," Horner bluntly replied when Wolff's comments were brought up.

Horner then rubbed salt into the wound, suggesting Wolff was 'referring to the cars around him at the moment' - a dig at Mercedes' lack of pace through the first half of the season.

F1 safety tests to change after horror Zhou Guanyou crash

Meanwhile, Formula One's governing body says it will introduce tougher tests on the roll hoops of cars next season as a result of Chinese driver Guanyu Zhou's big British Grand Prix crash.

Zhou's Alfa Romeo flipped and skidded upside down along the track at Silverstone, with the roll hoop ripped off, before flying across a tyre wall and becoming wedged between the barriers and catch fence.

The rookie escaped unscathed, his head protected from serious injury by the titanium Halo device that rings the cockpit.

The FIA said its Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) met on Thursday representing the teams, governing body and commercial rights holders.

"The teams confirmed their availability to introduce more stringent measures on the roll hoops for 2023, and the FIA undertook to complete the relevant analyses and to communicate to the teams new requirements for the safety of the roll hoop," it said.

Zhou Guanyou's F1 car is seen sliding off the track upside down after a collision with George Russell at the British GP.
Alfa Romeo F1 driver Zhou Guanyou was sent careering off the track upside down after a horror collision at the start of the British GP. (Photo by Gongora/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The TAC also discussed the vertical oscillation of cars, commonly known as 'porpoising' - bouncing at speed like the movement of a porpoise through water.

The aerodynamic phenomenon has been a consequence of this year's major rules overhaul.

Champions Mercedes have been particularly affected, although they appear to have resolved some of the worst effects, and the FIA warned there was a risk of a more serious problem next season.

"While the issue has been seemingly reduced in the last few races, they took place at circuits where the effect is expected to be lower than normal," the governing body explained.

"Races where this effect is expected again to be higher will take place in the coming months.

"While the teams are understanding more and more how to control the issue, the tendency for 2023, with the cars developing more downforce, will most likely be a worsening of the effect."

With AAP

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