Formula 1, the porpoising (the hops) of the single-seaters give the drivers a headache –

Of Arianna Ravelli

Ocon: «A big headache, I took paracetamol». The alarm raised by Dr. Altmann who operated on Felipe Massa: “The drivers complain of headaches due to rebounds, it is necessary to analyze what the consequences could be after long-lasting races”

The famous “hops” would not only harm the cars, but also the drivers. Headache, nausea, dizziness. Someone was forced to take acetaminophen as soon as they got out of the car, like Esteban Ocon, Alpine rider.

The technical phenomenon of this early season 2022, which the British call “Porpoising” (HERE the technical explanation of what it is) – in a nutshell that annoying “bounce” resulting from an accentuated aerodynamic instability, one of the many consequences of the ground effect that inspired these new single-seaters – and which is driving Mercedes crazy, at least to hear the statements of Lewis Hamilton himself, could also create some physical annoyance, if not just a malaise, to the pilots themselves. The first signs were seen after the tests, when for example Ocon had revealed after the driving session: “The car was jumping a lot, I got a big headache, I had to take paracetamol.” And this could also prove to be the main advantage of the Ferrari drivers in the end, given that in Maranello they seem to have largely solved the problem (Leclerc compared the sensation to that of turbulence in the plane).

Doctor is now sounding the alarm on social media Dino Altmann who knows about F1, is in fact the Brazilian doctor who treated Felipe Massa following the frightening accident in Budapest in 2009, after the first intervention which took place immediately in Hungary, and elected president of the FIA ​​medical commission with the previous n.1 of the Jean Todt Federation. Altmann reveals that “many drivers have complained of headaches due to the ‘rebounds’ in testing in Bahrain”. And he remembers a slightly worrying precedent when «the Cart race in Texas in 2001 (an American racing category that no longer exists, ed) it had been suspended because the pilots complained of dizziness and disorientation. Drivers with these clinical symptoms must say it immediately and draw the doctors’ attention and must analyze what could happen after a long race ». The same Dr. Riccardo Ceccarelli, at the head of Formula Medicine, he had billed it, speaking with «I had imagined it, jumping is a considerable physical stress, and now I feel that many riders complain about it. I remember when a driver I was following time and time again had big problems because he drove a car that jolted a lot and always finished the races with an excruciating headache ».

Obviously it is still too early to understand if the rebound will turn into a real alarm however, as Dr. Altmann says, “prevention measures are the key in F1”. Having a dizzy head when going 300 per hour may not be the best.

March 18, 2022 (change March 18, 2022 | 22:22)

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