James Key believes the FIA should think about driver safety in regards to the porpoise in the same way it approached the design of the Halo. If he is aware of the difference between the two issues, the McLaren F1 technical director clarifies his thoughts.
“Maybe I’ll draw a little weird parallel with Halo” said the Key. “The Halo is obviously a totally different project. And in terms of the pilot safety scale, we know that’s very important.”
“But there were a lot of naysayers at the time, remember all the comments like ‘this is awful, this is not F1’. And we said, why not? There really was a danger.”
“And now, a few years later, we’re grateful after seeing some of the things that happened on the track. It’s a whole different order of magnitude, it’s a lot lower today.”
“But it’s kind of the same, so let’s fix it. I think basically there’s a risk, it doesn’t add anything to the sport. Why don’t we do what’s reasonable for safety reasons? Because that’s the main concern. .”
Don’t wait for teams to fix the problem
Key believes the FIA and F1 should not wait for the teams to do the work to fix this problem: “Obviously, teams will work on that, if they suffer.”
“And some had it earlier in the season. It’s very difficult to simulate and predict the porpoise, and we recognize there are ways to get rid of it.”
“But it can come back quickly if you have certain types of development or if you increase your downforce. So instead of taking that risk, I think it makes sense from the FIA’s perspective to try to eliminate the problem, but also show serious and that we are doing something about it after concerns raised by some riders.
“I’m not saying it’s negligent not to do it, but you have to be careful. You can’t assume teams are going to do it. And it might not be the priority either. things are their priority.”
“Very open” talks with the FIA and F1
Key, however, welcomes the discussions between the sport’s leaders and the teams on this issue: “The discussion was very open. I think it still is, especially on security issues.”
“The FIA has recognized a sort of growing concern for the well-being of drivers and the possibility of something happening from a car bouncing excessively in a corner at high speed.”
“And they take these things very seriously and are 100% committed to the drivers and the teams as they always are. There were offers back and forth to see what we could do to find consensus on what would work, rather than whether we should do it. or shouldn’t.”
“To me, if you have a security problem, you can’t go back and say it’s not a problem anymore. I think you have to do your research and make sure you’re taking the right steps. The right decisions.”
“It clearly doesn’t do anything for the sport. And we’re in favor of getting rid of it, so we can all continue to develop cars in a slightly safer environment.”