Norris demand major changes

Amid question marks over the impact the current Formula 1 cars are having on drivers’ health, Lando Norris has called on changes to be implemented going forward.

Lando Norris has called on improvements to be made to the current generation of Formula 1 cars over the “toll” they are having on drivers’ bodies.

The new technical regulations implemented in 2022 saw the return of ground effect, with an unintended consequence of severe bouncing along the straights impacting a number of teams.

Although the issue, caused by mechanical bouncing and aerodynamic porpoising, has largely been eradicated, the cars are still set up with stiff suspension settings as they run as close to the ground as possible in order to generate peak downforce.

Health concerns were raised when porpoising was at its worst during the early stages of the 2022 season before another conversation was sparked last weekend in Saudi Arabia when Carlos Sainz was forced to miss the event due to appendicitis.

Sainz became the second driver in the last two years to suffer from the problem after Williams’ Alex Albon missed the Italian Grand Prix in 2022 with the condition.

Albon stated last weekend in Jeddah that he wished to speak to a doctor to see if there is a link between porpoising and lap belts having an impact on driver health.

Speaking to media including RacingNews365, Norris was hesitant to make such an assumption: “I have no idea. I don’t know how you would correlate it.

“I don’t know what the average [number] per person who has had it. Is it one in five? Is it one in 10? I have no idea. I’m not a doctor.

“[But] could it be better and was it better a few years ago with the old cars? 100 per cent.”

Norris calls for change
While Norris acknowledged drivers often complain about certain matters that don’t hold significant importance, he insisted they should be listened to when it comes to well-being behind the wheel.

“There’s definitely certain people who think it’s not bad and it used to be worse many years ago and all of this stuff,” he said.

“But I think times have changed.

“We do complain on certain things, certain things are just drivers complaining every now and then. But certain things are also for good reason, for our own bodies and the safety and health side of things.

“There are areas to improve on, it does need to be improved a little bit because the teams just make the quickest cars, and then we drive them.

“But there are certain times when it starts to have a toll, it’s definitely not as bad as it was two years ago. Things have improved since then with the porpoising, but you still have to run the cars extremely low and stiff.”

Norris added that he is struggling with the cars’ impact on his body and hinted it could impact drivers hoping to make a long career in F1.

“It takes a toll on you. I still struggle a lot with my body and back and all of these things. I have to do a lot now, which I didn’t have to do a few years ago.

“I wouldn’t say it’s directly because of the car. It’s just natural for me, I have to work on it. But I think things in the long term need to be improved, especially if I’m going to be here for many years. We wish to make it a bit better and a bit more in line with how it was a few years ago.”

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