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Porpoising causes surprise for all Formula 1 Teams



Porpoising causes surprise for all Formula 1 Teams

The phenomenon was gone for about forty years, but now it is back in Formula 1. Remarkably, the teams and FIA had not come across the problem. Meanwhile they are busy looking for a solution.

A feature of Formula 1 pre-season testing has been the cars bouncing while at speed around the Barcelona circuit.

It’s a phenomena generally referred to as porpoising, where the car appears to bounce, and is related to the way F1 cars this year develop downforce.

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The reintroduction of ground effects this year is a seismic shift for the sport but has brought with it some of the issues seen when the concept was first employed in the late 1970s.

According to Ferrari’s Mattia Binotto, its prevalence now is a result of teams underestimating the issue.

“I think most of us at least underestimated the problem, in terms of [being] on track and bouncing more than expected,” the Italian explained.

“When you’re setting these cars up with the ground [effect] floor, the situation is different. It’s a learning process.”

Binotto claims resolving the problem is relatively straightforward, but optimising the car to avoid bouncing entirely is more complicated.


“Optimising the performance, because it should not be a compromise, you should try to avoid the bouncing by getting the most of the performance of the car,” he explained.

“That could be a less easy exercise. I am pretty sure that at some stage the team will get to the solution.

“How long it will take? The ones that will get there sooner will have an advantage at the start of the season.”

Alfa Romeo is one of the teams battling with the phenomena.

“Some elements are not easy to duplicate in the wind tunnel or the simulator, and we are all facing the same issue,” explained team boss Frederic Vasseur.

“To fix the problem is not the biggest issue, but then to be efficient will be the key.

“How quickly the team will react will be the key for the first races.


“I’m sure that in three or four events, we won’t speak anymore about bouncing but today it’s the question.”

That’s a view shared by Aston Martin’s performance director, Tom McCullough.

“This is the first iteration of these cars,” he said.

“We’re going to be evolving the cars, all the teams are going to be evolving them, between now, between Bahrain, the first race, and the first few races.

“We’re testing, we’re just exploring, we’re pushing the envelope. We can adjust ride heights to put the car so it hits the ground as we could last year’s car.

“So early stages but I think you’ll see a lot of development over the next few races.”

Testing in Spain concludes tonight with track action to begin at 19:00 AEDT.


Porpoising causes surprise for all Formula 1 Teams Porpoising causes surprise for all Formula 1 Teams

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