Alfa Romeo "taken aback" by porpoising issue in F1 testing

Alfa Romeo was “taken aback” by the level of porpoising it encountered with its new Formula 1 car in last week’s test, but is hopeful of a fix for Bahrain.

Alfa Romeo "taken aback" by porpoising issue in F1 testing

Alfa Romeo’s new C42 car struggled with mileage through the three-day test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya last week, completing 175 laps in total. Only Haas (160) managed fewer laps during the test.

It left new signing Valtteri Bottas saying the team had “work to do” in the second test after the Finn failed to complete even one full race distance, although he could note potential in the car.

One of the biggest issues Alfa Romeo faced was the porpoising phenomenon that caught most teams out when running their new ground effect cars in testing. These mainly emerged on the first two days before mechanical issues hampered its running on day three.

Most teams were surprised by the porpoising, given it could not be accounted for in the wind tunnel or in simulations, with Alfa Romeo technical director Jan Monchaux admitting it was a shock to see such a big problem.

“To be fully transparent and honest, we didn’t anticipate that,” Monchaux said.

“We had discussed during the last months about the kind of phenomena that could happen, but since none of our tools, wind tunnels and simulation tools, were giving a hint of it, we were a bit taken aback.

“I think it has been the case for all of the teams or most of the teams.”

 Jan Monchaux, technical director Alfa Romeo Racing

Jan Monchaux, technical director Alfa Romeo Racing

Photo by: Sauber F1 Team

Teams were forced to make changes to the set-up of their cars through the first test to get the issue under control, including raising the ride height and adjusting the design of their floors.

Monchaux said he expected teams would have to set up their cars “slightly higher than we all thought at the beginning” because of the porpoising issue.

“The question will be how much higher, it is 3-5mm, or is it 20?” he said. “I hope it’s going to be five, because then the rework on the car will be less. But we’ll see.”

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Alfa Romeo worked to resolve the issue by holding a filming day in Barcelona following the first test, giving its new red and white livery a first outing after its official launch.

Team principal Frederic Vasseur said new technical issues are “always the case with the new regulations”, but was confident porpoising would soon be resolved.

“I think in two or three races, nobody will speak again about bouncing,” Vasseur said.

“We’ll have another issue or topic to discuss. But we have to fix it. We saw on our side and the other teams, everybody made big improvements over the first three days, and will come back next week, all the teams, with a new configuration to fix it completely.”

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