Mercedes didn't think porpoising was major issue after Barcelona F1 test

Mercedes did not think its W13 was “in a bad place” following the initial Barcelona 2022 Formula 1 pre-season test, despite its porpoising problem already being apparent.

Mercedes didn't think porpoising was major issue after Barcelona F1 test

Mercedes topped the times at the Spanish Grand Prix venue with what was an early development phase package, an achievement that required significant ride height changes and metal floor stays not originally designed to be run nor considered legal under F1’s original technical rules to be added.

But director of trackside engineering Andrew Shovlin has revealed that although the team’s issue with porpoising had been spotted at its shakedown run during Storm Eunice two weeks earlier and continued at Barcelona, it was not overly concerned because the W13 was yet to run in its race specification.

That specification arrived to great intrigue at the Bahrain test ahead of the season opener, with the car transformed thanks to its ‘zero-pod’ sidepod design (the floor stays remaining and subsequently declared legal by the FIA with several squads using them to the end of the season).

But here Mercedes’ 2022 campaign unravelled as the W13’s porpoising got even worse and could not be solved until the team introduced its first major upgrade at May’s Spanish GP.

George Russell, Mercedes W13

George Russell, Mercedes W13

Photo by: Erik Junius

Afterwards it was revealed that Mercedes also had a problem with suspension stiffness over bumps, even though its aerodynamic issues with porpoising had been addressed.

This secondary problem and the work to improve it meant the Silver Arrows team could not make the W13 quicker through additional developments until the Austin race late in the season.

Read Also:

“At Silverstone [for the shakedown], we were in the middle of a storm – it was about the worst conditions we’ve ever run a car in,” Shovlin told Autosport.

“That certainly doesn’t allow for very clear and sensible shakedown running for the filming day.

“But that car – so the car that we then took to Barcelona – yes, you could get porpoising and we were running the car very high anyway on ride heights given the weather and given that it was the first running of the car.

“We did lower the ride heights to more normal levels at Silverstone and saw that you could get this phenomenon. But, we didn’t really know much about it and what was causing it.

“So, going to Barcelona was therefore a case of understanding: ‘How can we run the car? What are the problems? How can you mitigate what was happening with the porpoising?’

“At the time about the best thing you could do was just lift the car off the ground, give up performance and manage it that way.

“That car was defined much, much earlier in the development programme than the race one package.

“But the issue… at the time in Barcelona, we thought: ‘We’re not the quickest, but we don’t think we we’re in a bad place’.

“Because we were expecting to add good performance with that Bahrain package.

“The issue was that when we fitted it, the porpoising was a whole other level.

“Most of the performance that we intended to add didn’t materialise because we had to lift the car even further and at that point you couldn’t get rid of the bouncing.”

shares
comments

Nigel Mansell’s greatest F1 and Indycar drives

Ocon feels "more relaxed" under current Alpine F1 management set-up

Why Albon won't be "throwing around laptops" to gain a 2023 F1 edge

Why Albon won't be "throwing around laptops" to gain a 2023 F1 edge

Plus
Plus
Formula 1
Williams launch
Alex Kalinauckas

Why Albon won't be "throwing around laptops" to gain a 2023 F1 edge Why Albon won't be "throwing around laptops" to gain a 2023 F1 edge

How the last Sauber-built Alfa offers F1 2023 evolution clues

How the last Sauber-built Alfa offers F1 2023 evolution clues

Plus
Plus
Formula 1
Alfa Romeo launch
Jake Boxall-Legge

How the last Sauber-built Alfa offers F1 2023 evolution clues How the last Sauber-built Alfa offers F1 2023 evolution clues

The pioneering F1 car that preceded Lotus’s terminal decline

The pioneering F1 car that preceded Lotus’s terminal decline

Plus
Plus
Formula 1
GP Racing

The pioneering F1 car that preceded Lotus’s terminal decline The pioneering F1 car that preceded Lotus’s terminal decline

How Tyrrell became a racing Rubik’s cube as it faded out of F1

How Tyrrell became a racing Rubik’s cube as it faded out of F1

Plus
Plus
Formula 1
GP Racing

How Tyrrell became a racing Rubik’s cube as it faded out of F1 How Tyrrell became a racing Rubik’s cube as it faded out of F1

Assessing Hamilton's remarkable decade as a Mercedes F1 driver

Assessing Hamilton's remarkable decade as a Mercedes F1 driver

Plus
Plus
Formula 1
Alex Kalinauckas

Assessing Hamilton's remarkable decade as a Mercedes F1 driver Assessing Hamilton's remarkable decade as a Mercedes F1 driver

Why new look Haas is a litmus test for Formula 1’s new era

Why new look Haas is a litmus test for Formula 1’s new era

Plus
Plus
Formula 1
Jonathan Noble

Why new look Haas is a litmus test for Formula 1’s new era Why new look Haas is a litmus test for Formula 1’s new era

The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff

The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff

Plus
Plus
Formula 1
Alex Kalinauckas

The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff The Mercedes F1 pressure changes under 10 years of Toto Wolff

The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate

The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate

Plus
Plus
Formula 1
GP Racing

The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate The all-French F1 partnership that Ocon and Gasly hope to emulate