The mechanics behind porpoising in F1 - and how to fix it
Formula 1 teams face a race against time before the final pre-season test in Bahrain to address the alarming porpoising development that emerged in their first public running at Barcelona. Key in doing so is properly wrapping their heads around an issue which as a top former F1 aerodynamicist explains is often misunderstood
If you look at Google’s trend graph for ‘porpoising’, there’s a very steep incline between the past week and the week before. Nobody was interested in the car-bouncing phenomenon named after the dolphin-like marine mammal until Formula 1’s 2022 cars broke cover – thus turning the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya's main straight into a bigger porpoise exhibition than SeaWorld.
Like the DAS and the “Pink Mercedes” in previous years, porpoising courted the column inches during the first week of pre-season testing at Barcelona. As the cars began to drop down towards the first corner, the cars began to shake up and down visibly, pacified only by the application of DRS or by the driver lifting off the throttle.
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