Why the impact of FIA’s anti-bouncing metric is hard to judge
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Why the impact of FIA’s anti-bouncing metric is hard to judge

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Faced with drivers complaining about the long-term health effects of car ‘bouncing’, the FIA stepped in to deal with it. JAKE BOXALL-LEGGE explains how the so-called ‘Aerodynamic Oscillation Metric’ works, and asks if it is fit for purpose?

Aside from the aesthetics, the biggest visual difference between the older generation of Formula 1 car and the new-for-2022 concoctions was in their vertical movement. Bouncing and porpoising are nothing new in the world of motorsport as a whole but, having mandated flat undertrays since 1983, Formula 1 had spent the preceding four decades in its own bubble – one where porpoising barely figured.

Its appearance and effects therefore blindsided the teams at pre-season testing, where the cars were oscillating so fiercely that their skid blocks were rattling against the track surface and transmitting the impact shock straight to the drivers’ bodies. The teams simply hadn’t seen it coming: not only had a whole generation of engineers grown up in F1 without experiencing the phenomenon, testing restrictions prevented them foreseeing it. Windtunnels are currently capped at simulating speeds of 180km/h; Ferrari, to give one concrete example, has confirmed its car only begins to experience porpoising at 250km/h.

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