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F1 porpoising: What is it and is it still a problem?

F1 porpoising: What is it and is it still a problem?

F1 News

F1 porpoising: What is it and is it still a problem?

F1 porpoising: What is it and is it still a problem?

When F1 made the radical switch to ground effect aerodynamics for last season, an unwanted issue became apparent.

Most teams struggled with a phenomenon called porpoising and changes were made when driver safety was at apparent risk.

So what is porpoising, and will it return for 2023?

What is porpoising?

Porpoising is an aerodynamic phenomenon where compressed air underneath the car creates downforce to suck the floor down to the ground.

As the floor gets closer to the ground and air stalls, the compression, in basic terms, stops. This halts the sucking motion acted upon the car floor and allows it to rise back up.

With this happening in a split-second and repeated in a cycle as speed increases, the bouncing-type motion is created - like a dolphin, hence the name.

What has F1 done to get over the issue?

A technical directive was introduced midway through last year's championship to try and negate the effects of the issue.

Measurement tools were also devised by the FIA and teams, with those helping to determine minor regulation changes for the upcoming campaign.

Floor-edge ride heights have been raised by 15mm to combat porpoising, with those amendments clear on the new cars.

Has F1 banished porpoising?

Whilst the new year is in its infancy, initial running on day one suggests that porpoising is here to stay.

In reality, with ground effect aerodynamics, porpoising is impossible to completely eliminate.

Whilst most cars look more settled compared to last year's challengers, Ferrari in particular has shown the issues look set to play a part this year.

The SF-23 was visibly bouncing in a straight line during pre-season testing in Bahrain, although it is as yet unclear whether this was aero or mechanical bouncing.

Set-ups are also shrouded in secrecy for now, so time will tell.

READ MORE: F1 Driver Salaries 2023: Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton WAY out in front

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