By James Broughton, June 17, 2022
If you are Red Bull F1 right now you must be pulling every strand, every follicle of your hair out of your head. The FIA has decided to step in after a majority of teams complained about the long-term health effects caused by porpoising. Porpoising is an enigmatic ground-effect aerodynamic phenomenon caused by the car bouncing on a cushion of high-speed air rushing underneath the car. The latter is a very simplified explanation. When the FIA re-introduced ground-effect aero regulations for the 2022 season, over 40 years later porpoising returned to haunt a new generation of engineers.
It appears Red Bull was the only team in Formula One to eradicate porpoising during pre-season testing. How could Red Bull get it right when other teams failed? What is Red Bull doing and is their solution legal? Nevertheless, porpoising which results in extreme bouncing, is a major concern for the health and well-being of drivers.
Mercedes is suffering the most, after taking a 53-lap porpoising pounding at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton was seen struggling to get out of his car. All drivers, bar Red Bull, have voiced their concerns about the long-term health effects caused by porpoising. Red Bull has argued it is up to teams to solve the issue of extreme bouncing not the FIA.
The FIA is listening and has decided to take action formally stating; “in the interests of safety.” The FIA consulted with medical experts which led them to initiate a new regulatory directive to reduce the high-speed bouncing caused by porpoising. The FIA and F1 teams will convene at a technical meeting in Canada prior to the Grand Prix weekend.
The technical meeting will focus on how the updated regulations will be implemented.