Several drivers, including the Red Bull teammates who experienced little to no porpoising in the previous season, grumbled about it when putting in the laps in Friday’s practices for the Spanish Grand Prix weekend.
Max Verstappen complained that the “car is bouncing under braking into Turn 10 and in the last corner” while Sergio Perez said he was “starting to bounce as I go into the final corner.”
In the McLaren, Lando Norris told his crew he experienced “some porpoising and bottoming into the last corner” and that “it’s upsetting the car quite a bit.” George Russell said he had “a bit of bouncing on the entry of that last corner.”
F1 Teams Report Porpoising Return In Barcelona
The porpoising phenomena is expected to resurface during the Spanish Grand Prix weekend of 2023, according to drivers who noticed it in Barcelona’s first practise session.
Following the revision of the rules that signalled the return of ground effect, the porpoising feeling that many believed had been lost in the 1980s returned to the series in the early years of 2022.
Porpoising happens when an automobile moves closer to the track as it moves faster through the air. But as soon as it touches the surface, the underfloor airflow pauses, reducing the amount of downforce. During these times, the air continually attaches and detaches, causing the automobile to wildly jump.
The FIA started monitoring the levels of movement after porpoising plagued the beginning of the previous season, and for 2023, it mandated a 15mm elevation in the height of the floor edge in an effort to permanently end porpoising since the high oscillations are dangerous to the drivers’ health.
However, during the first practise in Barcelona, Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez of Red Bull, George Russell of Mercedes, and Lando Norris of McLaren all complained that their cars were bouncing once more.
“So if we were alone here, I would say, that’s porpoising,” Stella told the media at the Barcelona circuit.
“We know you can have it in some places but the fact that we heard the same coming from Red Bull as well, I think highlights that it could be a track-specific element that all teams might have to deal with.
“I thought our understanding is that Red Bull was a little more robust in terms of coping with porpoising so it could be a track feature, a challenge that, I would say… well, certainly we have to deal with.
“We understand Mercedes and Red Bull have to deal with based on their comments and could be performance limitations because, to deal with that, you need to make some adjustments that might cost some performance somewhere else.”
Martin Brundle, a former F1 driver turned commentator, stated in his Sky Sports commentary that it is not a nice experience whether it is special to Barcelona or not.
“The underneath of the car generates an awful lot of downforce on these ground effect cars. It works in conjunction with the ground to generate this incredible downward load,” he said.
“Teams run them as low as they can get away with but, occasionally it just chokes especially on a bump. The car goes down, loses downforce, comes up, gains downforce, goes back down again and this motion goes on.
“The last thing you need coming into that final corner is the car kicking off like that.”