What is porpoising in F1? Aerodynamics, suspension and track conditions
The 2022 rules of Formula 1 have raised concerns about little flexibility due to limitations imposed by regulation, leading to porpoising.
In 2022, F1 implemented new regulations aimed at enhancing the competitiveness and thrill of racing. The new regulations brought about a significant change, requiring teams to begin their designs anew.
The 2022 rules have raised concerns about little flexibility due to limitations imposed by regulation. However, designers have managed to find different interpretations, which has become a significant technical talking point.
Since their implementation, the new rules have affected many teams, but maybe none like Mercedes. They experienced a significant decline in performance after the new regulations began to take form. They went from eight consecutive championships to only one win in the 2022 season. This led to commentators worldwide frequently discussing the issue of ‘porpoising.’
But what is porpoising? And why is it so important?
Porpoising is a term used to describe the behavior of marine mammals, such as dolphins and porpoises when they repeatedly jump out of the water and then dive back in. This behavior is also known as hopping or bouncing.
In F1, it is a phenomenon related to aerodynamics that emerged in cars following the implementation of the ‘ground effect’ approach. This approach involves drawing air beneath the car to generate a downward force on the track at high speeds instead of pushing the car down with air over its top.
The problem with this is that cars tend to experience increased downforce at higher speeds, which can cause them to be more firmly planted on the road. In addition, when an object gets too close, it can cause the airflow to stop, known as a stall. This sudden stop in airflow results in a drop in downforce. At that point, the cars experience an upward motion.
When the car is lifted off the ground, the airflow causes it to be pulled back down again. Porpoising is the term used to describe the aggressive bouncing of a vehicle or vessel.