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Ross Brawn

Brawn reassures Russell and GPDA over safety concerns

Formula 1's new cars spent the Barcelona pre-season test battling a new problem that has since become the sport's latest buzzword - porpoising.

Ross brawn
Article
To news overview © Formula 1

Ross Brawn has moved to reassure Formula 1 drivers that if the porpoising of the sport's 2022 cars becomes dangerous, the FIA will "find some tweaks" to reduce its severity.

It comes after Grand Prix Drivers' Association Director and Mercedes driver George Russell described the issue as a "potential safety concern" ahead of the new F1 season.

Lent its name by the aquatic marine mammal (porpoise) often seen dipping above and below the surface as it travels, porposing is a common problem seen with ground-effect cars, to which F1's new 2022 machines are similar.

It occurs when the car is sucked too close to the ground at high speeds, causing resonance through the chassis which then results in the cars appearing to bounce down the straights

For drivers, the effect proves uncomfortable but can be dangerous if too severe, something Russell is wary of.

“I think it has the potential to be a real safety concern if it gets out of control,” he told media including RacingNews365.com.

“Obviously if you’re flat-out down the straight and it starts to happen, you don’t back off in a race scenario. We saw with [the] Charles [Leclerc] video just how bad it was for them, so I think we all need to find a solution.”

Brawn: I'm sure FIA can find some tweaks

Speaking to F1 TV in Barcelona, Brawn admitted that he was surprised to see teams - some of which are armed with incredibly advanced simulator technology and wind tunnels - caught out by porpoising.

Some were feeling the effects more than others in Barcelona, with Ferrari appearing to be the worst hit by the problem, while McLaren escaped relatively unscathed.

But, amid the concerns of Russell and others, Brawn has reassured drivers that if the problem worsens, the FIA will look to help towards curing the problem.

"I'm a little surprised some of them have been caught out by it, because I thought they would have anticipated it from their wind tunnel work, but you can see on the track that some have already come to terms with it, so there are solutions out there," said Brawn.

"Where they will face a challenge is that I suspect the solutions may be cutting back on performance a little bit, and stronger performance may put them on the edge [of porpoising] - but that is a decision for the teams to make on how they set the car up."

He added: "If it ever becomes a problem, I'm sure the FIA can find some tweaks to the underside to reduce the sensitivity."

Also interesting:

F1 Podcast: All you need to know after the first pre-season test

At the end of the first pre-season test of 2022 in Barcelona, Dieter Rencken and Thomas Maher discuss the on- and off-track developments so far.

F1 2022 Barcelona pre-season test RN365 News dossier

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