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Barcelona pre-season test 2022

F1 drivers raise reliability concerns over 'porpoising' issue on 2022 cars

'Porpoising' - a term used to describe how the new F1 cars appear to bounce down straights as a result of being designed to a ground effect philosophy - became a key topic during the Barcelona pre-season test. As well as looking slightly strange, the issue has raised concerns amongst the drivers.

Bottas Barcelona
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To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

Several F1 drivers have raised concerns over how 'porpoising' could have an impact on the reliability of the 2022 cars.

The term refers to the side effect of the cars being designed to a ground effect philosophy, in that this causes resonance through the chassis which then results in the cars appearing to bounce down the straights.

Ferrari's Mattia Binotto has admitted that many in the sport may have "underestimated the problem" ahead of the recent pre-season test in Barcelona, where 'porpoising' became a common sight.

He is not the only one to flag the issue, as it has also become a talking point for the drivers.

How 'porpoising' could affect reliability

Valtteri Bottas admits that, as well as proving uncomfortable, 'porpoising' has left him concerned about the potential knock-on effect in terms of reliability.

"I would say it affects a bit of everything, for sure," Bottas told media including RacingNews365.com.

"It's not very comfortable if it happens. Visually it gets a bit tricky, and obviously you lose over a load, because basically, the level of downforce goes up and down, and it can affect the braking as well.

"And one concern obviously [is], if you carry on [for] long like that, is the reliability of certain parts in the car, so I think that's quite a new thing for every team to learn how to deal with that, and how to optimise the set-up to avoid it.

"So I would say it's for sure been, for everyone, a bit of a challenge."

"It rattles your brain quite a bit"

Lance Stroll agrees with Bottas' concerns over reliability, and has also described the physical impact of the bouncing cars.

"It's pretty uncomfortable," the Aston Martin driver added.

"It rattles your brain quite a bit, and it's not nice on the lower back, you could say, but yeah, it's just a part of understanding and learning about these new ground effect cars.

"Now, the lower you run them, the better they get, but this bouncing, 'porpoising', has been a limitation. I've seen it happen down the grid, but it's definitely not comfortable.

"It's not ideal for, like Valtteri said, reliability, parts. The balance of the car never feels great going into a corner when it's bouncing up and down, so yeah, definitely something to work on and think about going forward."

"Progress" in resolving the issue

Mick Schumacher believes that the reliability effect will be an issue "probably at the start" of the season, but that "over time" it can improve.

Meanwhile, Carlos Sainz feels that Ferrari are making "progress" in trying to resolve the problem, but acknowledges that it could take some work.

"I feel like we're [making] progress," the Spaniard explained.

"But you need also parts, and you need understanding, and for that you need laps and you need parts to arrive and, obviously, within a couple of days [of the test], it's difficult to immediately combat it.

"But hopefully, [in] Bahrain and as we move forward in the season, it should just keep getting better and better."

The teams and drivers will next be in action at the second pre-season test in Bahrain on 10-12 March.

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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