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Damon Hill

Hill argues that Russell's solution for porpoising is 'absolutely right'

Porpoising became a key issue for many F1 teams during the recent pre-season test in Barcelona. George Russell was amongst those to suggest a possible solution, and Damon Hill believes that this could well be the answer.

Russell Barcelona
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Damon Hill has backed George Russell's suggestion to bring back a banned technology in order to combat the issue of porpoising.

The term refers to a problem caused by the ground effect design of the new 2022 cars, with downforce predominantly being generated by airflow under the car, essentially sucking it down to the ground.

A side effect of this is that the car's natural frequency can cause resonance through the chassis, causing the cars to appear to bounce down the straights.

This became a key issue for several teams during the recent pre-season test in Barcelona, and some drivers have since raised concerns about its possible impact on reliability.

Is the return of active suspension to F1 the answer?

Russell also spoke about porpoising and questioned whether bringing back active suspension could be a solution. This was previously banned ahead of the 1994 season, and enabled teams to optimise car ride height from corner to corner.

Whilst there is a possibility that such a move could cause further problems, Hill has voiced his support for the idea, having raced with active suspension himself.

"He's absolutely right," Hill told the F1 Nation podcast.

"Because the brilliant thing about the active car was it could control much better the ride height of the car. So if you look at pictures of the car I drove in 1993, you'll look at it and think, 'Wow, why is it on the floor?'"

Hill praises the 'active' car

Hill - who began his F1 career in 1992 - is full of praise for what the 'active' car could do.

"It literally was measured... It could keep its distance from the ground to within half a millimetre, plus or minus," the 1996 World Champion explained.

"We didn't have the [wind] tunnels that you have now on the 2022 car. We had a flat bottom, [and] you could still generate downforce from that, provided you could control the height of the car from the ground, and normal springs and dampers struggle, because they're passive.

"In other words, the greater the load on the car, the more they squash up and the stiffer they get, and the more likely they are to rebound. Whereas with the active car, the computer goes, 'Right, that's close enough. We'll just keep it there'.

"And off you go. It's fantastic."

The teams and drivers will have another chance to consider how to deal with porpoising at the second pre-season test in Bahrain, taking place 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.

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