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Red Bull Racing

Mercedes' campaign for porpoising changes backfired: Red Bull benefited

The early races of the 2022 season saw porpoising occur throughout the grid, particularly at the Mercedes team. As it pushed for changes, Red Bull stated that the new rules helped its own squad.

Verstappen Hamilton US
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To news overview © XPBimages

Red Bull has highlighted that the changes implemented to combat porpoising during the 2022 season aided the performance of the Milton Keynes-based squad.

Its rival Mercedes was one of several teams that suffered from dramatic bouncing down long straights amid the introduction of new technical regulations.

Red Bull entered the sport's new era with an advantage over the field and has taken back-to-back double championship success, winning 86 per cent of all races staged across the last two seasons.

Speaking to Racecar Engineering, Red Bull's Head of Performance Engineering Ben Waterhouse admitted that Red Bull was not expecting such an advantage when the rules were first introduced.

“If you roll back nearly two years, it was all about how do we understand these new regulations, how do we optimise all the different parameters?' he said.

“But there's still a huge number of unknowns. Yes, you know something about the tyre.

“Yes, you have an idea of what the aero maps are going to be but, until you actually see it for real, you're never really certain.”

RB18 vs RB19

Red Bull won 17 races during the 2022 campaign, with Verstappen securing his second World Championship.

Having applied learnings from its RB18 challenger and carried them over to last year's car, Red Bull enjoyed an even more dominant year by securing all but one race win during the campaign.

“Having had the whole season with RB18, we knew it was a very good car [but) also had plenty of limitations,” Waterhouse continued.

“It therefore meant we had a very clear focus of what we wanted to do to improve it and make it a better car.

“The RB19 started in a much better position. It's no secret that RB18 started overweight, and it remained to some degree overweight throughout the season.

“So there was free lap time in RB18 anyway, which we then realised in RB19.”

F1 Red Bull Racing © XPBimages

No disaster

The FIA pushed through a number of changes to stop the porpoising effect from continuing, including raising the floor edges and diffuser throat.

The changes were heavily lobbied by Mercedes, but Waterhouse has stated that the new rules were a benefit to Red Bull's car.

“In the RB18 there were issues with, for example, floor edges touching the ground regularly, said Waterhouse.

"There was damage, which was occurring to strakes and components of the floor. So I think from our side, it was not a disaster to have to them raise the floor edge to prevent those sorts of details.

“And then, of course, you move into a less sensitive area from an aerodynamic perspective when you're not interacting with the ground quite so closely.

“From our perspective, we didn't feel that we were the worst in terms of bouncing, but we perhaps didn't exploit ground contact of the floor as much. So I think for us, it was not such a bad detail.”

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