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George Russell

Russell calls for return of banned trick to combat porpoising

George Russell has expressed his concerns about the 'porpoising' phenomenon that hit F1 testing last week, but thinks he has a solution.

George Russell
To news overview © Mercedes

George Russell reckons the return of a banned technology from the 1990s could solve the 'porpoising' issues that dominated the headlines at last week's opening pre-season test in Barcelona.

One of the key elements of F1's all-new regulations for 2022 is the move to a ground effect philosophy. This means downforce is predominantly generated by airflow under the car, essentially sucking it down to the ground.

However, a side effect is that the car's natural frequency can cause resonance through the chassis – this could be spotted by cars bouncing or 'porpoising' down the straights, with a clip of Charles Leclerc going viral.

"I think it has the potential to be a real safety concern if it gets out of control," Russell told media, including RacingNews365.com, when asked to explain what it's like to deal with porpoising behind the wheel.

"If you're flat out down the straight and it starts to happen, you don't want to back off in a race scenario. We saw with Charles' video just how bad it was for them [Ferrari], so I think we will need to find a solution."

Russell keen to see active suspension return to F1

Russell then went on to suggest the return of active suspension, which was banned ahead of the 1994 season and enabled teams to optimise car ride height from corner to corner.

"I guess if active suspension was there that could be solved with the click of your fingers," Russell continued.

"The cars would naturally be a hell of a lot faster if we had that and I'm sure all the teams are capable of that. That could be one for the future.

"But let's see [at the next test] in Bahrain. I'm sure the teams will come up with some smart ideas around this issue."

Pushed on the matter, Russell said: "I think it's clear if we had active suspension, the cars would be a hell of a lot faster for the same aerodynamic surfaces, because you'd be able to optimise the ride heights for every corner speed, and optimise it down the straight for the least amount of drag.

"That's an easy way to make the cars go faster, and if you're thinking of a safety aspect, then potentially... I'm sure there are more limitations, I'm not an engineer, but we wouldn't have this issue down the straight, that's for sure."

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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