Leclerc: Ferrari’s porpoising work ‘put in the bin’ by TD

Jamie Woodhouse
Charles Leclerc stands in the Ferrari garage. Azerbaijan, June 2022.

Charles Leclerc stands in the Ferrari garage in Baku. Azerbaijan, June 2022.

Charles Leclerc says Ferrari had worked hard to address the F1-75’s porpoising habit, with all of that now undone by the FIA.

On the eve of the Canadian Grand Prix, the FIA released a new technical directive in response to the bouncing which had caused numerous drivers discomfort in Baku, prompting many of them to ask for FIA intervention and Mercedes’ George Russell kicking that off by warning a “major” incident was coming if no action was taken.

The FIA will now monitor the bouncing more closely in a bid to ensure teams are running their challengers in a safe set-up, which could include the need to raise the car by 10mm if the FIA are not satisfied.

Ferrari have suffered their fair share of porpoising although it has not impacted their performance, the Scuderia P2 in the Constructors’ Championship with two race wins so far this season.

According to Leclerc, that is due to good work by Ferrari to nullify that issue, and so with this directive now published he sees that work as being all for nothing.

Charles Leclerc races in front of the fans. Montreal June 2022

“On the one hand, I obviously understand George’s point because when you see him and Lewis get out of their car after Baku, it’s very bad,” Leclerc told Autosport.

“You can feel probably the pain Lewis is going through at the moment and this is not acceptable.

“But on the other hand also, you cannot underestimate the amount of work that’s been done in the last few months by teams to actually get on top of those issues. This has been our main priority since the first time we tried these cars.

“We’ve been working to get on top of those issues. I think the improvement has been massive and now all of the work we’ve done, [do we] just put it in the bin because obviously there’s maybe one team that is struggling more than others?

“This is my point of view. I obviously understand that on Mercedes it’s very bad, but I also think there are maybe fixes for this.”

Russell explained it is not yet clear what impact this directive will have, stressing that simply raising the car does not make all of the problems go away.

He also explained porpoising and bottoming are different phenomena, the two issues interchanging.

Porpoising is caused by the cycle of losing and regaining downforce underneath the floor, creating a bouncing motion, while bottoming is the floor of the stiffly-sprung cars hitting the track, this also creating bouncing.

“At the end of the day, the FIA are the rule-makers and they could bring in any regulation change they want,” said Russell.

“Nobody sat here (in the press conference) knows if that will improve their performance or have a negative effect on their performance. So we really have to see.

“There are so many different aspects and elements of these cars that by raising the car, it doesn’t necessarily reduce or remove it. You’re going in between porpoising and bottoming – it’s two sort of different issues at play here.

“I hope it’s easier to drive for everyone and it doesn’t have a knock-on effect on performance for anyone.”