Russell reckons banned trick would solve porpoising issues

Michelle Foster
George Russell up close in the Mercedes W13 in testing. Barcelona February 2022

Mercedes driver George Russell up close in the W13 in testing. Barcelona February 2022

George Russell believes bringing back active suspensions would solve the porpoising problems that the teams suffered during the opening pre-season outing.

Russell and his rivals found themselves bouncing up and down the straights in their brand new 2022 cars.

Porpoising is a consequence of using ground effect aerodynamics, the result of downforce pushing the car down onto the track which causes the underfloor aero to stall.

As that happens the car rises off from the track, which leads to the underfloor aero kicking in, and the car again being pushed into the ground. So it continues.

The teams spent the Barcelona outing trying to find solutions with McLaren reportedly finding a “slot trick” that resolves it.

According to Auto Motor und Sport, the Woking team has created a “a long slot parallel to the edge on the rear part of the floor plate, which is supposed to prevent porpoising because it gives the air an escape route when the floor bends downwards.”

The publication adds that it is an “easy” solution for the Woking team’s rivals to copy.

Russell, though, has another solution that he believes would definitely work, active suspensions.

“We just saw with the Charles video just how bad it was for them,” the Mercedes driver told Autosport.

“So, I think we will need to find a solution.

“I guess if active suspension was there, it could be solved with a click of your fingers. And the cars would naturally be a hell of a lot faster if we had that.

“I’m sure all the teams are capable of that, so that could be one for the future. But let’s see in Bahrain. I’m sure the teams will come up with some smart ideas around this issue.”

Active suspensions are banned from Formula 1 and have been since 1994.

Russell added: “I think it’s clear if we had active suspension, the cars will 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,” he said.

“So, it’s an easy way to make the cars go faster. And if you think of a safety aspect, then potentially [it’s an improvement].

“I’m sure there’s more limitations. I’m not an engineer. But we wouldn’t have this issue down the straight, that’s for sure.”


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Russell’s solution to porpoising

George Russell believes that he has the solution to porpoising.