Bouncing is now ‘no longer an issue’ for Mercedes W13, says Andrew Shovlin

Jamie Woodhouse
Lewis Hamilton pulls out of the garage, visor up. France July 2022

Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin says the team have eliminated the bouncing problem it had with the W13.

Formula 1 introduced one of the largest regulatory overhauls between seasons in its history ahead of the 2022 campaign, the cars switching to a ground-effect aerodynamic concept designed to reduce the amount of dirty air being created, thus allowing drivers to follow each other without losing as much performance.

But with the change to ground-effect aerodynamics came an associated problem, that being a bouncing phenomenon, termed ‘porpoising’, from which many of the cars suffered in the early stages.

For Mercedes, this issue stuck with them for several races, the team believing it was having an impact on their performance as the only way to reduce the level of bouncing was by raising the ride height of the car, which means a drop in downforce.

The situation became so severe and widespread in Baku that many drivers asked for the FIA to intervene, with a technical directive now on its way for the upcoming Belgian Grand Prix to address the problem, with further floor changes lined up for 2023.

But in the races leading up to the summer break, the topic of bouncing has been much less discussed.

Shovlin claims Mercedes no longer have a bouncing issue with the W13.

George Russell drives the Mercedes W13. France, July 2022.

“Bouncing is no longer an issue at all,” said Shovlin, quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.

With the bouncing now under control, Mercedes say they are no longer “going around in circles” and can focus on progressing, the Hungarian Grand Prix having been a very positive sign as George Russell claimed pole position, the first of his career and Mercedes’ first of the season.

“We still have a few things in the quiver, nothing spectacular but things that will take us further,” said a Mercedes spokesperson, quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.

“We are no longer going around in circles but are now moving forward continuously. Also with the set-up.”

Read more: Mercedes feature in PlanetF1’s mid-season conclusions.

And now Mercedes have a golden opportunity to gain ground

While Mercedes have scarcely had the fastest car this season, their strategical decisions have been strong and the W13 reliable, the same not ringing true for Ferrari, which has opened the door somewhat for Mercedes.

Despite the Ferrari F1-75 being a consistent match for Red Bull’s RB18, at times its superior even, poor reliability and bad strategy calls have hamstrung the Scuderia, meaning that instead of battling with Red Bull they are now looking over their shoulder at Mercedes just 30 points behind.

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton passed Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz thanks to pace alone in Hungary, so with the W13 seemingly no longer bouncing and the path clear to focus on pure performance, P2 in the Constructors’ Championship is still very much on for Mercedes.

 

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