Brawn a ‘little surprised’ by porpoising issues

Michelle Foster
Ferrari and Red Bull watching Sebastian Vettel in testing. Barcelona February 2022

Ferrari and Red Bull mechanics watching Sebastian Vettel in testing. Barcelona February 2022

Ross Brawn is a “little surprised” that the teams have been caught out by porpoising as it goes hand-in-hand with ground effect aerodynamics.

Taking to the Circuit de Catalunya last week, most of the drivers complained about their 2022 cars bouncing up and down on the straights.

It is a phenomenon known as porpoising, a consequence of using ground effect aerodynamics.

The car is pushed down onto the track by the downforce and, as it gets closer to the ground, the causes the underfloor aero to stall.

When that happens the car rises off from the track, which leads to the underfloor aero kicking in, and again the car is pushed into the ground. So it continues in an up and down motion.

Some teams seemed to suffer more than others with McLaren said to have already found a “slot trick” solution to the problem.

Brawn believed the teams would have been aware of the issue, and would have resolved it, during the months spent in their wind tunnels.

“We’ve all experienced it. It is prevalent, it’s a phenomenon, it’s physics,” F1 managing director Brawn told F1TV of the porpoising that the teams have been suffering, adding that it happens a lot in single-seaters that have a “large dependency on ground effect.

“I’m a little surprised some of them have been caught out by it.

“I thought they would have anticipated it from their wind tunnel work, but you can see on the track that some people have already come to terms with it, so there are solutions out there.

“I think where they will face a challenge is that I suspect the solutions may be cutting back on performance a little bit, and the strongest performance may put them on the edge [of porpoising] – but that is a decision for the teams to make on how they set the car up.”

He has, however, assured the drivers that if it does become a safety concern, the FIA will step in.

He added: “There are lots of Formulae now which have to balance that difference and if it ever becomes a problem, I’m sure the FIA can find some tweaks to the underside to reduce the sensitivity.”

Mercedes driver George Russell, who fears porpoising is a “safety concern”, believes unbanning active suspensions would solve the problem.


“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.”


Russell’s solution to porpoising

George Russell believes that he has the solution to porpoising.