Teams already close to resolving porpoising issue

Frank Parker
Daniel Ricciardo testing for McLaren. Spain, February 2022.

Daniel Ricciardo with an aero rake on his McLaren MCL36 in Barcelona. Spain, February 2022.

Formula 1 teams are fairly confident that they will get on top of the infamous porpoising effect which has been the talk of the paddock following the first test.

Few had even heard of the word “porpoising” before this test and the phenomenon has affected many of the cars on the grid.

Whilst nothing to do with aquatic mammals, the effect sees the car wildly bounce up and down when at high speeds – a symptom of the ground effect aerodynamics.

McLaren’s technical director James Key explained, as quoted by “That’s a factor of ground effect cars, which are relatively sensitive when it comes to vehicle height.

“You get into an oscillation that can be triggered by just a bump in the road. You then get a little instability, the car goes up and then it picks up downforce again.”

Ferrari look to have seen the worst of the problem, but Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc appeared to suffer a lot less as the test progressed.

Team principal Mattia Binotto has confirmed that the issue is no longer a problem for the team as the Scuderia looks to iron out the issue entirely

“I think it was an issue but it’s not anymore,” explained Binotto, as quoted by

“If we’re looking at this on Thursday afternoon and earlier on Friday, I think we are bouncing a lot less. And somehow we are managing the situation.

“We are happy, first because I think we have done a lot of laps.

“I think that now we will be back in Maranello before to go to Bahrain and we have a few days really to look at all the data and try somehow to optimise the current car.”

McLaren have also experienced the issue, but not to the extent of their rivals Ferrari. Key is very aware that porpoising might rear its head again with new updates, and might limit setup flexibility for some teams.

However, the McLaren man feels that the teams up and down the grid will be able to iron out the problem to the point where it will no longer be an issue.


“It’s an issue because it’s very visible, but there will be solutions in set-up and aero development to figure out how to manage it,” Key explained.

“I think after the first five or six races there will be very little talk about it.

“There will always be some reaction to the ground effect because they are ground effect cars. I don’t think you’ll get rid of the phenomenon completely because it’s just physics, but after some development work it will be significantly less of a problem and a talking point.”


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