Never let it be said Ted Kravitz can’t find an interesting, although at times balmy, way to explain Formula 1’s technical regulations.
This season the big topic is the floors with the FIA having declared last season that the teams not only have to raise the floor edges, but also the height of the diffuser throat, in a bid to minimise porpoising.
Except for a bouncing Carlos Sainz in Thursday’s opening day of pre-season testing, most of the teams reported that it is less with even Ferrari saying “it’s not at all like it was a year ago when the car was bouncing like a kangaroo”.
Kravitz sat down with AlphaTauri’s Jody Egginton to break down, or best to say break apart, the revised floor regulations.
Asking Egginton if he could have a look at the AT04’s floor, he got the expected response: “At this point in the moment with the car the answer would probably have to be no.”
So turning to a block of gouda, because how else does one explain the edges of a Formula 1 car’s floor, Kravitz went onto explain the floor changes.
Slicing the block of cheese for a cross-section of the floor, the pitlane reporter cut away a section on the side to show last year’s floor edges, which could graze the ground, before taking to the other side to remove a much higher chunk that mean the edges of the cheese could not touch the ground.
“It’s a fair bit higher,” he pointed out.
“Last year’s floor edge was skimming along the ground because you wanted to seal the floor and create downforce, so presumably if it’s higher (this year) you’ve lost a fair bit of downforce.”
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Egginton replied: “In terms of what we’re trying to do with the floor, we’re trying to seal it as best we can.
“These regulations push towards lower ride-heights relative to the previous regulation cars.
“The same rules apply but essentially because the edges have been lifted that’s going to be in contact with the road less, so it’s little bit harder to achieve that [sealing the floor].
“Less contact but also we have to recover the load, it’s probably half a second of load across the grid just from that floor modification.”
Asked about winter development and whether the teams could have found half a second with their new cars meaning the lap times could be the same this year, Egginton said: “I expect everyone will go quicker than last year.
“But having said that it has also changed the characteristic of the car, theoretically at least in terms of resistance to bouncing, porpoising.
“In theory, we don’t know yet because we have very little data, but the possibility of bouncing should be reduced as a result of it.
“I think overall we’ve raised the edge so the amount of sealing is less which reduced sensitivity to being sucked down, porpoising.
“In terms of how it affects teams more or less even without a regulation change people would have been looking to reduce porpoising, get performance, reducing the risk of it.
“I’m pretty sure it’s not one size fits all but I’m also pretty sure that people are chasing the data targets and would have found solutions regardless of what the regulations were.”