Rebounds on the straight from porpoising have been Ferrari’s worst enemy at the start of the season. Also at Imola , Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz complained about porpoise, which continues to be the Maranello team’s main development goal.
Most teams have a series of updates planned for the Spanish GP with which they hope to overcome or at least minimize this annoying phenomenon that affects the efficiency of the aerodynamics studied in the CFD and the wind tunnel.
As has been repeated on several occasions, research in the wind tunnel is restricted by regulation to an air speed limited to 50 m/s, or what is the same, 180 km/h.
For that reason, it’s hard for teams to identify porpoising at high speeds, which results in those sudden bounces as height from the ground varies. The more the ground adheres to the asphalt and the greater the vertical load, the more rebounds occur.
The Red Bull RB18 is arguably the car that suffers the least from porpoise, although it is not immune to it. Otherwise, in Max Verstappen’s retirement in Melbourne it would have been the main cause, since a fuel tube became dislodged by the unnatural effect of rebounds, until that failure caused a fuel leak that caused a fire.
As for the Ferrari F1-75, the way it bounces always comes to an end just before braking, while the Mercedes also suffers from it in the corners, with an instability that makes the W13 difficult to drive and set up.
According to the Brackley technicians , its bounce frequency is greater than that of Ferrari , which would explain why the Maranello team ‘s porpoise stops much earlier than that of Mercedes .
A problem that is easily identified, but cannot be solved in the short term.
Red Bull in, on its RB18 , has introduced a longitudinal metal bib that follows the trailing edge under the bottom: a kind of “skate board”. Although some suspected it was a “miniskirt”, which is prohibited by regulation.
In reality, it is most likely a small part that has the function of preventing the ground from crushing against the asphalt, to prevent it from sealing and therefore limit the negative effect of porpoising .
Verstappen ‘s car could therefore run at a more constant distance from the ground, which would make the RB18 more balanced and balanced. The detail certainly did not escape the eyes of the Maranello technicians, who adapted the floor edges of the F1-75 .
The image captured by Davide Cavazza during the Pirelli tests at Imola last Wednesday, shows that also the second cut (closest to the rear wheel) was no longer rounded in the innermost part, but was squared, while in the molded trailing edge was metal and was introduced as reinforcement.
This was the solution used by Carlos Sainz in the afternoon, while the Bahrain background was used in the morning in Charles Leclerc ‘s F1-75, probably to be able to make comparisons.
In addition to the lighter updates to the rear wing and power unit, Ferrari will also introduce some minor changes to the underside of the car for Miami.