SportF1How teams are fighting porpoising in F1 2022

How teams are fighting porpoising in F1 2022

As races go on, teams accumulate more data and better understand how to maximize performance while combating the detrimental effects of porpoising . This phenomenon, which surprised most of the grid when their cars first took to the track in pre-season, has been the main focus of attention to reduce their movement and gain lap time.

All the teams suffered from the rebound to one degree or another, due to a series of factors that cause its appearance. A simplistic approach to reduce the problem is to raise the height of the car , something they will need to do after the FIA statement, but this would not only compromise aerodynamic performance, it would also drastically reduce the set-up options available.

For many, this meant seeking more radical change, and some need to be more pragmatic about how long it will take to find a suitable solution. Meanwhile, the development battle continues, and teams have been busy using new designs on the ground, not only to improve downforce, but also to save weight.

The latter is especially important when you consider that a large part of the field has not been able to reach the minimum weight, even when it was raised just before the season to an exorbitant 798 kilos .

Given the greater load now supported by the bottom, the teams have had to create an additional margin, although part of this space has been eliminated thanks to a better understanding of the real loads that are exerted on the different areas of the floor and the introduction of a metal bracket ahead of the rear tire. This not only reduces porpoising , but also trades off stiffness against any weight reduction plan.

Taking into account the manufacturing time of the bottom, which is the largest component fitted to the car, the teams have opted to insert patches, allowing them to swap out sections, rather than having to build a completely new part each time.

Although this does add some weight, it makes them extremely agile when it comes to development, and reduces costs, which is an extremely important factor when looking at the FIA budget ceiling regulations.

Ferrari F1-75 and McLaren MCL36 floor comparison

Ferrari F1-75 and McLaren MCL36 floor comparison

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Mercedes W13 new floor comparison

Mercedes W13 new floor comparison

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

One of the most obvious areas of development, across the grid, is the edge of the ground, as teams can not only decide whether to use an ‘ edge wing ‘, but also the geometry of the exterior and its discontinuity in front of the rear tire.

McLaren created quite a stir during pre-season when they showed off their edge wing , and several have copied the design, when they did their own analysis in CFD and in the wind tunnel, like Ferrari did.

Although Mercedes hasn’t gone the way of McLaren, its floor does feature a rim wing as part of the latest modification. The refreshed scythe shape of the W13 in this section has allowed the team to change the geometry of the floor, and Gurney-type fins have been added, just ahead of the edge wing , as well as optimizing the area near the rear tyre.

Red Bull Racing RB18 fin comparison

Red Bull Racing RB18 fin comparison

Another area where teams have followed the progress of their rivals’ designs is the belly pan, as Aston Martin has implemented a solution that has trickled down to other cars. Ferrari was the quickest to respond in this regard, having a version of the ‘ bib wing ‘ ready for the F1-75 launch just a week after it was seen at AMR22.

Red Bull followed too, while the Alpine A522 and Mercedes W13 received it soon after, along with other keel elements to take advantage of the new airflow directions.

Those from Milton Keynes have forged their own path in many ways, with one of the most refined designs on the entire grill on their RB18. Unsurprisingly, some of those features are making their way to rivals as well, so let’s dive deeper into what Red Bull is doing…

Red Bull Racing RB18 flooring

Red Bull Racing RB18 flooring

The contour on the underside of the RB18 is very different to what you see elsewhere, in that while most teams seem to have a smoother curve in the center section of the keel , Red Bull has a sharper curve. [2] more or less in line with the outward angle at which the edge of the floor ends.

To smooth out this sudden transition, there are also a series of folds in the side wall of the tunnel [1], which appears to have a much more vaulted ceiling than many of the other solutions used by its rivals. Although this means that the maximum space allowed by regulations is not used, it is likely to reduce flow instability over a wider range of ride heights.

Red Bull have also employed a multi-stepped keel design as the floor tapers towards the diffuser section at the rear [3], and it’s a feature that Ferrari has incorporated in its latest update, the same as at McLaren. .

Ferrari F1-75 floor comparison

Ferrari F1-75 floor comparison

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

McLaren MCL36 floor

McLaren MCL36 floor

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

Each team has its own interpretation, since, for example, Red Bull and McLaren floors have three steps, while Ferrari only has one.

Another interesting design feature of the Austrians is that they have introduced their ” ice skate “. At first it was questioned how it was possible to have such an element, but it has now become clear that it is Red Bull’s interpretation of the edge wing spoiler, housed below the ground, rather than on top.

The skid consists of a brace hung from the bottom of the bottom with the six permitted mounting brackets.

Red Bull Racing RB18 diffuser detail

Red Bull Racing RB18 diffuser detail

These elements are made of metal, as is the tie rod, as the team has chosen to be conservative, as it could come into contact with the track surface when the ground flexes.

Although not its main function, the choice of material could also make the skid offer some stiffness to the ground, but this might not be necessary as Red Bull has perhaps the most complete internal grid design (see below). The work of the skate is aerodynamic, although it is not what the edge winds regulation intended, providing support to the various flow structures that surround it.

Not only will this help improve the performance of the underfloor tunnel, but it will also reduce air intake from the tires to the diffuser so that it disrupts aerodynamics and vortices already in motion.

Red Bull RB18 floor detail

Red Bull RB18 floor detail

Returning to the top, the team made an interesting change to the ground as part of the upgrade package in Spain. A large teardrop-shaped blister can now be found embedded in the bottom, next to the side element that seems to open a path for the airflow to expand from the interior to the channel running alongside it (red arrows).

Air flowing through this channel appears to go through a nozzle-shaped outlet further down (top right inset), with a design optimized to accommodate both outflow and external aerodynamic conditions. The ampoule also appears to offer an improvement in flow, as air moves through the side ribs as well (smaller box).

Red Bull RB18 floor comparison

Red Bull RB18 floor comparison

In Azerbaijan they went a step further, not only optimizing the ground and flow (blue arrows, old box), but also the height and geometry of the leading edge.

Previously, this edge sloped down to meet the chassis below the equator, making the outer edge of the bottom higher than the inner edge (red arrow, inset above).

Now this region has been raised and is on the side of the chassis, which results in different flow movements, not only for the bottom floor, but also for the air moving through the side slot.

Red Bull has also found the need to use the metal bracket introduced by the FIA ahead of the season to help teams mitigate the effects of porpoising .

The tie rod needed a small change to the ground to accommodate its anchorage, and is much shorter than many of its rivals, as it intersects the bottom sidewall next to it, rather than having to go the full width. up to the engine cover.

Red Bull Racing RB18 Floor Comparison

Red Bull Racing RB18 Floor Comparison

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