Porpoising has altered the design and development plans of many teams on the Formula 1 grid, but some teams did a better job that has not been rewarded by the FIA.
When the pouring appeared in the preseason, the fear of some to have committed a serious mistake with the design of their single-seaters turned to relief that it was a widespread problem.
This rebound effect is caused by the cyclical build-up and loss of downforce at high speed, a typical problem with ground effect cars. However, many saw this problem as exacerbated by the fact that the sides of the back of the floor flexed as the car picked up speed on the straights.
“When the strap was allowed to be added it was a bit tricky, frustrating”
This problem is something that some teams, such as Alpine, knew how to predict, so they added rigidity to the floor of their car to prevent itwhich led to weight gain.
The FIA steps in
Others, faced with such a problem, placed a metal brace during the tests to prevent flexing of the ground at high speed. But the FIA, rather than stand by, decided to amend the regulations before the first race to allow teams to race with the aforementioned metal brace fitted to their cars.
“We designed our car for maximum performance, but accepting that it was going to be a bit overweight. We put a lot of stiffness in the ground and our wide upper body also allows for a stiffer setup.”explains Pat Fry regarding this matter.
“But when it was allowed to add the tie rod it was a bit of a hassle. But what can I say? It was a bit frustrating. We haven’t put it in because the ground is already stiff enough, and I think that has helped other teams tremendously.”says Alpine’s technical director.
The battle of the weight
This detail takes on even more importance in a season in which only Alfa Romeo -one of the teams that suffered the most in preseason with the unwanted flexing of the floor of its C42- has managed to stay below the minimum weight.
Something that is significantly affecting the performance of several cars and has even led to removing paint from them in order to reduce the maximum possible weight (not in vain, 10 kg. suppose four tenths per lap).
“This is all part of the game. We just have to own it and design the next update with it in mind.. It is possible to make a lighter car, but we have already used up the weight”, admits Pat Fry.
“We have to do both. Clearly there is lap time, but we have to work sensibly. We have some updates on the way for the next two or three races. All of which is based on our knowledge prior to the start of the competition.”reveals the British engineer.
“Obviously there is much more to come after seeing interesting things in other cars. We want to try to regain as much weight as possible. We are not that far, but you want to be a couple of kilos below ».
Very heavy and fragile cars
The new regulations have made the 2022 cars especially heavy and many teams They have not managed to lose 800 kg.
Added to this is the need to have pieces that are strong enough to withstand the considerable increased stiffness of the cars as a result of the new 18-inch wheels, which have lost the cushioning effect of the flanks of the 13-inch wheels used until last year.
Summary of the analysis of this start of the 2022 season carried out on our Twitch channel.
“It’s quite a challenge. Going over the pianos, obviously we are making the pieces stiffer and heavier to try to survive. So it’s a bit of a battle.”admits Fry, who is faced with the dilemma of saving weight at the cost of reliability.
“Normally the car puts on five kilos in the first half of the season as you try to get it to race reliably. And these cars are much more vulnerable to breakage.”he concludes.
Be that as it may, the Alpine A522 from Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon could have scored a point over his rivals had the FIA not intervened at the start of the season. That’s how things are in Formula 1.