F1 News

Here's why porpoising is such a problem for Mercedes

Here's why porpoising is such a problem for Mercedes

02-04-2022 16:42 Last update: 17:30


For the past eight years, Mercedes has been hugely dominant in Formula 1, but this year the team is encountering many problems. According to Peter Wright, the inventor of ground effect in the sport, the porpoising problem is not easy to solve.

Due to the new rules in Formula 1, teams have to deal with a tricky problem: porpoising. During the first test days this became immediately clear when many cars bounced violently up and down on the long straights. A number of teams have adapted well to the problem, including Ferrari and Red Bull Racing.

The problem just seems to be a lot bigger for Mercedes, partly due to a completely new chassis introduced during the last days of testing, with an almost side pod-less design. According to Peter Wright, the engineer who invented ground effect in Formula 1, it might be difficult for Mercedes to solve the problem.

"It is a very complicated problem. Aerodynamics don't change instantly, they have a length of time, about the same time it takes an F1 car to go one car length. That makes porpoising very complicated to analyse, it's very difficult to do in a wind tunnel," Wright explains in conversation with Peter Windsor.

Can Mercedes solve the problem?

As someone who has a lot of experience with porpoising due to ground effect, Wright sent another light-hearted message to James Allison, the designer of the Mercedes car: "Welcome and good luck!"

Wright is very understanding of the time Allison is going through right now. It is a problem that is not easy to solve, but the engineer is confident that Mercedes will solve it in time. Whether it will be in time to still be in contention for the title, that remains to be seen.

Video player

More videos