Red Bull Content Pool

F1 News

Newey saw porpoising coming: 'Actually, everyone should have known'

Newey saw porpoising coming: 'Actually, everyone should have known'

06-11-2022 13:30 Last update: 13:53

Red Bull Racing was the first Formula 1 team to deal with porpoising. While many F1 teams were surprised by a bouncing car, Adrian Newey appeared to have already factored the problem into the RB18's design. Red Bull's chief technical officer gained experience with the problem early in his career.

The 63-year-old master designer has now been in the business for 42 years. The ground effect brought by the new generation of F1 cars came as no surprise to him, as he gained experience with it even before he got a permanent position in the king class of motorsport.

Newey gained early experience with ground effect

"I studied ground effect aerodynamics and my last project during my studies was the application in sports cars," he is quoted by Auto, Motor und Sport. "I was looking for an internship and wrote to the teams that drove in the 1980 season. Most of them didn't respond. Harvey Postlethwaite, who was working at Fittipaldi at the time, then offered me a job as an apprentice in his aerodynamics department."

There, Newey was thrown into the deep end quite a bit, he continues, "As it turned out, I was the head of the department that day. I was alone." During his time at Fittipaldi, he already gained the necessary experience in porpoising, about which he had basic knowledge thanks to his specialised training.

Newey saw porpoising coming

Because of the experience, he gained over 40 years ago, he saw the phenomenon coming as early as the design phase of the RB18. "I guessed what was in store for us. At most I was surprised by the extent. Actually, everyone should have known. It's a phenomenon that's in the genes of these cars," Newey explains.

According to Newey, though, translating the problem into a model is difficult. This is because in the wind tunnel, porpoising does not show up and so it cannot be simulated. That played a big part in Mercedes going the wrong way with the W13 this year, as the team relied on the test results visible in the wind tunnel. Still, according to Newey, there were other ways to predict the phenomenon, with the result that Red Bull got a grip on it "relatively quickly".