Pat Symonds says as soon as he reviewed the Red Bull RB18’s floor during last year’s pre-season testing, he knew they were ‘on top’ of F1’s purple issues.
Last season Formula 1 welcomed the arrival of brand new cars on the grid, the new generation features simpler wings and uses ground effect aerodynamics to create downforce.
Instead of pushing the car to the ground, using ground effect aerodynamics, it is actually sucked into it. And that, well, sucked for some teams.
Mercedes led the way when it came to porpoise, their W13 suffering with more bouncing than most of their rivals. This led team boss Toto Wolff to call for changes, citing the long-term effect of the rebound on his riders’ health.
One team that objected to the FIA’s intervention was Red Bull, Christian Horner said every single team should sort out their own issues. It was easy for him to say, Red Bull had no rebound.
Symonds, F1’s chief technical officer, wasn’t surprised.
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Speaking at the Autosport International show, where he took the stage with Alfa Romeo’s aerodynamic consultant Willem Toet, he revealed he knew they were at the heart of the problem when he saw the car’s floor during pre-season testing last year. year.
“I think one of the interesting things is that Willem described depopulation as an aerodynamic phenomenon,” Symonds said.
“But there’s the coupling, everything is coupled to the car, suspension, etc. They are the structural dynamics, the suspension dynamics and the aerodynamic effects.
“And in Barcelona, in the early ’22 tests, I went to have a look at the cars, going around the garage. I had the advantage that the rest of the technical directors in the pit lane worked with me.
“But when I got to the Red Bull floor, and I saw it structurally, I’m above that.”
The FIA has allowed teams to introduce stays at the Canadian Grand Prix, Mercedes grabbed that idea as they tried to stabilize the car floor.
Toet explained why those helped, saying: “The rules have been changed to allow teams to add braces to stiffen the floors, a temporary fix.
“You can imagine that aerodynamically you want something that stays relatively stable.
“And if your floor bounces up and down and reduces the amount of air that can pass underneath, then you’ll have the problem sooner.
“When you lose downforce you lose the pressure difference from the surface and the floor rises again.”
Red Bull with their no-bouncing car went on to a championship double in 2022, while Mercedes, with their purple W13, managed just one win at the end of the season, when it looked like they had fixed the problem.
However, he returned at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
This year the FIA changed the floor regulations, raising the height of the diffuser throat and the floor edges by 15mm, in the hope of minimizing the problem.