Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, Albert Park, 2022

Aston Martin’s porpoising “does not allow us to exploit the progress the guys have made”

2022 Australian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Aston Martin team principal Mike Krack admits there is a sense of frustration at the team on how their progress is being constrained by the problems they have experienced with ‘porpoising’.

They are the only team yet to score a point in 2022. Like several of their rivals, Aston Martin has been troubled by their car bouncing at speed as it loses and regains downforce, which undermines their drivers’ confidence in its’ handling.

The problem is caused by the downforce generated by the car’s floor, which has been made more powerful by the 2022 regulations. Until the team get it under control, any updates intended to enhance the AMR22’s performance could exacerbate the porpoising.

“This is the thing that does not allow us to move forward,” Krack admitted. “We make progress but to exploit it we go through to this barrier of porpoising which does not allow us to exploit the progress that the guys have made.

“So it’s quite frustrating, also, that you know you have progress down the line but you cannot exploit it on track,” he added.

The team endured a trying weekend in Australia where Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll suffered a combination of technical failures and several crashes. Krack said the damage incurred will further hamper their efforts to solve their problems with the AMR22 as resources will have to be diverted from development to building replacement parts.

“I’m quite sure you have counted the amount of incidents and the amount of wings and front suspensions that we have damaged, so you can calculate quickly how many we will need to go to Imola,” he said, which left the team facing a dilemma of “will we have capacity to develop or will we need to use our capacity for making spares.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2022 Australian Grand Prix

Browse all 2022 Australian Grand Prix articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

20 comments on “Aston Martin’s porpoising “does not allow us to exploit the progress the guys have made””

  1. Is porpoising a Mercedes wide code for weight?

  2. You can’t blame everything on porpoising. Look at Ferrari, they bounced their way to win the Australian GP by 20+s!!

    And I have a technical question: As I understand, porpoising occurs because the downforce generated by the floor is so high that the floor is pulled down causing downforce to go away and hence, the car goes up and the process repeats.

    So a porpoising car actually loses / gains / loses / gains downforce on a straight. Whereas a non-porpoising car maintains similar (probably gains a little) downforce as it goes faster and faster along the straight. And we all know that on straights one would rather not have downforce (e.g. F-duct, DRS wing). So, in a way, isn’t a porpoising car with less downforce faster along the straight compared to a non-porpoising car with more downforce? In which case, is porpoising even a problem that needs to be solved? Doesn’t it make the car little faster?

    1. Its a good question about being faster in a straight line to which i don’t know the answer (someone else may know how much is gained/lost in a straight line). The bouncing causes issues in a few areas; One it destroys the underside of the floor hence in the ’70’s cars would have a new floor every race and cars were made of a inner car suspended inside a rigid outer car frame work to get the best out of it. Two as can bee seen with the Mercedes the air flow needs to re-attach to the cars upper surfaces in the braking zones without this stability is reduced, cornering speeds drop and lap time bleeds away. Third its harsh on a driver and the worse the bouncing the more of a physically toll it takes.

    2. @sumedhvidwans It’s more about how stable the airflow is while the car is porpoising & how quickly it settles down when they get to a corner & need the platform to be stable to get maximum downforce. You can have a fast car even with porpoising providing the airflow remains stable/consistent & the platform settles down when you need it to but even then it’s still not ideal & is still likely costing you performance.

      The Ferrari bounces a lot but as soon as the lift off or brake it seems to settle down instantly giving drivers confidence on the brakes & allowing them to turn in knowing the grip will be there.

      Others such as the Mercedes & Aston Martin seem to be suffering from a less consistent airflow while porpoising which is actually creating a bit of extra drag & it’s then also not settling down until they hit a slower speed which is meaning drivers don’t have confidence in the braking or turn in as the grip they expect isn’t always there. And then to reduce the porpoising you need to raise the car & do some other things to the floor that is going to give you less grip but perhaps more consistency.

      Something to think about is that the Ferrari is this fast despite suffering from a lot of porpoising. If they can fix or even reduce the porpoising then they are going to find an additional chunk of performance that may well take them quite a big step above Red Bull & the rest.

      1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
        19th April 2022, 16:50

        What I read or heard somewhere is the Ferrari appears to start porpoising at a higher speed so it stops sooner also.

        What is very clear though is the frequency difference between the cars. The MB is bouncing at a faster rate.

        1. MB are probably using stiffer springs which have a higher frequency in order to reduce and/or increase the speed at which porpoising occurs. This will be further compromising their setup for cornering.

          1. Saw some video of the Mercedes and the front of the car is so stiff that is looked like a Go-Kart.
            Not the best approach to turn-in and overall handling. Watch how some are consistently avoiding curbs.
            Yes, Ferrari seems to have a better handle on the overall problem, they are still having to compromise with ride-height, stiffness, damper settings and body-work aero (downforce), just like all the other teams, but they have a better overall approach for balance and handling.
            If, and I am not convinced there will be a when, some team has a solution to completely solve the porpoising, they will get a significant gain in lap time. Till then, everything is about compromise.

    3. Look at Ferrari, they bounced their way to win the Australian GP by 20+s!!

      And after 2 safety cars. They might have won by 1 minute without that.

    4. Russell was asked the same question about why all the MB powered cars were so slow, and he pointed out how the car is smashing into the ground when it porpoises, causing it to lose speed. So the issue isnt that the engines are under powered, but they cant get up to top speed because of porpoising or having to raise the ride height to avoid it. But it also answers your question.

      On a site note, has anyone thought about how dangerous Eau Rouge or Blanchimont might be now? Would porpoising be an issue in the Maggots Beckets complex?

    5. @sumedhvidwans not really, since the lift to drag ratio of the floor of the car would be significantly more favourable than that of the wing. You might temporarily reduce induced drag, but it is unlikely to be that beneficial – if anything, porpoising might make the problem worse as the disturbance of the airflow might instead result in increased turbulence of the airflow around and beneath the car, causing an increase in drag.

      You’re also only looking at what happens in a straight line – whilst it might be more obvious there because of the higher speeds, porpoising can and does also occur when the car is yawing (i.e. cornering) at high speed, which is detrimental to performance due to the loss in cornering potential.

      There is also another issue, which is the potential for damage to components due to being put through those load cycles. Red Bull have linked Max’s recent retirement in Australia to damage caused by porpoising – the implication is that the continued load cycling of those components damaged some of the connections within the fuel system, causing a fuel leak that forced him out of the race.

  3. Just a question about the cost cap. Is money allowed to be carried over from 1 year to the next, IE if a team has $3m left over at 31st December can this be carried over into the new budget cap for the following year? Or is it a straight “No you haven’t spent it therefore you cant use it.”?

    1. @Ed Good question & something I haven’t thought about at all nor even seen/heard mentioned anywhere.

    2. The Cost cap is defined as how much you can spend in a calender year, so it’s spend it or lose it

      1. Andy (@andyfromsandy)
        19th April 2022, 16:52

        so it’s spend it or lose it

        A bean counters wet dream but then if you don’t spend it we will also reduce next year by that amount as well!

  4. This whole ‘our car would be good if only it didn’t have a fatal flaw’ is really tiring nonsense.

    Who are you trying to impress with that?

    Your car is crap. You need to fix it. And you have no idea how good or bad that changed car is going to be.

  5. I know nothing about designing or engineering anything, let alone F1 cars. So can someone please explain why this is so hard to stop? I read that what is happening is downforce is lowering the car until the underfloor stalls and it lifts up.
    Why can’t you just put in some sort of stop that doesn’t allow the car to go so low it stalls?

    1. Ride height “stops” are called skid blocks and that is what all the sparks come from.
      Side problem for running too long and hard on the blocks, loss of downforce on the tyres.
      If you limited the suspension travel to prevent banging on the track, you eliminate suspension compliance and both handling and structural integrity go out the window. Would shake the drivers and the rest of the car to pieces too.
      Possible solutions, either an active suspension system, not allowed, or some form of controlled aero inlet restrictor for the floor inlet, also not allowed.

    2. Rb is doing that.

  6. Davethechicken
    19th April 2022, 21:53

    Porpoising looks like a brain injury in the making to me. With even heading footballs potentially causative of future brain problems, could the drivers head (and by extension brain) bouncing around like that, with added weight of a helmet to boot, be putting them at serious risk in their middle years?

  7. Does Porpoising largely depend only on the floor, or on the front wing and other bits of aerodynamics too? Because some cars like McLaren seem to have solved the porpoising issues ever since the crash of Haas cars allowed photographers to capture detailed images of the Haas floor layout when it was dangling from the crane. Hope AM takes some inspiration from somewhere pretty soon. Poor Vettel still giving positive statements about past glory of tracks.

Comments are closed.