Ah, porpoising: the unofficial buzzword of pre-season testing. The issue, which saw the new 2022 cars bouncing up and down on the track, was a big headache for teams up and down the grid – and quite literally for some drivers.
The movement, which makes the drivers look like bobbleheads in their cockpits, has been called a safety issue by some drivers and looks to be a big problem for teams as the new season quickly approaches.
However, one team claims they’ve not only fixed the problem but can turn it on and off again when they fancy it. Uhhh, what now?
Alpine, home to the dynamic duo of Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon, have had a breakthrough and are now boasting they can control the problem, which stems from ground effect being reintroduced to the new cars.
The team’s Sporting Director, Alan Permane, is quoted by The Race as calling the final few days of their pre-season test “absolutely brilliant” and saying that the car was running “pretty much flawlessly”. Talk about confidence!
Maybe El Plan is working after all
“The porpoising and bouncing we talk about, we can switch that on and off,” he added.
“We know what makes that happen, what stops it.”
Going into further detail, Permane explained it’s “not just one thing”.
“We played with all sorts of things on suspension stiffnesses and springs and rollbars and cambers and toes, and ran through sweeps of different things.
“We are significantly better prepared after these last two days than we were when we left Barcelona.
“We found two or three things that helped it, and by actually making it worse, we figured out that if we do the opposite, that’s gonna be better.”
“We did it [on the final day of the test], two or three times, we’ve turned it on and turned it off again.”
Sounds mega impressive and could be a huge advantage to Alpine, with Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto saying that teams who sort out the porpoising issue sooner will have an advantage at the start of the season.