For the 2023 Formula One season, the FIA implemented changes to the car’s floor design to address the issue of porpoising, a loss of grip and stability leading to oscillations, which had been a major issue in the 2022 season. These changes included increasing the floor edge height and raising the underfloor diffuser throat, along with attaching sensors to the cars to monitor vertical oscillations and take necessary measures to prevent porpoising. Despite these efforts, there is still a degree of uncertainty surrounding the effectiveness of these solutions. The true test will come as the season progresses, and it is clear that Formula One is dedicated to improving the sport and protecting drivers with these innovative solutions.
Formula One is undoubtedly one of the most exciting and technologically advanced sports in the world. Every year, engineers and designers push the limits of what is possible to create faster, more agile cars that are capable of incredible feats of speed and manoeuvrability. However, as with any form of technology, there are always flaws and imperfections that need to be addressed. In the 2022 season, one of the biggest issues that affected many teams was porpoising.
Porpoising is a term used to describe a phenomenon that occurs when an F1 car loses aerodynamic grip and stability, causing it to oscillate. This can happen when the car is traveling at high speeds, typically above 250 km/h, and experiences a change in direction, such as when braking or turning. When this happens, the car’s front end will dip down, causing a loss of downforce, and then rebound upwards, creating too much downforce. This rapid change in downforce causes the car to oscillate back and forth, much like a porpoise jumping out of the water, hence the name “porpoising.”
Porpoising is not a new issue in Formula One, but it has become more prevalent in recent years due to the design of the cars. The 2022 F1 car featured low front wings and complex floor designs, which made it more susceptible to porpoising. The problem with porpoising is that it can be extremely dangerous for the driver, as it makes the car difficult to control and increases the risk of a crash. It can also lead to a loss of performance, as the car is unable to maintain its speed and stability. Porpoising is typically caused by a combination of factors, including changes in air pressure, airflow, and the design of the car’s aerodynamics.
Teams have been working to address porpoising by making changes to their cars’ aerodynamics, such as adjusting the angle of the front wing or the height of the nose. They have also been experimenting with new materials and designs to improve the car’s stability and reduce the impact of porpoising.
Porpoising is just one of the many challenges that engineers and designers face in Formula One. As the sport continues to evolve, so too will the technology and techniques used to overcome these challenges, ensuring that F1 remains one of the most exciting and innovative sports in the world.
To overcome porpoising, changes were introduced by F1 for the 2023 season which aimed at reducing porpoising and improving the stability and performance of the cars on the track. The increase in floor edge height was a significant change as it raised the Centre of gravity of the car, making it less likely to experience porpoising. By raising the floor edge height, the airflow beneath the car was restricted, which in turn increased the downforce on the car’s underside. The increased downforce improved the car’s stability and grip, reducing the likelihood of porpoising.
Another significant change made to the cars was the raising of the underfloor diffuser throat. The underfloor diffuser is a vital component of an F1 car’s aerodynamics, as it helps to create downforce by accelerating the airflow beneath the car. By raising the diffuser throat, the amount of air that could flow under the car was reduced, further stabilising its aerodynamics and improving its overall performance.
To complement these changes, the FIA also attached sensors to the cars to measure the vertical oscillations caused by porpoising. The sensors helped to provide data-driven analysis of the problem, enabling engineers to take corrective measures and fine-tune the car’s design to reduce the impact of porpoising. This was a significant step forward for the sport, as it improved the safety of the cars and drivers on the track.
In conclusion, the changes introduced by F1 for the 2023 season were aimed at reducing porpoising and improving the stability and performance of the cars. By raising the floor edge height and the underfloor diffuser throat, and attaching sensors to the cars, F1 was able to reduce the impact of porpoising and improve the safety of the cars and drivers on the track. These changes demonstrate the sport’s commitment to innovation and technology, and its willingness to adapt and evolve to meet new challenges.
Despite the changes introduced by F1 for the 2023 season, some teams, such as Aston Martin, remained concerned that porpoising could still be an issue. While the increased floor edge height and the raised underfloor diffuser throat were significant changes, there was still a degree of uncertainty over whether they would be sufficient to prevent porpoising from reappearing.
The FIA Tech Chief acknowledged these concerns, stating that it was still too early to tell whether the changes would be enough to address the problem. The true test would come during the 2023 season, when the cars would be put to the test on the track, and their performance and safety would be closely monitored.
After the test session last week at Bahrain, we were able to see that the Mercedes have handled porpoising issue well and got rid of it. Even though Aston Martin remained concerned, they exhibited a good performance and many including Toto Wolff (Mercedes Team Principal) believe that they have a great car that can even fight for Championship. It is important to note that Formula One is a highly competitive sport, and teams are constantly pushing the limits of what is possible in terms of car design and engineering. As such, it is possible that new issues could arise during the 2023 season that may require further changes to be made to the cars’ design.
However, the FIA remains committed to ensuring the safety of the cars and drivers on the track, and will continue to work closely with the teams to address any issues that may arise. The use of sensors to monitor vertical oscillations caused by porpoising is an example of how the FIA is using technology to improve safety and performance in the sport.
Looking beyond the issue of porpoising, there are many other challenges and opportunities facing F1 in the years ahead. With advances in technology and materials, the potential for even greater speed and performance on the track is vast. However, with this potential comes the need for ongoing safety improvements, as well as greater focus on sustainability and environmental impact.
F1’s commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2030 is a significant step towards making the sport more sustainable and reducing its impact on the environment. In order to achieve this goal, F1 has implemented a wide range of initiatives and strategies aimed at reducing carbon emissions across the entire sport, from the cars on the track to the logistics and operations involved in running a race.
One of the key initiatives that F1 has introduced is the use of biofuels. Biofuels are a type of fuel made from renewable sources such as plant matter or waste materials, which produce fewer emissions than traditional fossil fuels. By using biofuels in the cars on the track, F1 can significantly reduce its carbon footprint and help to promote more sustainable practices in the sport.
F1 has also introduced a range of other sustainability initiatives, including the use of hybrid power units, which combine a traditional internal combustion engine with an electric motor to improve efficiency and reduce emissions. The sport has also introduced a range of measures aimed at reducing waste and promoting recycling, such as the use of reusable cups and the introduction of recycling bins
In addition to these initiatives, F1 is also working to reduce the carbon footprint of its logistics and operations. This includes measures such as using more energy-efficient transport and reducing the amount of waste generated at races.
Overall, F1’s commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2030 and its introduction of sustainability initiatives such as biofuels demonstrate the sport’s willingness to take responsibility for its environmental impact and work towards a more sustainable future. By continuing to innovate and implement new strategies and initiatives, F1 can help to lead the way towards a more sustainable and environmentally responsible future for sports and society as a whole.
Overall, while there may still be some uncertainty over the effectiveness of the changes made for the 2023 season, it is clear that F1 is committed to innovation and improvement, and will continue to evolve and adapt to meet new challenges as they arise.
Mechanical Engineering Student