George Russell, Mercedes, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2022

Russell says he has ‘forgotten what porpoising feels like’ after rules change

2022 Mexican Grand Prix

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George Russell says the ‘porpoising’ Mercedes suffered with earlier in the year has improved so much he has started to forget what it feels like.

Many teams encountered problems with porpoising early in the season as they adjusted to the new technical regulations which were introduced for 2022. Some found their cars began to bounce up and down at high speeds as the airflow stalled underneath their floors.

Teams have made improvements to their cars to cure the problem over the course of the year. The FIA also introduced rules changes via a technical directive at the Belgian Grand Prix to reduce porpoising, and further revisions are coming for the 2023 F1 season.

Mercedes suffered more than most from the porpoising to begin with. However Russell says the changes made have largely cured it.

“I think it has almost disappeared,” he said. “I think the couple of small rule changes that were implemented by the FIA definitely helped and the changes into next year by raising the floor edge, we’re almost 100% sure that will take porpoising out of the equation totally.”

The experience of porpoising is already fading from his memory. “It’s funny, there was once a time that I forgot what a race car felt like not to have porpoising and now, to be honest, I forgot what it does feel like to have porpoising.

“So I think that also goes to show the progress we as a team have made not only to cure those issues that once seemed very difficult, but also to bring a lot more performance onto the car thereafter.”

However Lewis Hamilton says he is still encountering the problem at times.

“I still feel bouncing and the car is still bouncing down the straights,” he said. “But it’s not as hardcore as it was at the beginning of the year.

“I think we’ve done an amazing job to fix it. I’m not convinced the changes for next year will change it but I’ve not driven the new updated floor for it. But we’ll see, I guess in the following races.”

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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...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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6 comments on “Russell says he has ‘forgotten what porpoising feels like’ after rules change”

  1. So if one car of a team experiences bouncing while the other doesn’t, would that point towards one car’s specific setup being the underlying issue?

    1. Height difference between the two playing a part as well? Ceteris paribus, I assume a taller driver – Russell – would have more “reach” in the car and would experience less “foot-off-pedal” disconnect when the car bounces, hence would feel it less (and, I assume, would thus be able to carry more speed into a bouncy corner)?

      1. hence would feel it less

        I think it’s that “feel” element. LH is on record commenting about liking to “feel” a car, e.g. steering so that he feels like part of the package, rather than just someone pushing buttons and rotating a steering object of a fly-by-wire.

  2. Who knew that ready made floor worked this well after the rule change they most certainly did not prompt.
    Aston were porpoising quite badly on the straights in mexico.

  3. I must say, in Free Practice and qualifying the Mercedes did seem to porpoise, but now that they are knocking on the door of victories, like Ferrari early in the season, it’s not annoying, nor a long term health concern like the micro-oscillations Wolff claimed an expert told him would be.
    Even though I do not like any of the top teams, especially Mercedes I have to say that Hamilton at least now does not speak about porpoising, Russell just continues to push Mercedes’ narrative that the rule changes were fair and not (in my personal opinion) the result of their constant nagging.

  4. this just played into mercedes hands

    the changes into next year by raising the floor edge,

    this is going to play a key part on next mercedes car and i bet they will be much much faster than anyone.

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