RACING

How F1 2023 floor changes will help limit porpoising issues

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While all teams experienced this to a greater or lesser extent, driver complaints about the safety implications of some of the worst rebounds ultimately sparked FIA action.

In a move that has proven controversial with teams, the FIA ​​is introducing an Aerodynamic Oscillation Metric (AOM) from the Belgian Grand Prix that will limit the amount of vertical movement cars can have on the track.

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But this is only a temporary measure; For 2023, changes are planned to the technical regulations which the motor racing governing body says will reduce the chances of porpoising being an obstacle in the future.

The planned changes were discussed at a meeting of F1’s technical advisory committee last week and must now be submitted to the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council for approval.

Proposals presented at the TAC meeting aim to limit the design scope of the cars by lifting some of them off the ground.

This includes raising the diffuser throat, by an amount yet to be determined, while the floor edges will also be raised by 25mm. Additionally, to ensure crews do not overtly flex the edges of the floor to overcome these new dimensional restrictions, more stringent lateral floor deflection tests will be introduced.

The FIA ​​also plans to monitor things more closely, with the introduction of a more precise sensor that will help quantify the car’s aerodynamic oscillation.

To further limit the aerodynamic problems created by the new regulations, the teams also suggested the use of a pair of strakes in the diffuser.

2023 diffuser strake side view

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

A simple and highly prescribed solution should help manage the flow in this region and help combat the adverse effects posed by bouncing and porpoising, which is sure to be welcomed by drivers.

In many ways the changes that have been offered are similar to those for 2021, when the Sport opted to trim the floor, brake fins and diffuser strakes to help reduce the aerodynamic potential of the rear of the car. car.

Such a decision was made to save the teams from themselves, as they would probably have designed cars that put too much pressure on the tires, which would have caused even bigger problems. Similar to those 2021 adjustments, these latest changes will reduce the peak loads that are transmitted to the chassis and, with that, help reduce the potential for porpoising and bouncing.

That said, teams will still be looking for ways to get the car to run as low and as stiff as possible without falling foul of the new aero wobble metric, as there will still be performance to be found even if it compromises quality. driving the car.

Ferrari 2023 diffuser strake

Ferrari 2023 diffuser strake

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

The proposed rule change is also similar, from a chronological point of view, to the changes made for 2021 and will no doubt put immense pressure on teams to balance development, with work already well advanced on the cars of the next year. This is why the FIA ​​has made it clear that the proposed changes must be ratified by the World Motor Sport Council as soon as possible.

Making changes to these extremely sensitive areas of the car will not only negate some of the work teams already done on next year’s car, but it will also make some of this season’s back end development redundant, to as performance wins teams. find might not be relevant given the changes made.

Also, given that most of the grid was caught up in the porpoising phenomenon at the start of the season – with their simulation tools not indicating this would be a problem – it’s entirely plausible that we may see some teams trying to get the upper hand on their rivals and bring test pieces towards the end of the season.

These could help them understand the implications of the new regulations, just as they did at the end of the 2020 season.

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