The FIA ​​risks penalizing some teams by changing the regulation

F1 – Much has been said about the phenomenon of aerodynamic pumping and its causes. According to the team representatives it was something unexpected; an element that has displaced the designers who had to run for cover. In fact, we do not feel like denying that a certain inability to predict it has manifested itself, but there are also elements to believe that someone had taken into account its emergence.

Three cases come to mind: Ferrari And Alfa Romeo on the one hand and Mercedes of the other. The first two teams have so brilliantly and quickly dismissed the technical practice that it is hard to think that their respective design departments had not contemplated the undesirable effect typical of wing car channel-based Venturi. The world champion team, on the other hand, really seems not to have prophesied the porpoising so much so that he is still banging his nose at us without being able to effectively overcome theimpasse.

The tie rod mounted by Mercede to avoid excessive bending of the W13 floor

It is now clear that the main defendants are the bottoms which, at high speed, flex at the ends, almost completely sealing the air flow that passes under the body, producing a sudden and sudden increase in the aerodynamic load that generates that cyclic undulatory effect. which disturbs the normal dynamic behavior of the car.

There FIA, since the winter tests, has lent a hand to teams in difficulty by allowing the assembly of tie rods that have the function of limiting the jolting movement. Shortly before the free practice of Bahrain GP the technical regulation has been changed and these small metal rods have entered the regularity stream.

This state of affairs, more or less directly, penalized those who, when defining the floor, had foreseen the occurrence of the effect porpoising and he had prepared a more robust detail. And consequently heavy. A condition that in F1 it is never desirable. Hence the complaints ofAlpine which he pointed out, through his technical director Pat Frythat the proceeding of International Federation in fact, he disadvantaged the transalpine team who had taken into account that their car would have been heavier than those with the “flying floor”. Let us be allowed the image to convey the idea.

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The Alpine A522 in action in the Bahrain tests

Things change quickly in F1. And they do it especially when we are at the dawn of a technical era that completely breaks with the past. There FIA he did not intend to help someone and penalize someone else, mind you. The admission of the tie rods must be read in an announced process of adaptation and technical stabilization; a necessary adjustment when we are faced with such an important regulatory upheaval.

The former, among others, of McLaren And Ferraripointed out as in Alpine have worked to extract maximum performance from the machine by complying with the rules on flat bottoms. To do this, at the factory, they accepted that the A522 she would have been slightly overweight. The more “full-bodied” bottom was also created because the upper part of the car allowed the anchoring of such an element. Clearly, the disadvantages in terms of kilograms must be subtracted from the benefits given by the total absence of aerodynamic pumping.

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Alpine A522, Saudi Arabia GP 2022

But now the scenario has changed and the presence of the tie rods can allow the French staff to think about changes aimed at reducing the weight of the lower part of the car. The next scheduled updates on the machines of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso they could do just that. Obviously it will be necessary to find the right balance between streamlining and maintaining the necessary rigidity to prevent the edges from flexing excessively, generating the aforementioned pumping.

This is the reason why in Alpine they are moving with lead feet and do not foresee the introduction of a new floor very soon. In era of budget cap you want to avoid making the mistake where the la fell Mercedes which, in a desperate attempt to undo the annoying movement in no time, brought a new fund into Bahrain which was immediately returned to the closet because it was ineffective.

As it will happen for other teams (Red Bull And Mercedes above all) Imola it is the key date to bring about developments. The first European GP has always been the moment of truth and the transalpine team does not want to break free from this unwritten rule. The subject of review will not necessarily be the fund. Fry and his team may decide not to touch it to free developments in other nerve centers. The imperative is to find greater downforce.

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the car of Charles Leclerc (Scuderia Ferrari)

How? In the most traditional way there is: observing the work of others. Between tests and the first two seasonal appointments there was the possibility of spying on each other even in the most infinitesimal details. Some of these will certainly be borrowed. Also because it is now evident that, in the medium term, engineers will tend to shift their design philosophies to those that are giving the best chronometric feedback.

So Alpine, like other realities, will move on a double track: on the one hand the definition of new parts, on the other hand try to make the car lose weight without making it fragile. The 18-inch wheels have a lower shock absorbing capacity and this involves a greater work of the suspension systems with a correlated increased stress on the frames which have undergone an increase in weight also for safety reasons. That’s why the French will think about it for a very long time before making the bottom thin. An element very exposed to contact wear.


F1-Author: Diego Catalano @ diegocat1977

Photo: F1, Alpine, Mercedes AMG F1

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