FIA 'overreacted' after Mercedes porpoising complaints - Symonds

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Formula 1 technical chief Pat Symonds claims the FIA "overreacted" to Mercedes' complaints over porpoising during 2022.

The Brackley-based outfit was one of the worst affected by the bouncing phenomenon that was a result of the return of ground-effect cars for the first time in 40 years last year.

And by the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, calls were growing from many drivers and particularly Mercedes for action to combat the bouncing on health and safety grounds.


That led the FIA to introduce a new vertical oscillation metric from the Belgian GP, while changes to the floors were announced for 2023.

But with the issue of porpoising largely eliminated by the end of last season, Symonds believes the governing body responded too quickly to Mercedes' complaints. 

“I think they overreacted a bit after Baku,” he told Auto Motor und Sport.

“In Baku, we saw the worst effects because a team tried something that didn’t work and then went public quite vociferously.

"If people hadn’t intervened, the problems would have been solved as well. Most teams now understand how to control bouncing.”

When the 2022 cars first rolled out in pre-season, porpoising became a word in everyone's vocabulary as they were seen bouncing on the straights.

Newey Haas

A notable exception though was Red Bull, and their technical genius Adrian Newey admitted he was "surprised" by the teams who had not anticipated it.

“At most I was surprised by the extent [of the porpoising]," he also told the German publication. "Actually, everyone should have known. It’s a phenomenon that’s in the genes of these cars.

“The problem with ground effect cars is that it encourages you to drive at the limit of aerodynamic stability. If you exceed that limit, you get bouncing.

“The right one, finding a compromise between downforce and bouncing, is not easy. There were ways to predict it and we got a handle on it relatively quickly.

"By the time the Bahrain test was over, we had contained it to the point where it wasn’t bothersome.”