Newey got early handle on ’porpoising’ problem
"I guessed what was in store for us"
The foundation to Red Bull’s near-unprecedented success in 2022 was getting an early handle on the ’porpoising’ phenomenon.
While reigning champions and Ferrari struggled with the violent aerodynamic ’bouncing’ caused by the new ground-effect floors, Red Bull’s technical boss Adrian Newey had key experience of the phenomenon.
"I studied ground effect aerodynamics and my last project during my studies was its application in sports cars," he is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.
"I was looking for an internship and wrote to the teams that raced in 1980. Most of them didn’t respond, but Harvey Postlethwaite, who was working at Fittipaldi at the time, offered me a job as an apprentice in his aerodynamics department.
"As it turned out, I was the head of the department that day. It was just me."
So when Newey started work on the 2022 rules all those decades later, he admits that he already had a "basic understanding" of the porpoising problem.
"I guessed what was in store for us," he said. "At the most, I was surprised by the extent. But actually, everyone should have known.
"It’s a phenomenon that’s in the genes of these cars."
Newey thinks other teams ran into major problems with the problem because it could not be simulated in the wind tunnel.
"But there were ways to predict it and we got a handle on it relatively quickly," he said. "With our upgrade on the last day of the Bahrain test, we had contained it to the point where it wasn’t a big deal."