The porpoising problem that all Formula 1 teams are grappling with is not going to go away and to be honest it has been created by the change in the technical regulations.
So is it time for the FIA to take the bull by the horns and revisit those regulations before all the teams have built lots of spares?
Day one of Bahrain testing showed that all teams are still having problems with their cars ‘bouncing’ due to repeated aerodynamic loading and unloading as the underfloor airflow stalls.
The area that the teams will be working on to solve this problem will be the floor itself, modifying parts to try to reduce the phenomenon. Increasing ride heights would work too, but that would generate less downforce.
No individual team will want to trade off downforce for driver comfort, so I don’t see this issue going away any time soon.
If I was the FIA I would propose that the rear outer part of the floor – let’s say from one metre forward of the centre of the rear wheel – should be raised by something like 10 millimetres, or more.
The actual underfloor throat is 50 millimetres up from the reference plane, which is below the driver’s bum. On previous cars this raised section had to continue outwards to the extreme of the floor. This year it can step back down to level with the reference plane.
Simply raising this section would reduce the downforce just a little bit for everyone.
But more importantly it would stop the floor from mechanically sealing when the side of the floor makes contact with the track surface. It would also mean there would be a lot less damage created if a driver runs over a kerb.
I know this should be down to the teams to rectify with developments or set-ups but in the interests of everyone working together the rule change I’ve suggested would be the quickest and simplest solution – and it should be very easy and cheap for the teams to modify their floor tooling to achieve it.