Adrian Newey used the knowledge from his days at Fittipaldi Automotive to conquer Red Bull’s F1 Porpoising issues. The amazing thing is that he did it with their very first upgrade for the 2022 RB18 Red Bull car.

In 2022, the new regulations brought a tectonic shift in its regulations, embracing ground effect aerodynamics once more. It was a seismic shift masterfully navigated by Red Bull under the visionary guidance of Newey.

Adrian Newey Found an Early Solution to F1 Porpoising

The result was that the RB18 set an extraordinary benchmark with 17 grand prix wins out of 22. Red Bull’s supremacy has reached even greater heights in the 2023 F1 season with the arrival of the RB19.

Red Bull has won an astonishing 15 out of 16 victories this season so far.

In the beginning of 2022, most of the teams struggled with an enigmatic phenomenon known as “porpoising.” This issue proved particularly frustrating for Mercedes and their W13 during the initial half of the 2022 campaign.

It caused them to lose the momentum they had gained from the previous 8 years. From being the kings, they were relegated to the middle order of the pack.

However, for Newey and the Red Bull team, a single upgrade, unveiled at the opening race in Bahrain, proved to be the silver bullet against porpoising. Recommends

How Did Adrian Newey Achieve Prevent F1 Porpoising?

Beyond the Grid podcast” interviewed Newey. Adrian confidently affirmed that they knew the RB18 was “off to a flying start” after just ten testing laps.

“Yes, indeed. We did have some bouncing issues, not as severe as some other teams, but we were aware that it needed addressing. We had a pretty good grasp of what needed to be done. So, with our first upgrade for the Bahrain race, porpoising was swiftly relegated to the past. Unlike Ferrari and Mercedes, we didn’t have to allocate a significant portion of our development efforts to tackle bouncing.”

Adrian Newey

No-one on the grid was more prepared and available to overcome the issues presented by porpoising.

  • Ground effect aerodynamics had formed the cornerstone of Newey’s university thesis.
  • It had been present in the motorsport series when he took his initial steps in the field.
  • He learned an invaluable lesson from his early days with Fittipaldi Automotive. It profoundly influenced his approach to eradicating porpoising as a lingering concern for Red Bull.

“Surprisingly, yes, to some extent. I distinctly remember my time at Fittipaldi, and Harvey Postlethwaite, who served as the technical director. Because the cars were running with such rigidity, he had the audacious idea of shedding some weight by replacing the front dampers and springs with bump rubbers—a concept he had previously experimented with during his Hesketh days. I vividly recall Keke Rosberg zooming past on the old pit straight at Silverstone, his front wheels suspended in mid-air due to severe bouncing. It was a stark lesson, a reminder that this isn’t merely about aerodynamics; it’s the intricate interplay between aerodynamics and suspension.”

Adrian Newey

The Result was Victory for Red Bull

Max Verstappen cemented Red Bull’s stranglehold on the Constructors’ Championship for the 2023 F1 in Suzuka.

With his third World Championship tantalizingly within reach, Verstappen aims to solidify his status as a racing legend.

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By Jonny Noble

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Jonny Noble I’m a dedicated F1 Writer – and I’ve Been One for Over Four Decades, I’ve been intimately immersed in the world of Formula One for more than 44 years. That’s longer than most professional commentators can boast! As an independent writer, I offer a unique perspective on the entire F1 landscape, free from biases that might cloud the discussion. We dive deep into the exhilarating, frustrating, and captivating facets of the F1 universe. So, regardless of my amateur status, one thing is undeniable: four decades of dedicated F1 fandom have forged strong opinions worth exploring!

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