henry wrote: ↑
Wed Jun 15, 2022 8:37 am
I think there are too many conclusions being drawn about the situation as it is now. We are at the beginning of this set of regulations.
Right now one team ( Red Bull) is able to have race winning performance with small amounts of bouncing and another similar performance with fairly significant bouncing (Ferrari). The assumption of many arguments is that low bounce is always going to be faster. But what if it’s not? If a team comes along with a higher performance package and Red Bull find that they need to suffer bouncing to compete they will obviously go down that route.
In that scenario,for the safety of the drivers, the regulations will need to change, much as many sports have, and will in future, to manage concussion.
I can envisage 3 changes, which may singly or in concert improve things.
1. Limit the damage to the driver. It should be relatively simple to measure the forces but what should the criteria be? Peak G, sustained average G, weighted average over some period? when should it apply and crucially what should the penalty be? Since it’s a safety issue perhaps black flag. Imagine the melt down if a driver were retired near the end of the race because the combination of lower fuel and wind shift pushed the bounceometer over the threshold.
2. Allow more sophisticated suspension components. I have never seen an explanation of why they banned the acceleration based facilities, inerters and inertial damping valves. The cynic in me thinks they wanted to make it harder to control heave and bouncing. They might return the use of these or even allow active. It will probably increase car mass which some fans will resent hugely.
3. Change aerodynamics. They might allow wind tunnel testing in the bouncing velocity range, they might allow more straight line track tests. They might increase ground clearance, thicker plank, although I believe Mercedes have suggested this is not as effective as is wished. And anyway the teams would revise the underfloor shapes and sealing in pursuit of downforce and probably get back to bouncing.
My opinion is that the regulations precipitated this issue and the regulations will need to change to fix it.
Defining a goal regarding a safe level of porpoising is indeed the hardest, but also fairest. In my view, safety regulations (similar to law) should be written with an end in mind (a goal), not by prescribing a means. For two reasons; goals should have the same effect on everyone (everyone adheres to the same goal), means will not - they affect different teams differently. In terms of how much they have to change, but also in terms of effectiveness. Some means may work well for some teams but not for others (or, there may be more effective means available than the prescribed one). So for me, the only really fair way to go mid-season is to define a goal regarding a safe level of porpoising, and let the teams figure out the means to achieve that for their particular concepts. Options related to suspension and aero should be considered for next season, but not as an in-season change. Increasing the minimum ride height is the worst because it affects teams to different degrees, has different impact on different concepts, and is anyway something teams can voluntarily do if their degree of porpoising is currently problematic (but should not be forced upon the ones that do have it under control).
An added benefit of prescribing an ends rather than a means is that it removes the issue of 'what if bouncing leads to a faster car'? If you prescribe a means to reduce bouncing but slows the cars, teams will look at ways of making the car faster again - which may (hypothetically) bring back an undesirable level of bouncing and we're back at square one. Setting a goal on a maximum amount of bouncing simply means that teams cannot engineer it back in, even if it was faster to do so - they have to optimize within this regulation.
When it comes to 'what should the rule be', obviously it should not be a threshold that is activated by a single event like a wind gust. Perhaps it should be something considering peak or some percentile wrt a threshold over a push lap measured during qualifying - teams have all of FP to work toward the threshold, and in my view a breach of the limit in qualifying could then be addressed with a 3/5 position penalty (to account for the benefit they might have had during qualifying) + the opportunity to make a setup modification before the race with the intent to fix the issue. Something like that. Perhaps there's better options.