Adrian Newey surprised Mercedes were blindsided by porpoising

The RB18 is now officially Adrian Newey’s most successful car design.

Red Bull have had a scintillating season, recovering from their early reliability issues and not looking back as they made their way to both the drivers’ and constructors’ championships.

The main problem for teams early on in the season was porpoising, a violent sort of bouncing that is caused by the aerodynamic design of the new era of Formula 1 cars.

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell at Mercedes struggled with this in particular problem, even suggesting that the FIA should look into the physics of the new cars to see if anything could be done to help the teams, as they would often end races with severe back pain.

Red Bull’s chief technical director Adrian Newey has suggested that the team overcame the porpoising issue before the first race even took place, claiming the it was easy to predict the problem.

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“I guessed what was in store for us, at the most, I was surprised by the extent,” claimed Newey.

“Everyone should have known. It’s a phenomenon that’s in the genes of these cars.

“But there were ways to predict it and we got a handle on it relatively quickly, 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.”

Red Bull seemed to be the only team without major porposing problems, as Ferrari also lost a lot of time to the Milton Keynes based team in the development race, having to waste time solving the bouncing problem before they could upgrade elsewhere.

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Newey has revealed that the reason Red Bull dealt with this problem the best, is because he had experience with this aerodynamic phenomenon, recalling all the way back to his studies prior to the designer’s very successful career in F1.

“I studied ground effect aerodynamics and my last project during my studies was its application in sports cars,” he said when asked about his part in tackling the issue.

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“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.”

All the teams have now had a season to trial the new cars after the regulation changes and will be hoping to come flying out the blocks in 2023, without having to overcome any such obstacles that hamper their progress.