Former Formula 1 driver Anthony Davidson notes that the drivers are struggling with the issue of cars bouncing off the circuit, and suggests that the teams have so far failed to address this “really big issue.”
Having been the key theme of the first pre-season test in Barcelona, the teams arrived into Bahrain in the hope of eradicating the so-called “porpoising” issues experienced previously due to the completely different chassis as a result of the changes to the technical regulations.
However, it seems they are not going anywhere, and Pierre Gasly in particular appeared uncomfortable down the straights as his head bounced around the cockpit due to the floor persistently hitting the track.
The silver lining appeared in the fact that he went fastest on day one in Bahrain, setting an impressive 103 laps over the course of a scorching day.
Davidson had been standing trackside observing the day’s running, and the bouncing being seen on track is something that concerns him.
“It’s a really big issue,” he told Sky Sports.
“The cars that we watched were really giving the drivers a hard time; they’re having to wrestle the cars around the track this year.”
Also prevalent were frequent lock-ups. Due to the abandonment of the rake design, the cars are running extremely low to the ground, hence the bouncing on track.
In an attempt to mitigate this, teams may attempt to raise the ride height which will adversely affect performance, and under a similar principle the Briton explains that when the car is sent upwards, lock-ups are much more likely.
“The bouncing does generally cause the lock-ups as well, so it’s not just the stiffer ride of the cars, it’s the way the car then starts to bounce around, and when the car goes up you lose that grip from the tyre onto the surface of the track, and it’s easier to lock up,” he added.
“There’s something about these cars that I don’t think the teams have fully understood, or figured out quite yet in unlocking the potential of the braking and all the drivers are definitely struggling with a bit of locking into some of the corners.”
The teams are taking to the track again on Friday, with George Russell stepping into the Mercedes while Max Verstappen gets behind the wheel of the Red Bull.