Formula 1 | How Aston Martin F1 solved its development problems
The arrival of Formula 1 cars meeting the 2022 regulations, focusing mainly on ground effect, has caused the return of the phenomenon of porpoising.
Eric Blandin, associate technical director of Aston Martin F1, reveals that this problem will still be present in 2023 despite regulatory changes.
« It won’t go away completely. It’s something that’s inherent in this set of regulations » assures Blandin. “You have large tunnels that funnel air under a car that drives very low to the ground and effectively has a skirt created by the edge of the floor that seals in the air.
« That combination is what makes the car susceptible to porpoising. Every F1 car experiences some degree of sway, but with current regulations, due to aerodynamic loading and variation in that aerodynamic loading, this oscillation is more pronounced. »
Correlation issues are gone
Although the infrastructure has not changed at Aston Martin, whose new factory is under construction, Blandin wants to be reassuring that the correlation problems encountered last year will not recur.
« You use the same tools, wind tunnel, CFD, software, but it all depends on how you extract the data and how you use it. The simulation of the problem is complicated. There are not many tools that can do it. Computationally, you can’t predict that with normal software. »
« It’s not just about putting the car through the wind tunnel to see if it’s going to porpoise, it doesn’t work like that because it’s a dynamic problem. The aerodynamic loads are constantly changing. »
“Throughout the 2022 season, we have advanced our understanding of this new generation of F1 car in several areas, which has allowed us to identify the cause of the rebounds.
How the AMR22 reassured the team
Blandin explains that the problem will not reoccur because Aston Martin used its mediocre AMR22 as a laboratory, in order to ensure that the correlation was good again.
« AMR22 has become a laboratory. We tested so much on the track to deepen our understanding and this growth in understanding was underlined by our improved performance towards the end of last season. »
« We were able to push the boundaries of performance with the way we were running the car. It wouldn’t have been possible with the initial concept we had at the start of the season. »
« We’ve focused on making changes to this year’s car to avoid porpoising, but we can’t guarantee they’ll work until we’ve tested the car on the track. If we suffer from this phenomenon, we have several tools in our arsenal to combat it. »
Aston Martin F1 also predicted a possible failure
But Aston Martin has also planned countermeasures in the event that the AMR23 is not at the level expected at the start of the season.
« If we make a mistake and the car doesn’t perform the way we want it to, we have to be honest and work together to find solutions. First of all, we have to understand why the car is not performing and where the problems are. . »
« And based on what we’ve learned, we then have to find and implement the solutions to the problems. There’s nothing we can’t overcome. As a team, we can overcome any challenges we face. we are facing. »
And to explain that you have to find the right balance in terms of risk taking: « There is always this risk. An F1 car is extremely complex, it’s a puzzle. But you have to trust the information you have, your experience and also your instinct, your intuition. »
« Naturally you always question things – you have to, no one can know everything, but you have to believe in yourself. You have to believe that you’re on the right track. »