Since the 2022 pre-season testing Mercedes has been struggling with their car’s performance, especially with the porpoising phenomenon.
In an effort to try and get to the bottom of this issue, the team is using every tool in their arsenal, including an optical rideheight sensor, which was installed beneath Lewis Hamilton’s car during the Australian Grand Prix.
Autosport.com explains how and why Mercedes is using this device.
“The porpoising appears to be less frequent in the races, and in a bid to try to comprehend why that is, Mercedes elected to keep on an optical rideheight sensor for the duration of the Australia weekend on Hamilton’s car,” wrote Matt Somerfield.
“The sensor, which emits a light when switched on, measures the ride height and the car’s trajectory in relation to the track, so can be used to deliver answers on what exactly is happening on straights and in corners.
“These devices are quite commonly used in F1, but normally are only fitted in free practice sessions because they do add extra weight to the car, believed to be somewhere between 1kg and 2kg.”
Ahead of Sunday’s race, Hamilton revealed his car would be equipped with the device.
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“I’ve got something on my car that makes it a little bit heavier, but it’s not a huge, huge step,” Lewis told Sky Sports F1.
“Hopefully it will enable the team to gain more information in the race,” the Briton concluded.
Somerfield reveals Mercedes conducted more tests over the weekend.
“The light sensor was not the only data gathering exercise Mercedes conducted, as during some of its free practice runs, it added further optical rideheight sensor housed within pods on the edge of the floor.
“The quest to get answers on its porpoising means that Mercedes has put a push for upgrades on the backburner: as it does not want to confuse matters by changing its car configuration just yet.
“That is why the team has not yet introduced a bespoke low downforce rear wing – as it still continues to use a modified version of the high downforce wing it started the season with.
“With the porpoising issues still its priority, it has focused more efforts on race pace – knowing that Ferrari and Red Bull are out of reach on Saturdays for now,” Somerfield concluded.