Mercedes explains difference between ‘porpoising’ and ‘bouncing’

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

After the Spanish Grand Prix Mercedes confirmed that they have got on top of their porpoising issues, however, their cars are still bouncing. The team explains why.

In Mercedes’ Azerbaijan Grand Prix debrief video, the team’s Motorsport Strategy Director James Vowles has explained why the W13 was still bouncing heavily in Baku, despite them getting on top of their porpoising issues in Barcelona.

“There is definitely a track by track element and it’s a function of how smooth the tarmac is and the layout of the circuit,” Vowles said.

“I would say Baku certainly of the circuits we’ve had so far is on the worse end of it and conversely Barcelona probably on the better end of it. So, those two circuits definitely will highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the package.

“But it’s also worth putting a little bit of time into explaining porpoising, bouncing, bottoming – three words possibly being spoken a lot with a little bit of association of being the same thing but they are not quite.

“We definitely suffered porpoising in the earlier races and in Barcelona we didn’t. And we’ve made a tremendous amount of effort on our package to make sure that we tried our best to resolve it, and I am confident we’ve made a step.

“In Barcelona the car was stable, robust and we could lower it and that’s the key, we managed to create a package were aerodynamically we were able to work with it a lot more, we could work with set-up and we could drop the cars in terms of ride height producing performance.


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“Come now to Monaco and to Baku, what that unfortunately uncovered is a second issue that was being masked by the first.

“I’m confident we’ve made a step forward in terms of porpoising, but we very clearly have bouncing, and to the outside it looks almost identical, but there is a subtle difference between the two.

“What is happening now is that the car is lower, as a result of fixing the first issue, but now hitting the deck quite hard, and that’s creating the bouncing that you see at the moment.

“Again, you try and extract performance by running the car low but the problem is very different and the bumpier the track the more the input is clearly having an effect, which is what we saw in Baku.

“I think what’s clear is that we still have a long journey in front of us to learn everything we need to, to be fighting at the front but perhaps more importantly you will see performance variation track on track as we go forward.

“Canada for sure will be very different to Silverstone in terms of how our car performs,” the Briton concluded.

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