Mercedes Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin says the team is doing their best to solve porpoising, but they still don’t know how fast the car will be without this issue.
There’s no doubt that the biggest issue Mercedes is facing right now is porpoising. Andrew Shovlin was asked by Motorsport.com if the team’s main goal right now is to solve this problem without sacrificing their performance.
“That’s probably priority number one,” Shovlin said.
“Because that’s ultimately preventing us from running the car where we’d like to run it for optimum performance.
“What we don’t know is, if we could just magically make that issue vanish, where would we actually be in terms of car pace: is the car fast enough or not? And it’s very difficult to answer that question.
“Fundamentally, we need to understand the problem better. We’ve got some avenues that I think are giving us a good direction, but it’s taking a bit of time to get those parts on the car.
“And we’re working very hard. We’re well aware that there are other teams that have got on top of this problem faster than we have. And that’s not the standard we normally work to.
“Every bit of effort at the factory is going into getting on top of this, making sure we don’t neglect normal car development.
“But there’s a lot of work trying to pull us out of this situation at the moment.”
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Some teams have solved porpoising by cutting away sections of their car’s floor, but Mercedes is for now not planning to alter their original design.
“If you can solve the problem with the porpoising you don’t need to give up the downforce. The issue is that most teams, I think, to a greater or lesser extent, are trading one for the other.
“We did try a cutaway floor in Bahrain test. We tried it on Friday in Bahrain. We think what we ended up with was overall a better solution.
“But at the moment we’re considering what we’ve done as very much sticking plasters for the problem, and we need to fix the problem in a more effective way that doesn’t just drop performance.”
Ultimately, Shovlin says each day Mercedes is a step closer to finding the solution.
“We’ve got some avenues that are starting to show interesting results and that we’ve explored on track and made a step in the right direction, but clearly not a big enough step.
“I think for us right now, the most dangerous thing is to think we understand this. With every day we run, we’re learning, and every day in the factory we’re learning.
“I think it’s a problem that we should get to grips with in the relatively near future hopefully. We’re not floundering around in the dark, but we do need to move forward quickly,” the Briton concluded.