Should F1 teams share Porpoising Solutions with Mercedes?


The new Formula 1 season has been going on in full swing. 4 races have been completed so far with Ferrari looking like the team to beat this year. At the start, every team had issues with aerodynamic induced porpoising that most teams now seem to have under control. Well, apart from Mercedes!

Mercedes being driven by Hamilton and Russel looks so far behind in terms of managing porpoising. While other teams continue to smoothen out the ride, Mercedes seem to be stuck where they started this season. Porpoising is not only detrimental to the chassis and tyres of the car but also to the driver.

Given the toll porpoising takes on drivers, many F1 fans argue for the sharing of porpoising solutions between teams to help each other out. This ongoing debate about sharing solutions to porpoising has divided the F1 fandom into two different groups with one for and one against the sharing of knowledge regarding porpoising. Let’s look at each side’s argument.

Arguments for the sharing of Porpoising solution.

1. Porpoising could be causing micro concussions to drivers.

Micro concussions are impacts to skulls that do not cause acute concussion at the time, but thousands of such impacts throughout the career of a sportsperson could induce life-threatening changes to their brain. These micro concussions are often the reason for dementia and many other severe effects on a sports person’s brain.

This has been argued as the biggest reason for the sharing of porpoising solutions among F1 teams. The proponents of this argument want teams like Ferrari and Red Bull to share their solution with the Mercedes who are currently the most affected by porpoising.

2. Make the playing field even

While this is not a very sound argument I would include it as many seem to think this is. Many F1 fans on Reddit say that porpoising is too disadvantageous for teams like Mercedes who despite having a very good car cannot compete because of the porpoising.

Had their car not been porpoising they would have been comfortably fighting with the Ferrari and Red Bull.

Arguments against sharing porpoising solution

1. Mercedes already have the solution, they just don’t want to use them

The opposition to this idea of solution sharing say that Mercedes already have the solution to porpoising. They could raise the ride height and go a little slower, say others who don’t want freebies for Mercedes.

All cars can stop porpoising, they just need to be a little slower

Mercedes could well think of the well being of their drivers and let the car drive a little slow and avoid porpoising but they don’t. There is so much money on the line that the team is ready to allow their driver to suffer and the drivers themselves do not say anything against it.

2. Why should teams lose their advantage?

Another argument against the sharing of the porpoising solution is that it would be unfair to the teams who have figured it out on their own. It would be like asking them to hand over the advantage that they have rightfully earned.

Just imagine asking Mercedes to share their engine and chassis configuration with Haas in 2021. Would that be fair?

If this was an issue regarding the safety of the public on the road, sure car makers would have shared solutions to it. For example, Nils Bohlin who invented the point seat belt in 1959 patented the design but left it open to be used by any company for free.

This is however a competitive sport and no team should be asked to hand back their rightfully earned advantage. Driver’s safety should be the concern of the team as well as FIA, not the opposition team.

Personally, I believe that proposing an issue is something that can be easily solved. Mercedes are so plagued with it because they have gone for a different cooling system with unconventional sidepods, which is what’s causing this porpoising.

If they wanted to solve proposing they could go right ahead and ditch their sidpod less design or raise the ride height and lose some time but they don’t.

It is funny how when Mercedes are in trouble, it somehow becomes a shared problem

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