Formula 1 | How Aston Martin solved F1 development problems

The arrival of Formula 1 cars meeting the 2022 regulations, largely due to their focus on ground effect, has led to the return of the porpoising phenomenon.

Eric Blandin, assistant technical director of Aston Martin F1, reveals that the problem will still exist in 2023 despite the regulatory changes.

“It’s not going to go away completely. It’s something that’s inherent in this set of rules.” Blandin assures. “You’ve got big tunnels that run air under the car that’s running very low to the ground, effectively creating a skirt around the edge of the floor that seals the air.

“This combination makes the car vulnerable to sloshing. Every F1 car wobbles to some extent, but under the current regulations, the wobble is more pronounced due to aerodynamic loading and changes in that aerodynamic loading.”

Correlation issues are gone

While the infrastructure remains unchanged at Aston Martin, whose new factory is under construction, Blandin wants to make sure there is no repeat of the correlation problems encountered last year.

“You use the same tools, wind tunnel, CFD, software, but it all depends on how you extract the data and how you use it. Simulating the problem is complex. There aren’t many tools that can do it. Computationally, with normal software, you can estimate it you can’t.”

“It’s not just about putting a car through a wind tunnel and seeing if it goes into a bucket, it doesn’t work that way because it’s a dynamic problem. Aerodynamic loads are constantly changing.”

“Over the course of the 2022 season, we have improved our understanding of this next-generation F1 car in several areas, which has enabled us to identify the cause of the rebounds.

How AMR22 reassured the team

Blandin explains that the problem won’t happen again because Aston Martin used the mid-range AMR22 as a lab to ensure the correlation was good again.

“AMR22 has become a laboratory. We’ve done a lot of testing on the track to deepen our understanding, and this increase in understanding was highlighted by our improved performance towards the end of last season.”

“We were able to push the limits of performance with the way we drove the car. It wouldn’t have been possible with the initial concept we had at the start of the season.”

“We are focused on making changes to this year’s car, but we can’t guarantee that they will work until we test the car on the track. If we suffer from this phenomenon, we have a few tools in our arsenal to combat it.”

Aston Martin F1 also predicted a possible failure

But Aston Martin has also planned countermeasures should the AMR23 not perform as expected at the start of the season.

“If we make a mistake and the car doesn’t perform as we want, we have to be honest and work together to find solutions. First, we have to understand why the car is not performing and where the problems are. There are..”

“And based on what we learn, then we have to come up with solutions and implement them. There’s nothing we can’t overcome. As a team, we can overcome any challenge we face. We face it.”

To explain that you need to find the right balance in terms of risk taking: “There’s always that risk. The F1 car is extremely complex, it’s a puzzle. But you have to trust the information you have, the experience you have, and also your instinct, your intuition.”

“Of course you’re always questioning everything – of course, no one can know everything, but you have to believe in yourself. You have to believe that you’re on the right path.”

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