q Mercedes' Mike Elliott on Navigating the Traps of F1's News Rules. - Bayla Sports F1

Mercedes’ Mike Elliott on Navigating the Traps of F1’s News Rules.

The overhaul of Formula 1 regulation in 2022 aimed to enhance the followability of the cars by introducing ground-effect aerodynamics.

However, this led to an unforeseen consequence: the cars’ performance optimization through close-to-ground positioning.

This optimization, while effective, gave rise to the vexing issue of ‘porpoising,’ as Mercedes experienced firsthand last season.

Mike Elliott, the Chief Technical Officer at Mercedes, openly acknowledges that the team fell into a pitfall posed by the 2022 regulations, inadvertently positioning their car too close to the ground.

While addressing the dilemma teams face between lowering their cars for performance or raising them for driver confidence, Elliott highlighted the challenge of balance.

He admitted that Mercedes may have pushed too far with the W13, aiming to optimize performance by positioning it exceptionally close to the track surface.

As per Planetf1, MIke Elliot explained: “I think if you were to go back to the old regulations, you could put the car where you wanted to put it.”

“You had big travel in the suspension, which allows you to shake the balance a bit better through the corners, you weren’t limited by stiffness, you could sort of chase where the aerodynamic performance is in the regulations.

“For these cars, aerodynamically they want to run close to the ground. And so, if you run them close to ground, you have to run them stiff – and that’s one of the traps we fell into last year, if we’re honest.

“So I think there’s always going to be that balance you have on this set of regulations. When you’ve got cars that want to run really close to the ground, how do you get that balance right?”

Formula 1’s budget cap and aerodynamic testing restrictions have curtailed unrestricted wind tunnel use, impacting wealthier teams.

Mercedes’ alternative approach reduced the performance gap to Red Bull, yet Red Bull remains dominant.

Teams must adhere to their chosen path in crafting a car philosophy, and Mercedes anticipates leveraging their 2023 experiences for next season’s progress.

“I think that the real difficulty is if you look at the aero testing restrictions, you’ve got so limited number of runs, you’ve got to pick a direction and go for it,” Elliott said.

“And it’s really hard to know if you go down the route of saying: ‘I want to develop a car for high ride heights or one for low ride heights and I want to be able to cover all my bases’, suddenly you’d be doing three [wind tunnel] runs a week on each one and going nowhere.

“So you have to sort of pick a direction and go in it and as you learn, you can tweak that direction and move it slightly. I like to think we’ve sort of gotten ourselves into the right place for the winter.”