In a bid to tackle concerns related to the physical impact of the porpoising phenomenon that became an early feature of F1’s new ground-effect regulations introduced in 2022, the cars floor-edge was raised by 15mm. 

Mercedes, who were hampered the most by extreme bouncing with their W13 challenger, had been lobbying for changes on safety grounds throughout the season. 

F1’s porpoising problem had largely vanished during the 2023 campaign, though it did briefly reappear for Mercedes at the Belgian Grand Prix. 

While the rule tweaks did help to remedy the issue, returning technical director Allison has conceded Mercedes missed potential performance gains by being overly cautious in their approach. 

“There was a big debate internally,” Allison is quoted by The Race. “Should we cash in that 15mm and drop the car down, operate the car in a window that is 15mm smaller, because the cars will be less bouncy inherently? 

"Or should we do more of what has done us well over the course of the year, which was force ourselves to keep looking for downforce where it’s difficult high up?

“These rules don’t reward you [with downforce] high up, it’s really hard to find, but that brought us some benefits over the course of last year. So the debate raged internally for a while. The logic was it’s very hard to predict because the tools are not especially good for this, anyone’s tools, not just ours. They are not very good for predicting exactly where bouncing is going to be incurred.

“It’s much harder to back yourself out of having driven off the edge of a cliff and finding yourself bouncing than it is to be too high, not bouncing and then lower yourself towards it. So the outcome of our internal debate was let’s err on the cautious side, let’s keep trying to find downforce where it’s hard and if it turns out we’ve been too cautious we will spend the months that follow working quickly to recover that.

“And if we’re lucky and others cash in the 15mm – and without tools that prove to them everything will be fine, I remain of the view it was a gamble - then they’ll all bounce and we'll be the smart ones for having taken the cautious approach. So that was the route.

“Now, as it turns out it was too cautious - it was possible to cash in the 15mm. We would have been better placing our chips on that part of the roulette wheel, then we’d have got much sooner to the performance we’re at now.”