The “trick” suspension, used by both Mercedes and Red Bull Racing, has been a bone of contention for Ferrari.
Attempting to find allies at the strategy group meeting on February the 7th, it’s now clear that the “active” suspension operates in a grey zone of the regulations.
Ferrari fears that the suspension would give both teams an unfair advantage over the Italians towards the championship. Because of that Ferrari, and a small group of like minded teams, asked for a clarification.
It is believed that the suspension gives advantages to the vertical displacement of the car. Stabilising the car’s roll through corners, improving aerodynamic stability as a consequence. Meanwhile ground clearance would be the same at all times (during cornering), and this would result in a constantly regulated (and ideal) flow over and under the car.
In the meantime, on the straights, the car would suck itself towards the ground and thus feeding the diffusor more effectively. This would generate a greater top speed with the same amount of wing when compared to a car without the suspension trickery.
Apparently the steering would become (progressively) lighter too, in the corners. The heavier the corner the lighter it gets, in slow corners even more than in fast ones. But the problem being that in F1, it is illegal to use any information coming directly from the feeling of the steering wheel. And feeding that info back to the car enables performance gains.
During the meeting, Ferrari attempted to understand as much as possible about the suspension. They, and their allies, bombed the FIA with any question they could think of. Hoping the answers would enable them to copy such a system or at least veto the concept. Their own ideas on how the suspension of Mercedes and Red Bull would work were all declared illegal by the FIA.
Meanwhile the FIA did say that both Mercedes and Red Bull are completely within the regulations. And, as it turns out, in both teams the knowledge of the system deemed top secret and known to only select few of engineers. Teams in the paddock without the system have tried many times to lure engineers in who might know about the technique, to no avail.
And so, it appears the reason for this meeting of clarification was an attempt to force the hand of the FIA by making Mercedes and Redbull disclose how the suspension works legally or to explain why the FIA didn’t think it was illegal.
But we know now that this meeting was unsuccessful from Ferrari’s point of view. Who’ve even asked the FIA to tighten the rules on the suspension aspect in order to level the playing field. Since Ferrari only found three allies at the meeting, the FIA did not agree to their terms. Only thing left now is to officially protest at the Grand Prix in Melbourne.
Ferrari might be better off investigating what ‘trickery’ the top teams employ in managing their technical staff. Or wait for the info to turn up on a photocopier in Woking.
Just curious.. but how would information photocopied in Woking be of any use to the Italian squad??
I expect they’re still having them monitored.
Not wishing to be pedantic but wasn’t Woking guilty of stealing Ferrari data?
Why would they be only interested in Ferrari? Especially these days?
SteamingTeapot, I for one got the joke, and smiled.
Ferrari could phone James Allison and ask him.
Lets get one thing straight. While the M-B and Red Bull “trick” suspensions essentially attempt to achieve the same goal, stabilizing the car’s roll through corners and maintaining a preset ride height on straights, Ferrari’s protest was aimed specifically at M-B and not Red Bull. Ferrari believe that M-B are using stored energy in various hydraulic systems to extend / retract springs and other suspension components under various conditions. The Red Bull system is fundamentally concerned with pitch control on a straight and came from an attempt to get more straight-line speed from the under-powered, compared to M-B and Ferrari, Renault engine.
Red bull is the direct reason why Ferrari had this meeting. A radio message between Danny and his pitwall is what gave Ferrari “proof” that there was more going on than what they thought.
That may be. But the protest is against M-B.
Well cav, show me evidence please, everything I read says merc and rbr
As I previously said. Both M-B and Red Bull may be using “trick” suspension. But it was M-B’s idea to place a heave (or third suspension element) that Ferrari queried Whiting about. The net Ferrari threw at M-B may also catch Red Bull. But it was the M-B use of stored energy in various hydraulic systems to control suspension components that Ferrari want clarified.
Can you or someone reiterate this radio message? I don’t think I’ve read about it yet.
Motorsport.com: According to sources, an overheard radio conversation between Daniel Ricciardo and his Red Bull pitwall about car set-up and the impact of the suspension on aerodynamic performance left some rival teams suspicious that there was more to these devices than originally thought.
Classic Ferrari. Losing and protesting.
You mean classic F1
Indeed. Seems odd though – at this stage – to announce to the world that not only are they still behind but also that they don’t have any idea how to catch up. If RB can’t haul Merc in this season it’s going to be pretty dull.
Some italians with cold sweat I guess. Fear for the heads that might roll?
Having been cleared and declared legal by the FIA, what is the point of protesting?
I believe that stewards can decide otherwise. But I’d have to check that
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