Sport Mercedes, Red Bull forced to change suspension design

21:00  10 january  2017
21:00  10 january  2017 Source:   Read Sport

Webber: "World class" Ricciardo will challenge for title

  Webber: Former F1 driver Mark Webber has tipped compatriot Daniel Ricciardo to challenge for the world championship in 2017 and believes Mercedes will suffer from the loss of Nico Rosberg. Red Bull, who overcame Ferrari to emerge as Mercedes’ closest rivals in 2016, are expected to present a renewed threat to the Silver Arrows this year as the emphasis switches from engine power to aerodynamic prowess, an area in which the Bulls have been notoriously strong. Webber believes that the “world class” Ricciardo, who won in Malaysia last year after being cruelly denied a stunning victory in Monaco, can take the fight to a weakened Mercedes. “Daniel was probably the most consistent driver in the field [last season] and he’s absolutely world class, in that top three drivers,” the nine-time Grand Prix winner told Australian newspaper The Age. “He’s in a position to go again and certainly vie for the championship if Red Bull can get the car together because Nico is virtually impossible to replace in the short term at Mercedes. “Nico and Lewis drove each other to be better, but now [Mercedes] won’t have that all-star line-up. Lewis is brilliant and absolutely ruthless, but this will shake up the Formula 1 market.” Ricciardo himself is confident Red Bull will deliver a car capable of dethroning Mercedes and feels he is ready for a title duel.

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Carbon composite double wishbone suspension . Red Bull were accused of having illegally made changes to the ride height of their car while under The system had been used by Mercedes near the start of the season, causing a stir due to an effect it created similar to that of the F-duct system, banned after 2010 season. ^ " Red Bull forced to change floor design as FIA clarifies regulation over holes".

In this engine dominated era of Formula One, since the current power unit regulations were introduced back in 2014, we have seen aerodynamics step back somewhat.

But recently we have seen a surge in the performance of the Mercedes and Red Bull at the front of the cars. This is down to the front suspension system with a unique design being implemented to help the aero balance on these two front-running cars.

Back in mid-2014, FRIC (Front to Rear InterConnected) suspension was outlawed due to the aero advantages it brought. The systems were connected to the front push rods and pull rods on the transmission at the rear via hydraulic lines, thus being able to control the car through cornering, and providing better efficiency.

Mercedes' F1 dominance 'unhealthy' says Red Bull chief Christian Horner

  Mercedes' F1 dominance 'unhealthy' says Red Bull chief Christian Horner Mercedes have won 3 constructors' and drivers' titles in as many years.Mercedes has dominated the sport since the start of the V6 Turbo era in 2014 and have won three constructors' titles and as many drivers' championships in three years with Lewis Hamilton taking the title in 2014 and 2015 and teammate Nico Rosberg winning it in 2016. The predictability has taken a toll on the viewership and Horner believes it is 'unhealthy' for a sport that is said to be the pinnacle of motor racing.

element suspension unit, implemented by the likes of the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team and Red Bull Racing, which could see their designs come under scrutiny ahead of the 2017 season. “2) a means by which some of the energy recovered from the forces and displacements at the being banned, or change to an alternative set-up, which could make them much less competitive.

Aerodynamicists will argue that given a stiff car / rigid aero platform they can create enough downforce that the suspension becomes irrelevant, with the forces acting on it regulating the drivers ability to corner as the car is effectively sucked to the ground. In Malaysia we saw Red Bull and Mercedes soften their suspensions and run with less tyre pressures than in Australia having perhaps witnessed Lotus adopting this style. Meanwhile Lotus and moreover Raikkonen went a little backwards suffering perhaps with the aerodynamic changes made to his car whilst still running an aggressively soft car.

Image: Craig Scarborough © Provided by Fresh Press Media Image: Craig Scarborough

Come 2016, both Mercedes and Red Bull had engineered a new system, which was a FRIC impersonator. Both outfits would run a hydraulic element alongside the conventional heave spring in the bulkhead. This allowed for better control of the front end, which meant the car had a better optimum angle, meaning more downforce and less drag.

Under movement from the tyres, pressure would build up and stored in a cylinder in the side pod, so in theory acting as a hybrid concept. This stored energy could then be used up in an advantageous way than the car can get a better ride height angle.

What’s interesting most of all, is that both Mercedes and Red Bull had their own twist on the system. Mercedes would engineer it to work through high-speed corners, by manipulating the car’s aerodynamic angle with the hydraulics and accumulators.

Ferrari's FIA query just the start in year of change

  Ferrari's FIA query just the start in year of change Earlier this week it was reported Ferrari had queried the legality of a suspension setup pioneered by Mercedes following the FRIC ban in 2014. Without going into huge detail, the concept uses a third element or heave located in the front bulkhead (where the front nose attaches to the chassis) which is designed to store energy generated by the motion of the suspension and is then released when cornering, allowing the car to remain as flat as possible. This greatly helps the aerodynamicists in predicting the airflow over the car at all times and also makes looking after the tyres, a former major weakness of Mercedes, much easier. Red Bull has used a similar system though for an alternative purpose of allowing the car to run a very high rear ride height, or rake, which would offer better rear downforce through the diffuser and also act to stall the rear wing, thus increasing the top speed down the straight. Ferrari is only just developing this kind of system now and designer Simone Resta’s request to the governing body for clarification on the legality of them has caused this first controversy of 2017. In response, Charlie Whiting has indeed suggested that such systems breach article 3.15 of the regulations which states any element that is not directly associated with the main purpose of the suspension and is offering an aerodynamic benefit is illegal.

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Red Bull Racing have been forced to change a design feature on the axle of their RB8 car by the FIA. "But apparently it's been seen as illegal because it's a moving aerodynamic device." The issue with the floor blew up at the Monaco Grand Prix, where rivals McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes and Lotus objected to the holes on the basis that they broke rules dictating that the floor has to remain "impervious".

Meanwhile, Red Bull used it to make the rear end perform better, by using it to enhance the effectiveness of the high angle of rake the team would run. By this the rear would relax back down once past a certain geometry threshold, thus stalling the flow over the rear wing and Y100 winglet and improving the top speed of the car down a straight.

But recently Ferrari’s chief designer Simone Resta wrote a letter to Charlie Whiting claiming that his team was considering introducing such a device but wanted to know if it might be against the current technical regulations.

And the answer was yes, in article 3.15 it states: “Concerning whether a component or system is wholly incidental to the main purpose of the suspension system or have been contrived to directly affect the aerodynamic performance of the car”

This means a novel idea to help influence the car’s aerodynamic characteristics which are down to the actuating motion of the front suspension can’t be used anymore. This leaves the major three title contenders on a level playing ground as we go into 2017.

With not much time until the 2017 cars are revealed, and with the cars being designed around the front suspension pitch control, it has undoubtedly left Mercedes and Red Bull with a lot to do here.

Why Verstappen should be favourite to win 2017 title .
Max Verstappen should be the favourite for the 2017 Formula One title, it’s a bold claim, isn’t it? Yet if you’re not among the naysayers or those trying to downplay expectations, it is hoped we can look forward to a Red Bull vs. Mercedes battle this season. Some may even include Ferrari in that statement, though we saw how far the predictions of a challenge to the Silver Arrows got last year. Add to that how F1 is moving to increase the important of aerodynamics, the traditional weakness of Ferrari, in an effort to equalise the power vs. aero equilibrium and, in my opinion, it’s hard to see how the Maranello outfit can match Mercedes. But in Red Bull, we have more confidence. They have a design team led by Adrian Newey. They have two drivers who are pushing each other to even greater heights and, hopefully, they’ll have a power unit that can at least keep up with the rocket made in Brixworth. Should they deliver on those expectations, fans can look forward to Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas going up against Daniel Ricciardo and, the man of the hour, Verstappen. Sounds good, right? So, at this point, you’re now wondering why of the four drivers in that anticipated championship battle do I think the Dutchman is the one to go all the way? Well, firstly let’s discount Bottas. While I think he’ll surprise many against Hamilton, doing that over an entire season isn’t going to be easy. Certainly in the early races.

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