Daily Archives: April 8, 2010

FIA: Ride height control systems are illegal

Many teams believe that Red Bull are using a ride height controlling system

Many teams believe that Red Bull are using a ride height controlling system

The FIA, the governing body of Formula 1, has faxed all of the teams and notified them that any type of system that controls the ride height of the car while on track is against the technical regulations, and is illegal.

In the last few weeks, suspicions have been arising concerning Red Bull’s suspension system, after allegations that it can control the ride height while on track. There is suppposedly a device in the RB6 that allows it to be lower to the ground, and therefore gain a downforce advantage, in qualifying.

This device may take the form of a pressure-operated component, which keeps the car as low as possible to the ground as the fuel burns off. Because of the refuelling ban, the cars are full of fuel at the start, and without a ride height controlling system, this is the lowest they would be to the ground in the race. As the fuel burns off, the car would become lighter, and therefore rise, meaning a loss in downforce.

Since qualifying is low-fuel, all of the cars should be quite high up from the ground, since no modification to the car should be made in between qualifying and the race. However, Red Bull seem to have been able to run their car quite low to the ground in qualifying, and keep the car up when they put the fuel in the car for the race.

However, these are just rumours, and nothing has been proven or denied. The Red Bull RB6 cars were heavily scrutineered before the Malaysian Grand Prix, and nothing suspicious was found. Still, the FIA has found the need to clarify this issue, in case other teams try to use an innovation like this. Their statement reads as follows:

"Any system device or procedure, the purpose and/or effect of which is to change
 the set-up of the suspension, while the car is under parc ferme conditions will 
be deemed to contravene Article 34.5 of the sporting regulations."

Article 34.5 reads as follows:

If a competitor modifies any part on the car or makes changes to the set up of 
the suspension whilst the car is being held under parc fermé conditions the 
relevant driver must start the race from the pit lane and follow the procedures 
laid out in Article 38.2.

The only way Red Bull could change the ride height of their cars legally is by doing it during the pit stops. It is rumoured that Ferrari were going to try this method, but there is no evidence to support it.