Tag Archives: reactive ride height

FIA bans reactive ride height systems

The reactive ride height innovation designed by Lotus and recently copied by Ferrari has been banned by the sport’s governing body.

The FIA’s decision was announced yesterday by Williams chief operations engineer Mark Gillan, who had received a letter from Charlie Whiting regarding the matter on Friday.

The FIA’s head of F1 communications, Matteo Bonciani, confirmed the news yesterday:

"We have been investigating that type of system for a while. It is obviously 
[creating] an impact on the aerodynamic platform of the car.

Anything that gets the ride-height lower, particularly the front ride-height 
lower, is beneficial from an aerodynamic perspective."

This ride height adjustment device would appear to break Article 10.2.2 of the 2012 Technical Regulations, which states that “any powered device which is capable of altering the configuration or affecting the performance of any part of the suspension system is forbidden.”

In addition to this, Article 10.2.3 bans any “adjustment … made to the suspension system while the car is in motion.”

Ferrari latest to develop reactive ride height system

The reactive ride height system has already been developed by Ferrari

The reactive ride height system has already been developed by Ferrari

After details of Lotus’ reactive ride height system emerged in recent days, it has also been reported that Ferrari have developed their own interpretation of the technology.

The new innovation stabilises the front of the car – mechanically and aerodynamically – under braking, by lifting the front of the car by several millimetres.

Lotus’ version had already been approved by the FIA back in January 2010, and Ferrari have since written to the organisation to seek approval of their system. This was confirmed yesterday by team principal Stefano Domenicali:

"What you are talking about, is more related to having stability under braking. It 
is a system that I know there have been some documents in writing between the FIA 
and the teams.

We are waiting for the final confirmation if this kind of devices will be acceptable 
or not. But for sure we are looking around these sorts of devices to see if they 
contribute to a performance. But we need to wait and see what will be the reaction to 
the FIA on that."

If the device is approved by the FIA, then it is almost certain that Ferrari will be able to test the system at the first pre-season test in February.

Lotus Renault leading the way with “reactive ride height” system

A detailed look at Lotus' reative ride height innovation

A detailed look at Lotus' reative ride height innovation

The must-have innovation of 2012 has been leaked in recent days, with Lotus Renault reported to be running a “reactive ride height” device on their cars.

The system was spotted by seasoned technical journalist Giorgio Piola at the Abu Dhabi young driver test in November, and reports suggest that this device had been given the green light by the FIA as early as January 2011.

The objective of this innovation is to stabilise the front end of the car under braking, which generally dips by several centimetres. With a small hydraulic device in the brake cowling, the car can lift itself to counteract the dip under braking. This ensures a consistent generation of downforce from the front wing.

It is also possible that the reverse situation could apply under acceleration.

One of the smaller technical changes that was passed over by many – including myself – was that the maximum height of the nosecone was lowered from 62mm to 55mm. This has, in part, prompted this new design from Lotus.

Gazetta Dello Sport suggested that this device was to be operated by the driver via a pedal, similar to the F-duct. However, Article 3.15 of the F1 Technical Regulations seems to have covered that loophole:

"With the exception of the parts necessary for the adjustment described in
Article 3.18 [the DRS], any car system, device or procedure which uses driver
movement as a means of altering the aerodynamic characteristics of the car
is prohibited."

Seeing as the system has already been approved by the FIA, it would be assumed that the device is operated by the car automatically and not the driver.

Predictably, many of the top teams have already begun to research and design their own version of this ride height stabiliser.

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