FIA crack down on wings and suspension

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Two days into the 2017 winter testing and the FIA have already issued a clarification/warning over suspensions as well as asked for wing changes. It’s a bit interesting as in the past, these issues have been left until the first race in Melbourne Australia for the race stewards to manage but the FIA have taken a more direct approach in righting perceived wrongs up front.

Teams had asked the FIA about Renault’s RS27 support pillars and the concern was over the pillar’s joint on the DRS actuator pod instead of extending to the main plane. It seemed to have breached Article 3.9.6 of F1’s technical regulations and the team were asked to change it. Ultimately the concern was that the design could boost the effectiveness of the DRS system.

Another issue heading into the season is the FRIC suspension systems and variations that Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes are running. You’ll recall that Ferrari asked for clarification of the suspension design concepts prior to the first test in order to get the FIA on record as to whether Mercedes or Red Bull’s design contravened the regulations or not.

The teams have spent a tremendous amount of resources on designing a suspension that will optimize aerodynamic efficiency of the chassis in braking and on-throttle moments. The systems are intended to stabilize the car in these situations and remove the peaky nature of the aerodynamic impact on the car. A consistent, stabile aero impact makes the more manageable.

The FIA did release a clarification prior to the first test but now they have released another directive due to concerns over the dampers, the compression and extension characteristics of those dampers and the adjusted ride height in the process.

According to reports, the FIA have started suspension inspections in Barcelona and one team has been asked to make changes. While some believe Red Bull could be running tech on the edge or legality, the reports suggest that the FIA have not inspected their system yet. Team boss Christian Horner says he believes the FIA are happy with their approach and sees no reason it would be deemed illegal.

To be perfectly honest, I am glad to see the FIA ferret this issue out in testing and not leave it to legal wrangling and law suits in Australia as we’ve seen in the past. Sort it out in testing and get the grid squared for the first race running legal tech.

Hat Tip: Autosport

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bobmendon
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bobmendon

I think it’s an excellent decision. Get it over with now and save the official protests for things that come up that are more serious.

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

If I am permitted, it was only Renault that was told/asked to change its rear wing design.
And another thing, is FERARI now being also lumped in with Mercedes and red bull as using the trick suspension they complained about?.

bobmendon
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bobmendon

Ferrari are the ones who asked for clarification so they wouldn’t run afoul of the regulations.

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

Correct, that is why I asked “are FERRARI now also being lumped in as using the trick suspension?”.

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

Maybe the request for clarification was because Ferrari have developed a reactive suspension system, not just as a way to highlight that the Mercedes and RBR systems are pushing the bounds, as it has been reported.

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

JAKO, I don’t think so, this my opinion is based on the original letter (wording) written by FERRARI to Whiting.

Mikelibramania
Guest

They don’t complained about, it was formally a request for clarification! They wanted the FIA to clarify in a more exact way what is allowed and what is not allowed. Charlie Whiting answer has brought some light in a grey area which only the rich teams could afford to explore so far, as there is the need to invest much resources in to gain a small vantage in return.

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

You are CORRECT, they (FERRARI) did not complained, they formally requested a CLARIFICATION. that is how things are done at that stage.
The TERM “complained” was totally my chose, and although as I said, you are correct, I prefer the TERM “complained”. and still does.

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

Does anyone know what the scruitineering process is for F1 cars? Do the cars go through a formal scruitneering process either prior to testing or prior to the races, or is it some kind of random process where the FIA pick on a team or system when the mood takes them?

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

JAKO, moderator permitting, go too, I mean google “scruitineering and weighing, rules and regulations- formula 1”.

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

Thanks Salvu, that FIA site is a great resource. The summary page on the regulations answers most on my questions, and the 74 pages of Sporting regulations, and 92 pages of technical regulations completely confuse me again! How the team of 2 scrutineers are expected to visually assess all 20 cars against all those criteria in 6 hours on the Thursday before a race beats me. Luckily the FIA have eliminated any risk of cheating by placing the onus on the competitors – “the presentation of a car for scrutiny will be deemed an implicit statement of conformity (with all… Read more »

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

Yes, latest FIA clarification eliminated any of the so called “grey areas” as regards suspension design.

MIE
Editor

I don’t know that they have completely eliminated the grey areas. One of the clarifications is to eliminate “Direct coupling between the ride height function and the braking system and/or the steering system”
Anti-dive and anti-squat suspension designs have been around for half a century or more, yet these are now banned? I don’t think that was the intention, but it is one interpretation of the FIA statement.

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

This will be why the technical regulations are up to 94 pages. It must be a nightmare for the FIA to find the right form of words that doesn’t leave room for ‘alternative interpretation’ by the very sharp minds in the teams.
I saw in the sporting regs, that if the FIA deem that any innovation doesn’t ‘add value to F1’ it will be banned at the end of the season.
No wonder its so expensive and complex to compete.

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

Something which is banned at the end of the season will be something that is not infringing the rules.
This “trick suspension” clarification as to what is and is not permitted is a “clarification of the rules” as regards said rules interpretations.

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

Yep, part the FIA’s role has been to squeeze innovation out of F1 (and probably other forms of motor sport), presumably with the aim of constraining costs and stopping domination by a single competitor.
So having followed this approach for 50 years now, I think it might be be time for a review to see if it is working……….and if after deep analysis, they bizzarely concluded it wasn’t working (only kidding), the really tricky mission would be to come up with an alternative process that does work

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

Anti-dive/anti-squat suspension designs are not/have not been banned.
What has been banned (clarification) is “direct coupling” between ride height function and the braking system and or the steering system “among others” as regards the so called trick suspension.

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

today out came the much awaited 2017 wheel base lengths and car lengths on one F1 website with even photos superimposed for clarity.

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

Thanks Salvu, I’m not sure if I found the page you’re referring to, but I found one which allows you to compare the cars in photos that are split half and half.
It doesn’t have dimensions, so maybe not the same one.

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

JAKO, I have liked to have guided you proper to those pages, but I hope you understand things. Yes, there are pages/photos that splits two cars in half so as they can be compared, but that will only compare two cars to each other, the best, and this is not new, is the one were the cars (photos) taken from top or from side of car are placed one under the other with a witness line running through the center of the wheel hubs, and in doing it this way more than two cars can be compared by scrolling up… Read more »

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

actually out-of-topic, but moderator permitting the following might be of interest to some. Formula 1 cars wheel base and rake. Year 2015 2016 2017 (2017 as at first winter test). Mercedes 3411 3500 3666 1.0 degrees. FERRARI 3508 3494 3463 1.4 RBR 3459 3432 —— 1.9 (RBR is shorter then the above two in 2017) Mchanda 3491 3534 ——- 1.9 Williams 3483 3589 ——- 1.4 STR 3533 3616 ——- 1.5 FI 3411 3412 ——– 1.9 Renault —— 3638 3584 1.0 Sauber 3542 3591 ——- 1.0 Haas —— 3494 ——– 1.4 Manor —— 3484 —————

ETM
Member
ETM

After reading the rules again I wondered of these suspensions are legal for reasons that differ from Ferrari’s clarification request. 10.1.2 Any suspension system fitted to the front wheels must be so arranged that its response results only from changes in load applied to the front wheels. 10.1.3 Any suspension system fitted to the rear wheels must be so arranged that its response results only from changes in load applied to the rear wheels. For those who are not familiar with the Multimatic DSSV shocks that were specially developed for Redbull they have what they call a gValve. It is… Read more »

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

RBR has been using DSSV shocks since 2010, some other teams do as well. these shocks has nothing to do with the present trick suspension controversy, the system/s used are much more complicated than these type of shocks.

ETM
Member
ETM

True, but I’m not trying to imply it’s the shock itself. Technology evolves and gets reapplied. It’s the gValve specifically that I am thinking about. A couple years ago Scarbs described the centralized hydraulic unit that connected to the three shocks in the rear of the Mercedes and mentioned that it used heavy metal to sense what the car was doing. I think that such an application could be construed to be a reaction to a force that did not come thru the wheels.

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

Also out of topic, but very important latest news circulating says WHITING HAS NEEN RELIEVED OF HIS DUTIES AS FIA TECHNICAL OFFCER, but remains in office as race director, his replacement is Marcin Budowwiski.