F1 teams favour active suspension return to resolve row for 2018

The majority of Formula 1 teams agree the return of active ride would be the simplest way to clarify confusion surrounding the legality of suspension systems, Autosport has learned

F1 teams favour active suspension return to resolve row for 2018

The reintroduction of active suspension is one of four approaches under evaluation for 2018, with the FIA understood to be considering clarifying the existing regulations ahead of the first pre-season test at Barcelona that starts on February 27 in the interim.

Debate about pre-loaded suspension systems has dragged on for several weeks, after Ferrari asked the FIA for clarity regarding the devices helping aerodynamic performance.

As a result, four options, one of which is the reintroduction of active suspension for the first time since it was outlawed ahead of the 1994 season, are being considered based on a document drawn up by McLaren.

Given the scale of the change, if agreed upon by the teams and the FIA, such a regulation change wouldn't come into force until 2018 at the earliest.

The active suspension proposal suggested the standardisation of the actuators would prevent a costly technical arms race.

The proposal also argues active suspension would "bring F1 into the 21st century" technologically.

Should this route be pursued, an active suspension proposal submitted by Mercedes in 2014 has been suggested as a good starting point for defining a four-channel system that would allow teams to control heave and roll electronically.

A second option suggests tightening up the suspension regulations to prevent passive systems designed to influence the aerodynamic platform.

This is based on a Ferrari proposal to interpret the original decision banning active suspension more strictly and would require a change to the wording of Article 3.14 of the technical regulations, which governs aerodynamic influence.

The third option involves exempting suspension systems from the technical regulations governing aerodynamic influence.

This would effectively allow passive systems designed to control the aerodynamic platform, although the regulations would stop short of allowing designs such as FRIC (front-to-rear interconnected) suspension to return.

While it would eliminate question marks over the legality of certain systems, there are concerns this would prove expensive.

The final option is to retain the existing regulations, but with the FIA carrying out more checks to ensure compliance and teams being required to submit documentation explaining their suspension designs.

The four options will form the basis of an ongoing discussion, which will shape the interpretation of the regulations this year and wider changes potentially made for 2018.

EXPERT VIEW
Gary Anderson, technical consultant

First of all I am against anything that could be defined as viewer or spectator hidden technology.

It only adds confusion to what is going on as one team will be better at it than the others and so once again it would take away the driver's input.

If you have an active system, be it simple or not, in effect it will reduce braking distances and improve traction. Neither of these will improve the spectacle and they will again reduce the reliance on driver skills.

Active suspension is a means to optimise the aerodynamic platform. This can be done in the car concept and design stage and is far more challenging from an engineering point of view then than just creating a suspension ride height map that optimises the aerodynamics after the fact.

If I read it correctly I think I favour the 'Ferrari' route: it could probably be worded simpler but when did F1 ever make anything simple?

shares
comments
What the new Williams tells us about F1 2017

Previous article

What the new Williams tells us about F1 2017

Next article

Williams F1 team vowed not to block Valtteri Bottas move again

Williams F1 team vowed not to block Valtteri Bottas move again
Load comments
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Plus

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track' Plus

Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track'

Mercedes ended Friday practice at the Hungaroring with a clear gap to Red Bull thanks to Valtteri Bottas’s pace in topping FP2. But there are other reasons why the Black Arrows squad feels satisfied with its progress so far at a track many Formula 1 observers reckon favours Red Bull overall

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021
How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks Plus

How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks

OPINION: Red Bull was justified to be upset that Lewis Hamilton survived his British GP clash with Max Verstappen and went on to win. But its attempts to lobby the FIA to reconsider the severity of Hamilton's in-race penalty were always likely to backfire, and have only succeeded in creating a PR disaster that will distract from its on-track efforts

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021
The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach Plus

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach

OPINION: It wasn't just the Verstappen/Hamilton clash that had the Red Bull and Mercedes bosses at loggerheads at Silverstone, with the nature of Formula 1's 2025 engines also subject for disagreement. But hopes to have loud, emotive engines that are also environmentally friendly don't have to be opposed

Formula 1
Jul 29, 2021
The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break Plus

The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break

OPINION: Formula 1 is about to break up for summer 2021, with the title battles finely poised. But it’s not just the latest round of Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton that will be worth watching this weekend in Hungary, as plenty of drivers are eying big results to change the stories of their seasons so far

Formula 1
Jul 28, 2021
How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Plus

How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but 
flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

Formula 1
Jul 27, 2021
The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address Plus

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address

OPINION: Changes to the layout of Abu Dhabi’s circuit aim to reverse the trend of insipid Formula 1 races there - the promoter has even described one of the new corners as “iconic”. And that, argues STUART CODLING, is one of this venue’s abiding failings

Formula 1
Jul 26, 2021
How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't Plus

How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't

Last year's Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott could be on his way to becoming the first Briton to contest a grand prix in an Alfa Romeo since Reg Parnell in 1950. But, says OLEG KARPOV, the Ferrari Driver Academy protege is having to temper his ambition at the moment – outwardly at least…

Formula 1
Jul 25, 2021