Gary Anderson explains new Mercedes F1 suspension part

Mercedes has updated the heave spring element of its front suspension and, having trialled it in the Formula 1 race in Singapore, will retain it for the Russian Grand Prix

Gary Anderson explains new Mercedes F1 suspension part

The heave spring is actuated by the two rockers which are in turn rotated by the suspension pushrods when the car moves over a bump in the road.

This helps to control the upward motion of the suspension, allowing the car to enjoy a smoother ride over bumps and kerbs.

From Giorgio Piola's exclusive photograph above, the new heave spring is marked by the white arrow.

The old element was hydraulically actuated, meaning that the spring rate was provided by the compression of the fluid, but now this features a series of Belleville washers to generate the movement resistance.

Gary Anderson's analysis

One of the interesting things that was very noticeable from Singapore was how good the Ferrari was over the kerbs.

By contrast, the Mercedes looked fairly nervous, and when the car lands from a kerb strike the important thing is that it settles quickly and allows the driver to get on the throttle early.

With good traction off the corner, it will improve the cars straight-line speed and, in turn, lap-time.

Something I used to always say to my engineers was that it doesn't matter how much power you have, if you can't open the throttle you have none.

The central front spring plays a major part in this, as any kerb impact with the inside front wheel will mean that the open gap on the third spring will close by about half of the suspension impact from that kerb impact.

I did an analysis of the Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull front suspension setups some time ago, and one of the things I commented on was that at that time Mercedes used what is called a metal mesh bump stop [below].

This is a very stiff mesh packer with a gap before it comes into play. With this system, the car is either on it or off it.

In effect it provides a very good front suspension travel stop for the straights, but not so good if you are coming on and off it in a corner because of kerb inputs.

At that time the Ferrari used a large diameter coil spring, which gives fairly progressive spring rates but takes up much more space, and the Red Bull used a package of Belleville washers.

You can play tunes on these Belleville washers as far as stiffness is concerned, and they are also more progressive than what Mercedes were using at that time.

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