How Mercedes could fit DAS into its Formula 1 suspension layout

Formula 1's stable rules for 2020 were expected to lead to design convergence between the top teams, but there has still been room for divergence among their respective suspension designs

How Mercedes could fit DAS into its Formula 1 suspension layout

The arrangements that Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull have produced, particularly with the placement of their steering assemblies, suspension arms and heave dampers all show differing approaches.

Why have their approaches have ended up being so different in the chase for the smallest of performance advantages?

Mercedes

All teams use suspension sub-systems to help maintain a more effective aerodynamic platform, but Mercedes has really led the way on this front ever since its return to the sport a decade ago.

Its front and rear interconnected system, known as FRIC, led the way in suspension innovation at the start of the previous decade, but the system was banned in 2014.

As far back as 2011, the team had installed a hydraulic accumulator used to connect the rear dampers - as seen below.

In Brazil 2015 the team tested a hydraulic heave damper, rather than the more classically sprung variant as it prepared for the following campaign.

A more refined version of the hydraulic heave damper arrived in 2016, accompanied by changes to the chassis structure.

During the latter phases of 2019, Mercedes used free practice sessions to assess a new heave damper arrangement, utilising Belleville springs - an arrangement that rivals Red Bull had been familiar with.

Hydraulics have formed the basis for its heave damper arrangements throughout this period but, as these will be banned in the upcoming regulation changes, now set for 2022, the team has abandoned its hydraulic arrangement for a more conventionally sprung alternative this season.

Whilst this may lead to a small loss of functionality it does give the team the necessary time to better understand the setup and where it might be able to make up the resultant performance gap.

Mercedes has also made significant changes to the W11's bulkhead and suspension design to incorporate its DAS system.

As shown, Mercedes' steering assembly was already somewhat bulkier than some of its counterparts.

While DAS has clearly added to that conundrum, the overall size and weight of the system must offer a clear performance advantage to justify its inclusion.

The visual differences between this and last year's assembly have sparked debate over the installation of DAS, with a theory of two opposing rack and pinions now in doubt, as it would outwardly appear to be a hydraulically controlled unit.

Ferrari

Ferrari has been the least pro-active of the lead trio when it comes to optimising its front-end layout for 2020, favouring design continuity and ease of setup over what could be considered bold missteps.

The design brought to the car in 2017 marked the start of its current design philosophy, as the team uses an exposed layout that makes it very easy to make general setup changes.

The 2019 car's front-end is almost identical to this year's car, with small changes made to optimise its package.

It appears that Ferrari has decided that the performance of its front suspension was sufficient that it warranted putting more emphasis on other areas of the car over the last few seasons.

Red Bull

Red Bull has seen 2020 as an opportunity to push the envelope and close the gap to Mercedes ahead.

It has opted for an aggressive repackaging regime, as the steering assembly has been moved back in the chassis, in order that the steering arms [2] now align more effectively with the rear leg of the lower wishbone [3].

The lower wishbone is part of a multi-link arrangement, with the forward leg [1] an unusual one piece affair that crosses through the chassis, rather than being mounted either side of it.

shares
comments
Russell can't be "fannying around" at the back in 2020
Previous article

Russell can't be "fannying around" at the back in 2020

Next article

Quarantined McLaren Formula 1 staff to return to the UK this week

Quarantined McLaren Formula 1 staff to return to the UK this week
The inconvenient truth about F1’s ‘American driver’ dream Plus

The inconvenient truth about F1’s ‘American driver’ dream

OPINION: The Formula 1 grid's wait for a new American driver looks set to continue into 2023 as the few remaining places up for grabs - most notably at McLaren - look set to go elsewhere. This is despite the Woking outfit giving tests to IndyCar aces recently, showing that the Stateside single-seater series still has some way to go to being seen as a viable feeder option for F1

How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge Plus

How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge

While creating a car that is woefully off the pace is a nightmare scenario for any team, it inadvertently generates the test any engineering department would relish: to turn it into a winner. As Mercedes takes on that challenge in Formula 1 this season, McLaren’s former head of vehicle engineering reveals how the team pulled of the feat in 2009 with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Aug 15, 2022
The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future Plus

The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future

Personable, articulate 
and devoid of the usual
 racing driver airs and graces,
 Nicholas Latifi is the last Formula 1 driver you’d expect to receive death threats, but such was the toxic legacy of his part in last year’s explosive season finale. And now, as ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains, he faces a battle to keep his place on the F1 grid…

Formula 1
Aug 13, 2022
The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes Plus

The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes

Modern grand prix drivers like to think the tyres they work with are unusually difficult and temperamental. But, says  MAURICE HAMILTON, their predecessors faced many of the same challenges – and some even stranger…

Formula 1
Aug 12, 2022
The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1 Plus

The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1

Gordon Murray's Brabham BT46B 'fan car' was Formula 1 engineering at perhaps its most outlandish. Now fan technology has been successfully utilised on the McMurtry Speirling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, could it be adopted by grand prix racing once again?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold Plus

Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold

The seven-time Formula 1 world champion has been lumbered with a duff car before the 2022 Mercedes. Back in 2009, McLaren’s alchemists transformed the disastrous MP4-24 into a winning car with Lewis Hamilton at the wheel. And now it’s happening again at his current team, but can the rate of progress be matched this year?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell Plus

Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell

OPINION: Ferrari's numerous strategy blunders, as well as some of his own mistakes, have cost Charles Leclerc dearly in the 2022 Formula 1 title battle in the first half of the season. Though he is locked into a deal with Ferrari, few could blame Leclerc if he ultimately wanted to look elsewhere - just as Lewis Hamilton did with McLaren 10 years prior

Formula 1
Aug 9, 2022
The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat Plus

The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat

After being ditched by McLaren earlier in his F1 career Sergio Perez fought his way back into a seat with a leading team. BEN EDWARDS thinks the same could be happening to another member of the current grid

Formula 1
Aug 8, 2022