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
Load comments
The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness Plus

The joy that exposes F1’s key weakness

Long-awaited wins for ex-Formula 1 drivers Marcus Ericsson and Kevin Magnussen in IndyCar and IMSA last weekend gave F1 a reminder of what it is missing. But with the new rules aimed at levelling the playing field, there’s renewed optimism that more drivers can have a rewarding result when their day of days comes

The figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again in F1 2021 Plus

The figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again in F1 2021

OPINION: An interloper squad got amongst the title contenders during Formula 1’s street-circuit mini-break, where Red Bull left with the points lead in both championships. But, as the campaign heads back to purpose-built venues once again, how the drivers of the two top teams compare in one crucial area will be a major factor in deciding which squad stays in or retakes the top spot

Why Alfa's boss is ready for the task of securing a stronger F1 future Plus

Why Alfa's boss is ready for the task of securing a stronger F1 future

Two tenth places in recent races have lifted Alfa Romeo to the head of Formula 1's 'Class C' battle in 2021, but longer-term the Swiss-based squad has far loftier ambitions. With the new 2022 rules set to level out the playing field, team boss Frederic Vasseur has good reason to be optimistic, as he explained to Autosport in an exclusive interview

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
How Barnard’s revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction Plus

How Barnard’s revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction

The MP4/1 was pioneering by choice, but a McLaren by chance. STUART CODLING relates the tangled (carbonfibre) weaves which led to the creation of one of motor racing’s defining cars

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool Plus

Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool

Windtunnel work forms the bedrock of aerodynamic development in Formula 1. But as PAT SYMONDS explains, advances in virtual research are signalling the end of these expensive and complicated relics

Formula 1
Jun 13, 2021
Why polarising Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour Plus

Why polarising Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour

The newspapers, naturally, lingered over Max Mosley’s tainted family history and niche sexual practices. But this is to trivialise the legacy of a big beast of motor racing politics. STUART CODLING weighs the life of a man whose work for safety on both road and track has saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but whose penchant for cruelty remains problematic and polarising

Formula 1
Jun 12, 2021
Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture Plus

Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture

Sergio Perez has spent most of his career labouring in Formula 1’s midfield, wondering whether he’d ever get another shot at the big time. Red Bull has handed him that chance and, although life at the top is tough, the Baku winner is doing all the right things to get on terms with Max Verstappen, says BEN ANDERSON

Formula 1
Jun 11, 2021
What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight Plus

What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight

Formula 1 has been tracking car performance using timing loops mounted every 200m around each circuit – to the extent that it was able to anticipate Ferrari’s 'surprise’ pole in Monaco. PAT SYMONDS explains what this means for this season and beyond

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021