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Aston Martin AMR24 front suspension
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The science behind determining F1 suspension set-ups

PAT SYMONDS explains how teams arrive at the right stiffness setting to support the car but also to absorb the bumps

We have discussed in this column previously the importance of ride quality even in a stiffly sprung racing car, but the current Formula 1 aerodynamic regulations have led to teams getting maximum performance by running the cars very close to the ground. This very limited ground clearance leads to needing extremely stiff springs
to maintain the low ride heights under the immense downforce that’s trying to compress
the springs and tyres, and push the plank and the skids into the track.

These very stiff springs lead to a very harsh ride. Now the total vertical stiffness of a car is not just a function of the suspension springs. Any vertical load, whether it comes from the aerodynamic downforce or bumps in the road, also has to pass through the tyre – and the tyre is in itself a spring.

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