Jan Charouz, Renault, Abu Dhabi, 2011

FIA “aiming to ban” reactive ride height adjustment

F1 Fanatic round-upPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

In the round-up: Williams’ Mark Gillan says the FIA has issued a technical directive aimed at banning reactive ride height systems of the kind developed by Lotus.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

The Flying Lap With Peter Windsor (Speed)

Williams chief operating officer Mark Gillan on reactive ride height systems: “The FIA have just banned that particular type of system. […] From a cursory look it looks as though they are aiming to ban that type of system.”

F1 Fanatic via Twitter

Lotus’s new F1 site says their car will be launched on February 5th. Added to the F1 Fanatic calendar.”

F1 2012: Rules, Designs and Trends (ScarbsF1)

“With so much of the car fixed within the regulation, it?s becoming the sidepods that are the main area of freedom for the designers. Last year we saw four main sidepod concepts; conventional, Red Bull low\tapered, McLaren U-shape and Toro Rosso?s undercut.”

Technical analysis – 2012 exhaust restrictions (F1)

“For 2012 the FIA has effectively banned blown diffusers by placing new restrictions on the positioning of exhaust exits.”

Reactive Ride Height and J Dampers Explained (Will Buxton)

“J-damper: one bouncy thing offsets another bouncy thing.”

Everything to prove (Sky)

Mike Gascoyne: “It will be a much more current car than the last two cars we’ve been able to design. It’s probably a bigger step forward compared to the 2011 car. In 2010 our car was obviously very basic because we didn’t have much time to do it and we always said the 2011 car would be a big step forward. What’s exciting for me is that the 2012 car is probably a bigger step forward in terms of refinement of design than we made in 2011.”

HRT insist they will race despite ‘critical delays’ (BBC)

“Rumours that we will take part in the initial Grands Prix with the 2011 car are not true. The target is to be at the second test with the new car.”

Marussia targets second test for new car (Autosport)

Pat Symonds: “We are aiming for the second. We are going to be at the first test anyway because I think it’s important for Charles [Pic] to get some miles under his belt and it shakes some of the cobwebs off of the team.”

Hamilton to be called to court as star witness in GBH trial of German driver Sutil (Daily Mail)

[Lewis] Hamilton will have to head directly from the trial to attend the launch of the 2012 McLaren car on February 1.”

Interview with PURE’s Craig Pollock

“There has been the news of Peugeot pulling out (of endurance racing) ?ǣ and we were fairly inside that this might happen. They are around the Paris area with facilities, offices and test benches; not of the quality necessary for a Formula 1 engine, but it wouldn?t take too much to convert it into a Formula 1 test bench. It would potentially be the cheapest way going forward.”

Piecing It All Together: From the White Board to the Dirt Mound (The Austin Grand Prix)

“This is a panoramic photo taken from atop turn one, the most south-eastern point of the circuit, facing west.”

Giedo van der Garde via Twitter

“Guys, everybody asking me about F1 but at the moment I can’t say anything! Please be patient. But thank you very big about the positive messages! It means a lot. Keep following!”

Follow F1 news as it breaks using the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app.

Comment of the day

Yesterday’s discussion about which teams will still be in F1 in ten years’ time naturally led to a debate on how to encourage new teams to come into the sport. Here’s Junpei’s thoughts.

I?d rather see a “Tier 2” F1 championship, with same rules as F1. The winner of this replaces the last place runner of the current F1 grid every year, much like in certain football leagues.

This would let teams come in with a lower budget, and learn everything while competing with teams of similar experience/budget. My problem with GP2 is that it?s just too different from F1, and too much like other lower formulas, so all that technical competition is almost non-existent.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

No F1 Fanatic birthdays today. If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

When testing is so tightly restricted today, it’s almost surprising to recall that just a few years ago teams would often test at multiple venues at once.

Ten years ago today McLaren and Sauber were testing in Barcelona and Ferrari had the Valencia circuit to themselves.

106 comments on “FIA “aiming to ban” reactive ride height adjustment”

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  1. Great rambling speech, but its been banned.

  2. Yeah, according to Autosport it’s been banned now.


    “Odd” is the least offensive word I can think of to describe this.

    If the FIA do not have the in-house know-how to determine whether a system is legal or not from a completely technical point of view in two years, perhaps they should start hiring some engineers. Confirming that something is legal one day and then back-tracking only a couple of days later after rival teams protest or submit designs of their own is just silly. Banning something 3 weeks before the launch of a car designed with it in mind, when you’ve known about it for 2 years prior, reeks of ulterior motives or the desire to steer results, regardless of whether these motives and desires exist or not.

    In case someone is going to say that this is because the FIA want to prevent a spending war: that is irrelevant. If you don’t want a spending war, you make it a one-make format. As it is, there’s an agreement of sorts to keep spending within limits. It should be up to the teams how they spend the funds inside these limits and if in this case Lotus have had the foresight to spend theirs on something they planned on using 2 years down the line, that’s good business sense and they should not be punished for it by making them redesign their car now.

    1. If the FIA do not have the in-house know-how to determine whether a system is legal or not from a completely technical point of view in two years, perhaps they should start hiring some engineers.

      Do you honestly believe that Lotus told the FIA absolutely everything there was to know about the RRH back in January 2010? Particularly when it was in their interests not to tell the FIA everything?

      1. As long as i know Lotus was under constant FIA supervision about RRA and it wasn’t anything new to to them.

      2. I believe they told the FIA as little as they thought they could get away with and still have the resulting judgement be relevant to the design of the system on the car. And there is no doubt in my mind that there are different views possible on whether that last bit is the case or not.

        But I also have no doubt that this u-turn is brought on by input from one or more of the other teams. There are two types of input possible: technical and legalese. If technical, it is entirely possible that someone with more technical know-how explained something of the workings to the FIA that they hadn’t considered before. Hence my assertion that they should hire engineers so they can subsequently stand by the rulings they make on even terms with the teams’ technical objections.

        If the input was of a legal nature, this latest ruling is bullsh**. Two years is more than enough to judge a system on its “legal” and “philosophical” compliance to the rules and a couple of days of to-and-fro-ing with other teams should not be enough to change that.

    2. Agree 100%.
      This all situation just discredit FIA. Keep going guys

  3. So a week ago, the FIA declared the device legal. Now, they’ve declared it illegal… top marks for consistency.

  4. I really wish prisoner monkeys would stop being so defensive against anyone with a different viewpoint to his.

    its a very simple and understandable concept of why everyone is complaining. the FIA are changing the rules when the 2012 cars are already well into its development cycle. What makes it worst is that the teams clarified the rules before embarking on this design direction. No matter the ‘spirit’ of the rules or for any other reason, it would be unfair to change the rules at this point of time as you do not know how much performance loss this RRD will cost. It would be more logical for the rules to be changed for 2013 instead.

    And why should anybody have the power to design which rules should be changed and which should not just because some concepts are harder to understand than others? its ridiculous.

    1. the FIA are changing the rules when the 2012 cars are already well into its development cycle

      They’re doing it because they have rules the systems to be illegal. They can’t just say “Oh, you can keep your RRH because your car is so far along”. If they did, then all the teams would have to do is keep illegal parts from the FIA for as long as possible, and then they would be allowed to run them because the car was already highly-developed.

  5. I don’t see why FIA needs to ban this system.
    They made the rules like they were, lets see where this innovation takes them in a years time.
    I don’t see why they need to restrict innovation like that. They make the rules which restricts the teams, which is reasonable, but why should they even have the ability to ban a system that is effectively legal under current regulations?
    Systems that might be dangerous, fair enough. But lets see what those guys can come up with instead and if they feel the need to ban it they can do it before the 2013 season.
    I don’t think FIA should decide what innovations are right and which are “wrong” for F1.
    Who in the ’60s would have thought that the wings on F1 cars would be used on road cars a few decades later?
    To take another example, who thought that the space race would give human kind one of the recent times most important innovation, the micro processor?
    My point is, innovations comes from all kind of different areas. A lot of it is useless to us, and most of it might seem stupid at first, but then suddenly someone finds an application for it.
    The tech in a F1 car might not even be used on road cars in the future. We might see a component in our ovens that was a result of the development race in F1.
    That is why I don’t think they should restrict innovations after the rules are written.
    They should make the rules, let the teams build and race a car under those regulations for a year and then adjust according to the rules made for the year after that.
    Sometimes that might be bad for the championship and the racing, but at least it remains a sport and we won’t get these stupid situations like when they tried to ban EBD in July last year. It only ended up messy, and raised doubt whether FIA was doing it to make the championship more exciting or not.
    If a system isn’t dangerous i think it should stand, at least until the next year.

    1. because it breaks the current rules, simple. How they made the mistake and claimed it legal is beyond me and a great number of other people.
      So it had to be explained to the FIA how it breaks the current rules, so what, the FIA doe not have engineers of the same calibrate as those in the teams, its no wonder they get things wrong, but they have corrected their mistake now.

      Well done the FIA :-)

  6. Just wondering – Would Colin Chapman wish to be involved in todays F1 ? I think not. Why doesn’t the FIA institute a spec car formula and be done with it. As a technical exercise F1 becomes more of a joke every year.

  7. http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/97127
    It has happend sistem i banned
    FIA is killing inovations.

  8. Ben Wilkinson
    21st January 2012, 16:41

    What they need to do is raise the suspencion and sofen it so down the straights the downforce decreaces and braking it increaces! !

  9. I just read on the BBC website that the FIA have definitely banned the system under Article 3.15 of the F1 technical regulations which requires that any aerodynamic effect created by the suspension should be incidental to its primary function. Also the cars aerodynamic surfaces “must remain immobile in relation to the spring part of the car”.

    As far as I’m concerned the breach of article 10 would have been enough to ban it. It seems to me there are at least two regulations it breaches now.

    What were Lotus and the FIA thinking? Maybe they should both sit down and read the rules!!!!

    By the way I have nothing against innovation. It’s part of the fascination of Formula 1, but if a rule can be innovated around most likely it’s a bad framed rule rather than a good innovation.

    I can’t wait for the season to start now!

  10. I think something to remember with regard to it been decaled legal but later banned is that these things often happen when a new device becomes public knowledge because its then other teams put forward arguments as to why its not legal.

    For all those saying innovation in F1 is dead, In just the past few years we have had Double diffusers, Blown diffusers, F-Duct’s, Flexible wings which pass every test, forward facing exhust’s, wheel nuts built into the rims for faster stops & some more.

    OK several of those have been banned however the ban on these systems (Double diffusers, blown diffusers, F-duct) was put forward by FOTA (The teams) & not the FIA!

    One more points, the FIA never actualy officially decalred the system legal!

  11. I can’t see why they should ban Reno’s reactive suspension/brakes because it’s been used on motorcycles and speedway cars for years! Bikes use a link from the rear caliper (which pivots) to the frame to counteract the increase of rake when braking, also bikes have used front anti dive controled by the hydraulic pressure that activates the caliper, or the phisical reaction of the caliper to push a lever or a button to alter the bump valving in the forks th reduce dive. And I’m refering to road bikes, not just racing bikes!

    1. I can’t see why they should ban Reno’s reactive suspension/brakes

      Because it is illegal under the rules.

      1. Depends on how you interperate them! And that depends on where your biases lie, and where your loyalties are!

  12. Im thankful for the blog.Much thanks again. Keep writing.

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