Aerodynamics key to reactive ride ban

F1 Fanatic round-up

In the round-up: the FIA’s decision to ban reactive ride height systems is linked to their perceived aerodynamic function.

Links

Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

FIA ban new technical innovation developed by Lotus and Ferrari (BBC)

“Insiders say that, once it became clear its main role was to improve aerodynamics, banning it was a ‘no-brainer’.”

Vettel to step up a gear in 2012? (James Allen)

Dietrich Mateschitz: “Sebastian [Vettel] has improved and is stronger than ever. He has prepared during the winter break like never before and he will certainly not let us down.”

Horner excited to see STR duo’s fight (Autosport)

“[Daniel Ricciardo and Jean-Eric Vernge] are two of the most exciting talents on the periphery of F1. To put them in the same environment gives us a much better visibility in terms of seeing how they progress.”

Bruno Senna shows promise but not Uncle Ayrton’s F1 genius at Williams (The Guardian)

“The genius that distinguished his uncle has not made itself apparent, which is no surprise since most authorities would place Ayrton Senna among the half-dozen greatest drivers in the sport’s history. His much repeated remark ?ǣ ‘If you think I’m good, you should see my nephew’ ?ǣ has yet to be substantiated but, of course, it was made when Bruno was a small boy, before the tragedy at Imola in 1994 led him to put his racing career on hold for 10 years.”

Surtees: I fear for young Brits (The Sun)

“It’s a shame there is no scholarship system or ladder in place. The only alternative for getting drives is a big bag of gold.”

Gene rockets down the Doha sea front – Twenty thousand witness Ferrari?s first appearance in Qatar (Ferrari)

“A crowd of 20,000 watched Marc Gene do a demonstration run in an F2008 on the Doha cornice this afternoon.”

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

Comment of the day

Fernando Alonso, Stefano Domenicali, Wrooom, 2012

"Fernando, use the best of your hair, we know how big it is."

We were treated to many great caption competition suggestions from Sennanumbr1, Dutch Tweeet, Blunt and Magnificent Geoffrey.

I have to give a special mention to Yddo whose suggestion I really liked.

But after much consideration and chuckling I plumped for Dan Thorn’s offering, which you can see on the caption.

From the forum

Planning a trip to the first race of the season in Melbourne? Join the group here:

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Nathan and Salut Gilles!

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

Today in 1959 Mike Hawthorn, who had been crowned world champion just three months earlier, lost his life in a road accident.

Advert | Go Ad-free

103 comments on Aerodynamics key to reactive ride ban

  1. matthewf1 (@) said on 22nd January 2012, 1:22

    I don’t get the comment of the day

  2. Eggry (@eggry) said on 22nd January 2012, 1:47

    I think banned reactive ride height system won’t impact on Ferrari much. after all, they’re the one who asked FIA whether it’s legal or illegal. but I don’t know about Lotus.

    • Mike (@mike) said on 22nd January 2012, 2:38

      This must be quite a blow to Lotus and Merc. (Merc were reportedly implementing the system as well.

      Honestly I think it’s vastly unfair. Lotus have obviously pioneered this, and it would have taken resources away from the rest of their development. I mean, when we have EBD staying legal for a whole year, why does this get banned straight away?

      If the FIA had previously said the system was legal, I think it’s a travesty that they turn around now and ban it.

      What annoys me the most, and I’m having a hard time keeping my language clean, is that Red Bull and later Ferrari were using flexible wings all year! There is a specific rule that is designed to (but failed) to ban that! Why was that allowed but this not?

      The Cynic in me wonders if Red Bull, Mclaren or Ferrari had been the pioneer would the outcome be the same.

      I don’t mind them banning them for next year, but unless they pose a distinct risk to safety? Then this is rather disgusting.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd January 2012, 3:08

        Lotus have obviously pioneered this, and it would have taken resources away from the rest of their development.

        That’s their fault, then. When they approached the FIA in 2010, they probably said “we have this idea, and it improves the stability of the car through the corners”. They wouldn’t have mentioned the aerodynamic benefits, because they would have known that the FIA would have banned it on the spot. So they probably played up the stability and mechanical grip elements of the RRH, and glossed over any aerodynamic gain. Because that’s what the teams do: they look for downforce wherever they can get it, and if that means being a little liberal with the truth, then they have no qualms against it. And then there’s the way the FIA relaxed its stance on moveable aerodynamic parts, first allowing adjustable front wings and then the DRS. So Lotus probably felt that it was worth developing and holding onto for the future.

        I know this probably sounds like my favourite phrase, but I disagree. I don’t think this is a case of Lotus spending two years and millions of dollars developing the RRH, only for the FIA to ban it at the eleventh hour. I think you’ll find that they knew perfectly well what they were doing when they approached the FIA, and that they were less than up-front about it when it came to aerodynamic gains. I also think you’ll find that Lotus only really spent one year developing this instead of two. They probably intended to run it in 2011, but when Robert Kubica had their accident, they decided to keep it to themselves for a season. And although Kubica will not start the 2012 season, they do have Kimi Raikkonen.

        when we have EBD staying legal for a whole year, why does this get banned straight away?

        Because the FIA learned the hard way from the OTBD saga. They probably figure that as RRH systems get more and more sophisticated, their legality will be increasingly questionable. So in order to avoid a repeat of last year’s farce, they put a blanket ban on the concept from the start, thereby preventing any nasty little mid-season political rows.

        What annoys me the most, and I’m having a hard time keeping my language clean, is that Red Bull and later Ferrari were using flexible wings all year! There is a specific rule that is designed to (but failed) to ban that! Why was that allowed but this not?

        The flexing wings are deemed legal because they pass all of the load tests.

        • Mike (@mike) said on 22nd January 2012, 3:57

          I can’t agree, just because of the precedents set in the last year. I think this, being a new system, would fall under 2.5 of the Technical regulations. And I think it should be protected by that.

          I disagree strongly with

          The flexing wings are deemed legal because they pass all of the load tests.

          Yes, you are right, however, The reason these tests are put in place is to prevent moving bodywork. This is a fundamental part of the regulations and the intention behind the rules is very obvious.

          In the past the FIA has cracked down on movable aerodynamics that are “against the spirit of the rules”. The obvious one is Ferrari’s Flexi floor, (I think).

          What I’m trying to say is, the reason the rules are in place is to stop movable bodywork, the rules obviously are insufficient. But I don’t agree that the FIA can’t do anything about it.

          I rather hope they improve things for next year, because unlike reactive suspension, I don’t believe movable bodywork has any useful future to either F1 or the real world.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd January 2012, 4:13

            I don’t think reactive suspension has much use in road cars, though. Not like KERS or sequential and seamless-shift gearboxes. The RRH was designed to make minute adjustments – we’re talking millimetres here – and would be of the most benefit under heavy braking, the kind of braking that you don’t really do in a road car, since road cars rarely get up to 300km/h.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 22nd January 2012, 4:36

            I’d say stability under heavy braking would be a great safety feature, if not for day-to-day use.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd January 2012, 4:51

            That’s what ABS brakes are for.

            The RRH is not a safety feature. It’s designed for performance. It was designed to negate the shift in mass under braking so that the driver could turn in to the apex sooner. And it only makes miniscule adjustments – like I said, adjustments of mere millimetres. Making the car safer doesn’t come into it, especially since Formula 1 cars have a completely different suspension assembly to road cars, and the entire RRH device is based on the way that assembly works.

          • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 22nd January 2012, 8:39

            @prisoner-monkeys I’m agreeing with your comment; except you’ve got what the system does; wrong.

            The RRH negates the “diving” motion the car does when under heavy braking. Weight will still be transferred. In fact you want massive weight transfer to the front as this actually HELPS the car to turn in. That’s what the whole practice of trail braking is based upon.

            @matt90 in cars; as @prisoner-monkeys has said; it’s called ABS. It’s not braking stability as such but it basically doesn’t let the car lock its brakes. Even for turning in a lot of road cars have ESP and ASR systems to help stability.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd January 2012, 8:48

            However it works, the point is that since the RRH only makes minute adjustments, and advantage it offers is already overshadowed by existing devices like ABS that do the same thing and more. Adding an RRH to a road car would be a bit like adding a glass of water to a swimming pool and then saying you have raised the water level. Sure, you have … but the difference is miniscule.

          • verstappen (@verstappen) said on 22nd January 2012, 8:57

            I posted this at Joe Saward a few days ago:
            I remeber tha Porsche 928 had an anti dive (under braking) and anti squad (while accelarating) system. This was mentioned in à book called Fantastische auto’s.

            So…
            – it’s not entirely new, 928 is from late ’70’s
            – it Has been used on à roadcar before

            Now one more thing @Prisoner-monkeys I can’t believe LRGP had that system and didn’t use it because they had ‘unworthy’ drivers. If you think about price money in F1, it’s would’ve been outrageously stupid to not use it.
            I think they could’t get it right, and probably they needed to adjust too much on their car to retrofit it.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd January 2012, 9:18

            I can’t believe LRGP had that system and didn’t use it because they had ‘unworthy’ drivers.

            The RRH system is not like an off-throttle blown diffuser – the car doesn’t have to be designed around it. It’s a fairly independent system, and while it might call for larger brake calipers or thicker pull-rods, these could be resdesigned with ease without affecting overall performance.

            And you’re also forgetting that the first step of Eric Boullier’s decision process seems to be “shoot self in foot to make sure gun is loaded”.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 22nd January 2012, 14:20

            Yes I know what ABS is and how it works. My point wasn’t that it was a substitute for it at all.

          • BBT (@bbt) said on 22nd January 2012, 19:51

            Movable aerodynamic devices also include the wheels, suspension and steering arms and struts, all covered by the “rules.”

            No, because aero is not their primary function and they are therefore not classified as aero devices, none of the items you mentioned are aero devices. The front wing, diffuser, tray, floor, spliters, rear wing, side pods etc are however.

          • Asanator (@asanator) said on 23rd January 2012, 9:57

            Look at all of your arguments for and against RRH, in none of them have you mentioned aerodynamic benefits, which is why I am annoyed about the ban, yes the aerodynamic benefits of having a stable ride height is clear, but the function of the device is not for aerodynamic gain, but for mechanical stability under braking. Ride height control is a fundamental part of the mechanics of building a sports car of any type and is one of the reasons they all have stiffer suspension than road cars, to stop body roll (be that side to side or front to back).

            With this ruling, does that mean that anti-roll bars and/or torsion bars are now deemed moveable aerodynamic devices?

        • John H (@john-h) said on 22nd January 2012, 11:27

          There’s no doubt that Flexi-wings are a movable aerodynamic device.

          Yes they pass the load test, but why don’t the FIA test the cars when they move and not just putting bricks on the ends of the wings.

          This is the incompetence of the FIA regulations department that people on here are frustrated at PM.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 22nd January 2012, 14:33

            I do understand, that the FIA has come up with a changed test again this year (I think ScarbsF1 mentioned it).

            But I agree with you that its frustrating to have these yes-no things as often as they do occur @john-h, only good thing is, if they at least say so before the season gets going instead of doing it mid season.

          • Mike (@mike) said on 22nd January 2012, 15:29

            Why can’t they just say, “if a car is seen at any point during the race and qualifying sessions to have a significant amount of flex in the front wing, it will be at risk of revising a penalty at the stewards discretion.”

          • Paul A (@paul-a) said on 22nd January 2012, 15:37

            Movable aerodynamic devices also include the wheels, suspension and steering arms and struts, all covered by the “rules.” All body parts “move” to some extent, however small, as there is no known material with zero elasticity — and all that the rule makers can do is define “how much” and set a control and test procedure. You simplify it as “bricks on the wing” and suggest testing the cars “when they move” but try and define that. At 200 mph? On a bumpy track? In turbulence or with a cross wind? Under braking or acceleration? It would be a very, very expensive nightmare leading to yet more lack of understanding and enjoyment of F1.
            The FIA “write the rules” and the teams “interpret” them to get the fastest car.
            Where I am in full agreement with you is over changing them too often, at the last moment, mid-season, after jealousy-based protests, etc. This truly and fundamentally hurts the sport.

          • John H (@john-h) said on 22nd January 2012, 20:44

            Good point well made Paul. Of course nothing is infinitely stiff, but my issue is that the tests have not kept up with progress in material science, for example the cross layering of carbon fibres.

            When you see a Ferrari scraping the edges of the front wing on the track in order to test a deliberately flexing wing then you have to question whether this is ‘innovation’ or whether its just ridiculous.

            The suspension, wheels, etc are different because the regs treat them differently to the main body of the car. This was the loop hole that Lotus exploited with the ride height.

            I’m not asking for black and white, just an improvement which yes, a straight line test would help with and wouldn’t cost the earth. Bricks on the end of the wing, that is what the test is, do not cut the mustard for me.

    • Osvaldas31 (@osvaldas31) said on 22nd January 2012, 10:03

      FIA should just ban development, freeze current cars and they would be very happy I assume, because it seems, that they don’t like creativity.

    • Kest (@kest) said on 22nd January 2012, 13:00

      To be fair I wouldn’t be surprised if we still say these devices in some manner. All a team has to do is prove it’s primary function isn’t to improve aero.

      I doubt it should be that difficult to argue that its primary purpose was to ensure stability and therefore grip, especially on the rear of the car when heavy braking into a corner. The aero benefit is therefore secondary.

  3. F1Yankee (@f1yankee) said on 22nd January 2012, 1:53

    wow, great caption! :D

    if i had worked with a regulating body over the conformity of my plans, and committed money, just to have them suddenly reverse themselves…forget leaving the sport, i’d blow up the offices.

  4. Rammstein (@rammstein123) said on 22nd January 2012, 2:15

    Go Vettel. All of Germany support’s you.

  5. Carlito's way said on 22nd January 2012, 2:20

    Its absolutely unacceptable for the governing body to allow an innovation August, September in the year, the team spends time and the ever so scarce resources developing and fine running the idea and two weeks before the new car is due it’s first shakedown they go back and decide to ban said idea. I wonder if it had been Ferrari instead of Lotus…

    • ed24f1 (@ed24f1) said on 22nd January 2012, 2:45

      I agree, it’s been handled very poorly. The FIA are surely not stupid enough to think that it wasn’t based on aerodynamic gain from the start?

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd January 2012, 4:55

      Its absolutely unacceptable for the governing body to allow an innovation August, September in the year, the team spends time and the ever so scarce resources developing and fine running the idea and two weeks before the new car is due it’s first shakedown they go back and decide to ban said idea.

      Do you honestly think that Lotus are an innocent victim here? You can bet your bottom dollar that when the FIA asked about details of the RRH, Lotus made no mention of the aerodynamic benefits it offered.

      I agree, it’s been handled very poorly.

      It appears that one of the teams – Williams, I suspect – started plough through the RRH and realised that while the system offered all of the stability that Lotus said it would, it also had obvious aerodynamic gains that they had overlooked, and convinced the FIA that they were wrong. I don’t see what the FIA have done wrong, except maybe accept Lotus’ explanation of the system on good faith.

      • graham228221 (@graham228221) said on 22nd January 2012, 9:15

        wait wait wait

        the system offered all of the stability that Lotus said it would, it also had obvious aerodynamic gains that they had overlooked

        As usual, you’re stating this as a stone cold fact which it may well be – but hasn’t this been obvious from the start?

        The system helps the car’s stability under braking by keeping the ride height more or less at the same level. Ride height = downforce.

        Yeah there’s the weight issue as well, but why and how would the FIA miss the simple fact that a constant ride height would mean more constant aerodynamics when this system was first presented to them?

        For me, it doesn’t make any sense for the FIA to say it’s legal except that it panicked about another row about a technical innovation detracting from “the show”. Rather silly in my opinion.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd January 2012, 9:21

          Yeah there’s the weight issue as well, but why and how would the FIA miss the simple fact that a constant ride height would mean more constant aerodynamics when this system was first presented to them?
          Because Lotus would convince them that the aerodynamic gain offered is minimal and would only be an indirect result of the stability system. In other words, they would convince the FIA that aerodynamic gain was not its primary purpose.

          • bananarama (@bananarama) said on 22nd January 2012, 12:53

            Back in the day, tes would send the FIA some of their plans when in doubt it is legal with a brief word on what it is and the answer they’d get is just legal or illegal, without explanation. So there never was a real discussion on how things work, what exactly they do, what your grandma had for lunch 5 days ago. But that may have changed without me noticing it, I’m sorry if it has and I’m wrong.

      • verstappen (@verstappen) said on 22nd January 2012, 11:06

        I think it is à perfect example of incompetence of FIA.

        Somehow they always appear to be governing à sport they don’t understand. From Abu Dahbi when it was first spotted, all journalists immediately understood tha aerodynamic advatages. And FIA totally missed it, while à big part of their job is to not be fooled by F1teams.
        Foolish Incompetence Again!

      • DVC (@dvc) said on 22nd January 2012, 12:15

        What evidence do you have that Lotus misrepresented the system?

      • west (@west) said on 22nd January 2012, 17:36

        Lotus and ferrali RRH systems where totally different thats the why FIA ban it PM can you dig more into that, you seem to have more technical no how.x

  6. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 22nd January 2012, 2:28

    Those words of Aryton on Bruno weren’t said in a positive way? as the elder Senna loves his sister so definitely will have a soft spot for his nephew. But what if that tragic never would have happened for sure Aryton would gave been the driver mentor & manager for Buno,creating a leathel weapon???

    • DavidS (@davids) said on 22nd January 2012, 7:45

      Not only that, he only started racing in 2004. He didn’t have the benefit of many years racing in junior formula that his contemporaries have.

      If Ayrton had lived, not only would he have a great mentor, but he probably wouldn’t have had a 10 year hiatus.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 22nd January 2012, 14:39

        I would say a hiatus would have never occurred to the Senna family in that case.

        On the other hand, If Bruno now still develops into a respectable driver and race winner, In my opinion its more his achievement and it has prepared him far better for some of the hardships in life and develop a personality these guys like ALG, Hamilton, Maldonado, who were racing all their lives are only now starting to learn.

        • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 22nd January 2012, 17:03

          @BasCB I didn’t have any idea that Bruno took such a large gap out of his career. Coming 2nd in GP2 a few years ago is a good enough achievement. It will be interesting to see his approach in what will hopefully be his first full season.

      • matt90 (@matt90) said on 22nd January 2012, 18:21

        And that was only 7 races. His first full season of racing was only 2005.

  7. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd January 2012, 3:47

    There will be no celebrity race at the Australian Grand Prix. Now, can we please get GP2 down here instead?

    • SouthPawRacer (@southpawracer) said on 22nd January 2012, 4:00

      If there was a +1 button, I’d click it.

    • Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 22nd January 2012, 10:04

      Again another failed attempt by the organizers of Australian GP of making the event more beneficial to the the state and country. Can we start a petition to sack Ron Walker and associates?

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd January 2012, 10:22

        Again another failed attempt by the organizers of Australian GP of making the event more beneficial to the the state and country.

        I don’t think that’s what’s happening here at all. I think the celebrity race is trying to make the race more attractive to audiences and therefore get bigger crowds, because the Australian Grand Prix is nearly overwhelmed with support events. In addition to Formula 1, there are races for the V8 Supercars, V8 Utes, Touring Car Masters, Formula Ford and Formula 5000. The celebrity race would have been another support event.

    • Hamish (@hamish) said on 22nd January 2012, 10:24

      Well in this day and age, what does it take to become a celebrity? I recall being at the race and the most commonly said word by those around me was “who?”.

      It was a race of nobodies. Heck, my old boss was in it and all he is is an accountant from Sydney. Yes he married a TV personality and is of substantial wealth, but hes not a celebrity.

  8. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 22nd January 2012, 7:10

    And the FIA’s desire to shut down all forms of creative thinking in F1 strikes again. This is really pathetic, if the FIA want F1 to be a spec series, then just do it. But if they want F1 to be the pinnacle of motorsport and the place where the best engineers showcase the best solutions within ever tightening technical regulations, then they had better stop banning concepts like this before they have even been raced. The FIA’s view these days seems to be “If we don’t understand it, ban it.”

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd January 2012, 7:41

      @geemac

      And the FIA’s desire to shut down all forms of creative thinking in F1 strikes again.

      Based on some of the comments that have been made on the subject, it appears that one or more of the teams convinced the FIA that the system was illegal. If one of those teams came forward tomorrow and said “We tried dozens of variations on the system, and the one thing they all had in common was that they all offered a significant aerodynamic advantage by moving parts of the car, and is therefore illegal”, what would be your reaction to it? The FIA were perfectly willing to allow this system to be used a week ago. Something has obviously changed since then, and this is what the BBC article has to say about it:

      the governing body initially felt the device in question was a part of the suspension and did not contravene that area of the rules, but insiders say that once it became clear its main role was to improve aerodynamics, banning it was a “no-brainer”

      Evidently, they have been somehow convinced that there was more to the RRH than originally believed, and I think you’ll find that it was one of the teams (my guess is Williams) that persuaded them of it.

      So, please, tell me – how does a team demonstrating that an innovative new design is illegal under the FIA’s technical regulations translate to an FIA agenda of “shutting down all forms of creativity”? I’m sure the FIA are more than willing to allow creative thought in design, but most of the time, this creative thought comes from exploiting loopholes in the regulations. As we have seen time and time again, the teams have been perfectly willing to push the boundaries of what is legal in order to gain a tenth of a second on-track. Innovation deserves to be applauded. Innovation that amounts to cheating deserves to be condemned.

      • Mike (@mike) said on 22nd January 2012, 7:54

        Only, this wasn’t exploiting a loop hole, or at least, no more than many other features on the cars today.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd January 2012, 8:01

          No, to me this feels like something that violated the rules from the outset, but when Lotus pitched it to the FIA, they downplayed any aerodynamic gain as being completely incidental. Look at the quote from the Beeb:

          suspension and did not contravene that area of the rules, but insiders say that once it became clear its main role was to improve aerodynamics, banning it was a “no-brainer”

          “Once it became clear”. That, to me, suggests that it was not clear until now. Likewise, “its main role”, which is pretty clear-cut: the RRH was designed for aerodynamic gain. So while Lotus might have told the FIA that the system was designed to make the car more stable under braking and that any aerodynamic grip it offered was merely a byproduct, I think it’s becoming pretty clear that the aerodynamic effects of the RRH were much, much greater than originally stated – so much so that the RRH is probably an aerodynamic aid first, and a stability control a distant second.

          • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 22nd January 2012, 9:08

            If it wasn’t clear to the FIA that the purpose of the device is aerodynamic then they are fools. Everyone knows that an F1 car’s aero works best when the ride height of the car is constant, that was the purpose of something else they banned (active suspension). The careful choice of words in the name Lotus gave the device (REactive ride height control) suggests Lotus anticipated the FIA would make the link themselves.

            To get back to my earlier point PM, this is a system which was, SOLELY on the reading of the regulations, perfectly legitimate, in much the same way that EDB’s and F-Ducts were. The FIA are using incredibly liberal interpretations of what constitutes a movable aerodynamic device to get rid of this system, and I get the impression that they are doing it hastily because they don’t fully understand what its purpose is.

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd January 2012, 9:13

            The FIA are using incredibly liberal interpretations of what constitutes a movable aerodynamic device to get rid of this system

            Not at all. The RRH uses hydraulic cylinders to alter the ride height of the car – or, perhaps more accurately, to prevent the ride height from being altered under normal braking conditions. This presents a clear, if somewhat indirect, aerodynamic gain. Bu not matter how indirect it is, it is still a moving part that offers aerodynamic benefits. If Lotus could find a way to implenet the system in such a way that it did not offer increased aerodynamic potential, the FIA would doubtless allow it.

          • DVC (@dvc) said on 22nd January 2012, 12:16

            The brake pedal also meets that definition. It moves and in so doing changes the ride height of the car. Let’s ban brakes as they are clearly aerodynamic devices.

          • DVC (@dvc) said on 22nd January 2012, 12:32

            To be honest PM, what I have a problem with is the FIA’s definition of what is an aerodynamic device. I don’t think there is a difference between an aerodynamic device and a device that influences the movement of the car such that it is in a more aerodynamic stance.

            The car itself is an aerodynamic device: floor, wings, etc. are all aerodynamicly designed and within the rules. A device that changes the way the car sits on the road shouldn’t be classified as an aerodynamic device because of that.

            If the car weren’t aerodynamically designed and the device had an aerodynamic effect, then it is an aerodynamic device and it should be classified as illegal, but that is not the case here.

          • DVC (@dvc) said on 22nd January 2012, 12:33

            That should be “I think there is a difference…”

          • Mike (@mike) said on 22nd January 2012, 13:56

            @DVC

            Spot on!

          • mr ROSSI (@mr-rossi) said on 23rd January 2012, 23:45

            i`d love to know who the “insiders” are !? ;)

        • HoHum (@hohum) said on 22nd January 2012, 22:44

          Reading about this when its aerodynamic advantages were being touted I couldn’t help but recall how RedBull were being accused of having a front wing that sagged downwards and gave an illegal benefit by being closer to the track and RedBulls defence that the wings only appeared to sag because the cars adopted a nose-down attitude, the aerodynamic benefits were taken as gospel then but now we are to believe that stopping a few millimetres of nose-dive and keeping the wing away from the tarmac benefits downforce, which is it ?
          It seems to me that during the few seconds of braking the airflow can remain attached at a greater angle of attack, especially as the speed of flow is decreasing, thereby increasing downforce. Is their something we are not being told ?

  9. alexf1man (@alexf1man) said on 22nd January 2012, 8:40

    Maybe front and rear wings should be banned too? This is a ‘no-brainer'; they give aerodynamic benefit.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd January 2012, 8:46

      But they’re legal under the rules. The RRH isn’t.

    • egsgeg said on 22nd January 2012, 8:57

      +1

      How dare they develop something which gives them an aerodynamic benefit?!

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd January 2012, 9:10

        They know what the rules are – and the rules say they cannot use anything that could be considered a moveable aerodynamic device. The FIA has clearly decided that the reactive ride-height stabiliser is exactly this.

        • Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 22nd January 2012, 10:06

          May I ask @Prisoner Monkeys what you do support?

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd January 2012, 10:24

            I support innovation, but I have no sympathy for teams that create something that is outside the rules and then complain when it gets banned (tough to their credit, Lotus apparently aren’t too bothered by this).

          • krildon said on 22nd January 2012, 11:40

            Why not ban F1 then? All these cars really are are (very)movable aerodynamic devices. To me it really seems like this was not completely FIA idea, but maybe strongly influenced by a certain red team. It’s just a shame because I really wanted a good car under Kimi this year. Would have been epic!

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 22nd January 2012, 14:24

            But yesterday you said you didn’t like the RRH because it was too complicated. That doesn’t sound like somebody who supports innovation.

        • coefficient (@coefficient) said on 23rd January 2012, 12:37

          Funny isn’t it how the device prevents the aero profiled parts moving by maintaining a constant attitude under braking and acceleration yet it is considered moveable aero?

          Why aren’t brakes considered a moveable aero device as the so clearly cause the cars to nosedive as they are applied?

          IMHO it was just a simple and interesting bit of tech that anyone could have fairly quickly copied as it falls outside of the homologation rules so they should have just let them run with it.

          Its just silly, especially at this stage when in this cost cutting era the money has already been spent.

  10. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 22nd January 2012, 9:03

    I think the problem with the reactive ride height is that the rule itself is open to multiple interpretations.

    From the BBC article:

    Article 3.15 of the F1 technical regulations requires that any aerodynamic effect created by the suspension should be incidental to its primary function.

    What if the device results in both mechanical and aerodynamic benefits, should it then be allowed if the mechanical gain in lap time is 0.2s and the aerodynamic benefit 0.1s? And would its legality then depend on the type of circuit you drive on, for instance if you gain more mechanical benefits at Monaco, but more aerodynamic benefits at Sepang?

    One thing is for sure, though, if the FIA had have done a better job with their earlier evaluations of the system, then there would not have been this last-minute ban. On the one hand, I agree with @prisoner-monkeys that if Lotus had developed an aerodynamic device, hoping the FIA wouldn’t find out, then it’s their problem if it’s now banned. On the other hand, if the benefits of the device are not that clear-cut, I don’t feel it’s up to them to advertise their device as “with this we are hoping to contravene regulation 3.15″.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 22nd January 2012, 9:15

      What if the device results in both mechanical and aerodynamic benefits, should it then be allowed if the mechanical gain in lap time is 0.2s and the aerodynamic benefit 0.1s?

      No. The rules are pretty clear: teams cannot use moving parts that offer an aerodynamic gain, no matter how slight that gain is.

      • Alex W said on 22nd January 2012, 11:03

        Shok absorbers have huge effect but are ok……

      • Technically, everything of a size greater than the size of a molecule that is not completely the same on its upper and lower surfaces has an aerodynamic effect. Among other things, this means Article 3.15 bans open-cockpit racing cars from F1 (past, present and future) unless there is an identical copy of the driver’s helmet underneath the car moving in exactly the same way as the actual driver of the car. In practise, the only legal way to race would be for everyone to turn up with bricks on wheels with a driver inside (since the wheels are part of the suspension system and thus exempt).

        While that rule is on the books, it is difficult to take any judgement the FIA makes upon it seriously.

  11. Pure anti-FIA hysteria going on this board today. Personally, I agree with PM: lotus were probably liberal with some of the details when they were pitching the system to the FIA in the first place. Bearing in mind that not everyone they give this sort of information to is a tech expert, saying things like

    If it wasn’t clear to the FIA that the purpose of the device is aerodynamic then they are fools.

    doesn’t quite ring true – especially given that this new ruling was made when it was.determined the devices primary function was to influence aerodynamics.

    • There is nothing about primary function in the aero regulations. Provided the component only moves when the rest of the car does, is securely attached to the rest of the car, doesn’t change ride height, doesn’t respond to driver adjustment and complies with bodywork requirements, Article 3.15 should theoretically allow it even if the item is classed as having an aero effect of some sort.

      In practise the Article only ever seems to be invoked for items not breaking those regulations, possibly because anything with mass will change a car’s ride height (depending on its location) and anything with volume larger than a molecule will have aero effect (thus technically subject to Article 3.15).

  12. Didn’t we here the same line regarding banning stuff a year ago? :/ Pointless.

  13. The Last Pope (@the-last-pope) said on 22nd January 2012, 10:31

    I forgot how ugly the cars were under the previous regulations. With the fisheye view it looks like Gene’s Ferrari has been crashed.

  14. Shimks (@shimks) said on 22nd January 2012, 10:55

    An FIA insider said Lotus and Ferrari seemed unconcerned at the decision to ban the [reactive ride] device.

    What an odd statement. I can’t believe anyone would put on a poker face in front of the FIA. So had the development of these devices proven not very advantageous? Was it all just posturing for some additional media attention? I doubt that too. You’d have thought that Lotus especially would have been absolutely gutted when hearing the time and resources spent on developing this device was to be for nothing. Maybe the teams’ representatives simply new beforehand what the outcome of the FIA’s meeting with them was to be – and so didn’t look shocked at the news?

    Very curious.

  15. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 22nd January 2012, 11:40

    How about that the system is clearly illegal according to the rules? I was surprised it even passed in the first place. Could it be that it was never given the stamp of legality, but just passed the initial scrutiny?

    Take this passage from the Autosport article on Ferrari’s plans:

    Ferrari has already developed its own version of the Lotus reactive ride-height system for its 2012 car, and is now just awaiting final approval from the FIA over its legality.

    Personally I would have like to have seen it allowed for just this one year, because there should be some creativity and reward for that. But it’s against the rules we already have. Last year the FIA looked completely stupid because it hadn’t realised the full effect of the OTBD until it had already been around for a year (that or they were just trying to stop Red Bull and make the championship closer, but we’ll go with the official reason for now) and tried to ban it mid-season, much to the derision of the fans. Now they’ve moved quickly but again are being called incompetent. I am no fan of the FIA but for once they have actually done their job correctly here. But because that is in conflict with a cherished wish for open regulations, they of course get criticised for it, falsely accused of flip-flopping in the rush to criticise them for daring to ban something new.

    I have to say that the reaction by many seems rather unfair. They didn’t ban it because it’s innovative, they banned it because it’s not legal and they did it the right way. Some credit for the FIA, please.

    • George (@george) said on 22nd January 2012, 12:56

      I agree for the most part, but they should have done so months ago when Lotus first sought clarification, rather than waiting until just before testing starts.

      What if this had been something that affected the crash structure (like an F-duct), even if they’d managed to redesign and manufacture the car they still wouldn’t be allowed to test it until it’d been through further crash tests.

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.