The problems with Ferrari’s front pull-rod suspension

F1 technology

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Melbourne, 2012Before the Malaysian Grand Prix the internet was awash with rumours Ferrari will introduce a B-spec car in the May test at Mugello.

We’ve heard similar claims in recent years when Ferrari have faltered early in the season. But despite Fernando Alonso’s surprise win in Malaysia it’s clear they have significant problems with the F2012.

Much attention has been focussed on its pull-rod front suspension. Last year most teams followed Red Bull’s lead in adopting pull-rod suspension at the rear of the car but Ferrari did not.

This year as well as using pull-rod suspension at the rear of their car, Ferrari have become the only team to use it at the front of the car.

The car has looked a handful to drive and was well over a second per lap off the pace in the dry in Sepang.

It’s doubtful this deficit is coming from a single area. It appears the exhaust position on their current car ?ǣ the so-called ‘Acer ducts’ ?ǣ needs to be changed in order to better seal the diffuser.

Ferrari will likely move the exhausts forward to allow more space to shape the airflow towards the floor. This would mean a change to the side-impact structure and therefore a new crash test.

The other question mark surrounds the front pull-rod suspension. Will the Scuderia persist with the system or abandon it in favour of a more traditional push-rod system?

In this short article we?ll examine the difference between the pull- and push-rod systems and how likely it is that Ferrari will make the switch back to push-rod.

The basics of suspension in an F1 car

An F1 car has a very small degree of suspension travel compared to a road car. Its purposes are not just to make the car ride well over bumps, but to improve traction and aid aerodynamic performance.

The suspension controls for bumps on the track and roll when cornering, both which affect the handling of the car. This is very complex as there are many dimensions to the car’s motion, as we’ll see later.

Suspension plays a vital role in managing aerodynamics. If a constant ride height can be maintained the car’s aerodynamics work better.

Also the suspension arms and wishbones can act to manage airflow downstream. Packaging is also important ?ǣ the primary benefit of the rear pull rod was to reduce the centre of gravity (CoG) of the car (which we?ll see when we examine the front pull-rod in detail) and to create more space in the coke bottle zone to maximise airflow over the diffuser.

How push-rod suspension works

Ferrari's front pull-rod suspension image 1Most teams use a push-rod suspension system similar to that shown in the first illustration at the front of their cars.

The suspension arm, coloured blue, connects from the lower part of the wheel upright to a rocker located in the top-part of the chassis. The rocker connects the push-rod to a torsion bar and damper which manages ‘bump’ – i.e. the up and down movement of a wheel. The torsion bar is basically a spring but is twisted rather than compressed.

In addition there is an anti-roll bar which links the suspension across the chassis to control the degree of roll. This redistributes weight to the inside tyre, which helps traction. If you make the bar too stiff then when one wheel goes into bump the other follows and the car feels very unstable.

The final components are the inerter and heave spring. The heave spring manages vertical movement ?ǣ i.e., when both wheels rise or fall together. Lastly the inter is a very subtle component and is tuned to the natural frequency of the tyres and translates the oscillating motion of the rubber into rotational energy ?ǣ it is a spinning mass on a threaded bar ?ǣ again to improve traction.

Of course, not all the bump absorption takes place in the suspension: Wheel rubber flex accounts for around 30% of this total movement in an F1 car.

Pull-rod versus push-rod suspension

Ferrari's front pull-rod suspension image 2The next illustration shows a pull-rod set-up. The components and function are the same.

There are two differences: the suspension arm is connected from the top of the upright to the bottom of the chassis, and the internal components are lower in the chassis.

This set-up has two advantages over the push-rod. By placing the suspension components closer to the ground the centre of gravity is lower. Also the suspension arm is better able to condition airflow from the front wing towards the sidepod so in theory there is a small aerodynamic gain.

However, the chassis shape is constrained by FIA guidelines so the aero gain is not as great as it is when pull-rod suspension is used at the rear of the car.

There are two main disadvantages to front pull-rod suspension. One is that the the upper wishbone must transmit more load, some of which would otherwise have been carried by the push-rod. This means the chassis and wishbone needs to be strengthened ?ǣ see the yellow circle. This adds weight and negates somewhat the CoG gain.

The second disadvantage is it takes longer tune a pull-rod. This is important given the limited testing time in F1 today. Teams need to rapidly tune spring and damper settings and if the components are hidden away this is trickier and potentially reduces valuable track time.

Ferrari's front pull-rod suspension image 3In summary the net benefit of switching to a pull-rod is a (very) small aero gain at the expense of tuning simplicity. The final illustration shows the pull-rod and push-rod side-by-side and the difference in geometry and CoG are apparent.

However, Gary Anderson raised an interesting point in Autosport that may further comprise the front pull-rod set-up.

By connecting the push-rod to the wheel upright the driver can use steering angle to affect the suspension. Under steering the natural movement of the push-rod reduce load transfer across the chassis and effectively allows a softer set-up.

The opposite happens with a front pull-rod so it is connected to the wishbone rather than the upright to counter this effect. Hence all else being equal you need to run a stiffer suspension set-up which compromises mechanical grip.

In short, Anderson?s assertion is that the pull-rod also has mechanical compromises that more than offset the (small) aero gains.

Without having access to a dynamo data and proper car models, quantifying the effect is difficult. But the logic appears sound. There is no doubt that when Red Bull introduced the rear pull-rod with success teams will have evaluated a front pull-rod set-up as well. That only one team has adopted it suggests if there is a gain it likely is not worth the hassle.

What’s next for Ferrari?

Will Ferrari make the switch back to push-rod this year? Personally I don?t think so as it would be a massive admission of failure and the gain either way is minimal.

More likely is a switch back to push-rod for the 2013 car, unless the aero gains become more apparent in the re-design. Ferrari’s win in Malaysia makes things a little more interesting as the supposed mechanically disadvantaged pull-rod should not in theory yield benefit on a slippery surface.

However, the story of Ferrari?s victory (notwithstanding the tremendous efforts of Fernando Alonso) is in its ability to switch on the tyres in damp conditions better that its competitors, something which the Sauber appears even more adept at.

Their decision may be influenced by a desire to accommodate a Mercedes-style DRS-activated F-duct. Or that might serve as a useful excuse for abandoning the pull-rod set-up at the front of the car.

Ferrari are pinning their hopes on their May upgrade. Even if the updated packages works the Scuderia will struggle to catch up with McLaren and Red Bull as those teams have three months of experience in optimising the 2012 package and Ferrari will be starting from scratch.

Already the scene is set for a fascinating three days of testing in Ferrari’s backyard at Mugello in two months’ time.

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77 comments on The problems with Ferrari’s front pull-rod suspension

  1. caci99 (@caci99) said on 28th March 2012, 13:48

    Great explanation. Liked it very much.
    Anyway, thanks to Ferrari for using a pull-rod suspension, so now there is more discussion about
    suspensions, and better understanding of how they work.

    By connecting the push-rod to the wheel upright the driver can use steering lock to affect the suspension. In a tight corner full steering lock causes the push-rod to naturally extend on the inside tyre (compress on the outside tyre)

    Should it be pull-rod instead of push-rod?

  2. SteveH said on 28th March 2012, 13:50

    I think there is another factor to the pull-rod setup that wasn’t mentioned; the angle the pull-rod makes in relation to the upright affects the efficiency of the pull-rod and the loads passing through it as well as the total travel of the rod. If you look at the Ferrari drawing above (and it looks very much like the actual angles) you can see that for any wheel travel the pull-rod moves much less that the push-rod; there has to be a large multiplier effect with the bell-crank to get any shock travel at all, and this would make the car very sensitive and difficult to adjust for damping. With the angles seen in the Ferrari there would also be very large loads carried by the rod; I believe the load would be a tangent function of the angle. Previous front pull-rod setups didn’t have to deal with the very high noses we see in F1 today, and thus allowed much better attachment angles for the pull-rod. If you look at rear pull-rod suspensions you can see the much friendlier angles involved at the rear.

    • DamionShadows (@damionshadows) said on 28th March 2012, 15:22

      I agree totally. I was just looking at the drawings and thinking it would work better if they had a low nose like Mclaren.

    • John Beamer (@john-beamer) said on 28th March 2012, 15:50

      Given the loads are transmitted through the wishbone it is this angle that matters.

      • OOliver said on 28th March 2012, 18:33

        Although I haven’t looked at the diagrams, but the explanation given by SteveH appears to make sense, as it is another factor that influences setup. The fact the loads are transmitted through the wishbones doesn’t make any difference as you still have to tune the dampers. If you have millimeters of movement, that is a very small room to man play with as opposed to say, centimeters.

    • alelanza (@alelanza) said on 28th March 2012, 18:44

      I was about to say this when i read:

      One is that the the upper wishbone must transmit more load, some of which would otherwise have been carried by the push-rod.

      It really is the angles that make the difference here

    • No27Forever said on 2nd April 2012, 10:57

      That’s a misconception kicking around from when everyone used horizontal wishbones. You’re not factoring in the angle of the wishbones. The whole system considered as a triangle produces similar displacement.

      See http://www.vivaf1.com/blog/?p=10280 for explanation

  3. I Love The Pope said on 28th March 2012, 13:59

    This is great stuff, thanks! I am a nerd, though not of the engineering type, so it is fascinating to read up on this. I hope to understand this better, as I want to get involved in the local karting scene and need to know more about cars.

  4. nidzovski (@nidzovski) said on 28th March 2012, 14:25

    Thanks for helping us mortals to better understand this complicated (but can’t wait to see another race) sport. The best F1 info’s on the net.

  5. After soaking this piece in, which topped my newsfeed and truly looked sesational-im not impressed. The ‘typical’ benefits/detriments of either system are widely known, and discussed elsewhere to a higher degree of detail. None of this takes into account the accomidations in design of the f2012, and the general consesus between rational minds is you cannot…unless you have inside info.
    This is pure rhetoric combined with copy/paste info which may bear little relevance in the face of the facts, and the assertions of a staunch naysayer.

    • John Beamer (@john-beamer) said on 28th March 2012, 15:18

      The ‘typical’ benefits/detriments of either system are widely known, and discussed elsewhere to a higher degree of detail.

      Yes – there is nothing new here. I have purposefully tried to simplify the concepts to make it understandable for the readers. This is a site for F1 Fanatics not F1 Technical Experts. If you want a lot more detail about suspension design then this is not the article for you (or the site!).

      None of this takes into account the accomidations in design of the f2012, and the general consesus between rational minds is you cannot…unless you have inside info.

      I have no idea what this means – it makes no sense. Perhaps you can explain what accommodations in design of the F2012 you mean? Unlike the rear suspension the front suspension has much less effect on the car dynamics because it is housed in the chassis, which is dimensionally regulated.

      This is pure rhetoric combined with copy/paste info which may bear little relevance in the face of the facts, and the assertions of a staunch naysayer

      What facts are you talking about exactly? There is little rhetoric in this article — at most there is my opinion that Ferrari will struggle to catch up with McLaren/Red Bull through their May relaunch as they are behind on the experience curve. In today’s closed regulations it is very hard for constructors to leapfrog mid-season. In fact I can’t remember the last time it happened.

  6. smokinjoe (@smokinjoe) said on 28th March 2012, 14:31

    Last year, Ferrari fired their chief designer Aldo Costa (who is now employed at Mercedes-Petronas)on grounds that he had poorly designed the F150 Italia. Now, it is safe to say that newly appointed chief designer Nick Tombazis has done an even poorer job.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 28th March 2012, 17:13

      Aldo Costa hadn’t done a great job last year, but he didn’t take any risks or think innovatively. This year Tombazis just tried to differentiate himself and take risks without probably thinking everything through. At the end of the day the benefit of the front pull rod suspension was supposed to be minimal, but the risk of failure was high.

      The only other car to try this front pull rod suspension has been a Minardi, so I was skeptical of Ferrrari’s appraoch right from the start.

      • SteveH said on 28th March 2012, 17:49

        Actually, that’s not true. The front pull-rod suspension was very common in F1 and almost ubiquitous for several seasons. The nice thing about the pull-rod is that loads are in tension, allowing smaller suspension parts. I remember seeing an Aussie built FF that used steel cables to take pull loads!!!

        • OOliver said on 28th March 2012, 18:57

          Perhaps some forget, F1 didn’t start in 2001 or when Schumacher started racing. So many concepts that were discarded in the past have made their way back, EBD, Pullrods, bla bla. The regulations or their restrictions allow some older ideas to be reused this is also made possible because of advancements in other areas like material science.

          Regarding Aldo Costa, If I am correct, the performance issues Ferrari suffered last season was related to the heating of the tyres. The car was very competitive come race day, but just could not generate that all important one lap qualifying. This was also because of the fact that, the tyres required coddling and any attempt to do an extra lap to generate more heat, would seriously have an effect of the life time of the tyres.

      • SteveH said on 1st April 2012, 1:11

        I know this post probably won’t get read, but still……here are some teams/cars that have used pull-rod front suspensions in the past:
        Ferrari C126
        Ferrari 156
        Ferrari F1-86
        Ferrari F1-87
        Euroracing 185T
        Arrows A7
        Arrows A8
        ATS D7
        Bennetton B186
        Brabham BT55
        Brabham BT56
        Ram 02
        Ram 03
        Toelman TG184
        Tleman TG 185
        Williams FW09
        Minardi M185
        Minardi M186
        Ligier JS23
        Ligier JS27
        Lotus 95T
        Lotus 97T
        Renault RE50
        Tyrrell 014
        Zakspeed 841
        Zakspeed 871

        This list is not exhaustive. I really think some of you newbies need to brush up on F! technical history.

        • No27Forever said on 2nd April 2012, 11:17

          You can add pre-war Auto Union to that list!

          Push rod only took off with everyone copying McLaren’s MP4/2

  7. Eggry (@eggry) said on 28th March 2012, 14:42

    I’ve heard Scarbs said there’s nothing wrong with pull-road front suspension. Ferrari’s bad handling and traction is not due to suspension type according to him. but also I heard Ferrari is planning some secret tests. for example Mika Salo was chosen for the test in Suzuka…I don’t know it’s true but we will know in Spain soon…Personally I don’t think they will go back to push-rod this year.

    • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 28th March 2012, 15:02

      Aye. It looks more to be an overly pitch sensitive car to be honest.

    • John Beamer (@john-beamer) said on 28th March 2012, 15:19

      Yes. Gary Anderson’s point is interesting though.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 28th March 2012, 15:36

      @eggry…please don’t take this as anything but a lighthearted remark…if you heard Ferrari is planning some secret tests, they are hardly secret then, are they…and wouldn’t they be illegal? I don’t get how any team would be able to do any ‘secret’ tests outside of the designated and much more restricted ones than years gone by, especially if you’ve been able to hear about them and post them here for the world to read. Straighten me out on this if my thinking is off-base.

      • Dave_F1 said on 28th March 2012, 18:29

        “but also I heard Ferrari is planning some secret tests. for example Mika Salo was chosen for the test in Suzuka”

        There not secret test’s, Salo is just doing some demo runs in a 2010 spec car as part of the Ferrari racing days event.
        Marc Gene was doing the same thing in the 2009 car last year at the old A1-Ring.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zr1rjAsgLrQ

        Under the current testing regulations teams are allowed to do demo runs at events in 2 year old cars running demo tyres. Renault do demo runs in a 2 year old car during ther world series events &most teams make use of it at the Goodwood festival of speed.

      • Brian said on 28th March 2012, 18:36

        What they could do is build an exact replica of Mugello, but underground. In secret. In the mountains. Then they can lock Fisichella in there all season and develop.

        Well it works for evil super villian’s in the movies ……(sort of).

        :)

  8. Robbie (@robbie) said on 28th March 2012, 15:25

    Just regarding the ‘What’s next for Ferrari?’ portion of the article…

    John highlights the ‘problems’ with Ferrari’s front pull-rod system and then concludes in the final portion of the article that switching to push-rod in May would be of minimal benefit. They’ll wait until 2013. And then he states that Ferrari will be 3 months behind Mac and Red Bull after the May test/upgrades.

    So I’m a little confused. I appreciate that it looks like Ferrari are struggling to figure out this car, while LH has achieved two poles, making Mac look formidable. That said, the Macs have appeared so far to not necessarily translate a pole into a victory, and the Red Bulls are not nearly the force they were last year, and the Mercs can qualify very well but are far from translating that to race day.

    So I think that if Mac can sort themselves out (they seem to need the least sorting out before they translate their strong Saturdays consistantly to Sundays) then I think ALL the teams will potentially be needing to start fresh with big new efforts come May. Otherwise, if Mac struggles a little on Sundays until May, or at least splits their points between LH and JB, and RBR continues to show mediocre finishes, and otherwise the points are split amongst Macs two drivers, RBR, Ferrari, Merc, Lotus, and Sauber, I think Ferrari will not nearly be in such trouble come their May upgrade as is being suggested.

    ie. if Ferrari is not going to make the switch in front suspension systems, then I see them as just doing what the other teams will be doing in May, evolving their car(s) which will mean Ferrari will just be extending their experience with their 2012 car like the other teams, and therefore they won’t be ’3 months behind’ as is being suggested.

    • John Beamer (@john-beamer) said on 28th March 2012, 15:44

      The Mac’s didn’t struggle on Sunday in Australia. They were class of the field. In Malaysia the strange conditions meant that Sauber was class of the field. In a ‘normal’ race that is unlikely to be the case.

      The point is that the McLaren and Red Bull have a good base with which to make incremental changes. If the exhausts are still one of the main performance differentiators then McLaren will be working on improving that base.

      Ferrari, by introducing a B-Spec car with heavily revised exhausts is effectively Ferrari’s base (at least for exhausts) so they are three months behind. It boils down to how much performance is available in exahusts both from the off and for optimisation and how critical is this in terms of overall car performance.

      We won’t know the answer until much later in the season (May possibly)

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 28th March 2012, 16:14

        Fair enough…thanks John. As I recall, didn’t Ferrari already try something akin to Red Bull’s current exhaust in pre-season testing, and then abandon that and go back to their original exhaust having found the new configuration created more problems than it solved? I wonder if they didn’t understand enough about the F2012 to begin with to be trying a Red Bull style exhaust and that with more time and understanding of the car they can then tweek the exhaust to better effect. Ultimately aren’t they fairly limited as to what they can do anyway? I guess it will take a B-spec car with a different body shape in the rear to have a different exhaust configuration be of greater effect.

        I think if Mac continues as they have done so far, all the teams will be thinking B-spec for May…even Red Bull…but I sure take your point about both those teams having a good base from which to work, unlike Ferrari. Mercedes with their high tire wear issues must be rethinking some things too, such has so far been a vast difference for them between Saturday and Sunday, imho due to the benefits of their F-duct when it can be used constantly vs. on Sunday when it can only be used selectively. Wouldn’t be surprised if Merc, while leaving their F-ducts intact, come up with a B-spec to try to tackle their extreme tire wear issues. That said, I just remembered that NR said he pitted in Malaysia thinking his tires were destroyed only to have the team tell him afterwards that they looked brand new, so that is a real puzzler for them no doubt.

  9. Nick said on 28th March 2012, 15:27

    Great article. Suspension kinematics are a fascinating area but rarely understood by us mortals !

  10. Rally Man (@rally-man) said on 28th March 2012, 15:45

    Wow, thank you so much for this article. I’m a recently new fan to F1, so when you guys start talking about technical specifics of a car, I’m lost. Like pull-rod vs. push-rod. Now I understand this aspect of the car. Again thank you John for this tech article.

  11. Fixy (@fixy) said on 28th March 2012, 15:48

    I must thank you a lot @john-beamer – I’m trying to get into the technologic side of F1 more and more ad you articles help very much. They are simply- ad clearly-written and I’ve just finally understood how push-/pull-rod suspensions work!
    I don’t know how big a work it is to change the type of suspension in a car, and I doubt Ferrari will do so this year – it’s more likely, as you say, they’ll wait for 2013.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 28th March 2012, 17:46

      Or they’ll stick to their guns and pursue the same philosophy that caused them to change to pull-rod in the front to begin with. (unless I have missed something and they have already admitted it was a mistake to go pull-rod in the front). I think given that the differences between the two styles are minimal, both having their pluses and minuses, if I were Ferrari I would stick to my guns and not try to change too much too fast or they’ll muddy the waters as to what exactly is helping and what is not, but I’m sure they know that.

  12. mattg21 (@mattg21) said on 28th March 2012, 15:55

    Great article. I’m enjoying hearing of suspension being talked about a bit more. Looks like, yet again, another interesting year for technology in F1

  13. SteveH said on 28th March 2012, 17:53

    I see many comments about Ferrari reverting to a push-rod front, but isn’t the chassis homologated at the start of the season? They won’t be allowed to build a new chassis, I believe, and to modify what they have to a push-rod system would seem problematic.

  14. Ben (@) said on 28th March 2012, 21:44

    There’s nothing in this piece that explains specifically how/why the F2012 is adversely affected by the front pull-rod layout. And I suspect that’s because it’s simply untrue.

    One would expect awful, awful understeer from a car with a faulty front suspension. Instead, the F2012 won a wet race. Those two possibilities are pretty much mutually exclusive.

    If the F2012 has any suspension problems whatsoever, they’re setup related, and they stem from the team’s efforts to balance the car without the downforce they anticipated from their original exhaust solution. The car must be run with considerably less rake for the diffuser to work. That lower ride height then requires a stiffer rear suspension so that the car doesn’t bottom out. The stiffer rear, in turn, causes problems with braking stability, traction, pitch sensitivity and tire wear, because the car was not designed to accept those settings.

    The F2012′s problems are aerodynamic. That’s it. All other claims are the result of symptoms being confused for the problem.

    • Nick said on 29th March 2012, 8:48

      LOL. You could charge then for your input.

    • dysthanasiac (@) said on 29th March 2012, 12:23

      The more I look at this the more it irritates me.

      The push-rod vs pull-rod diagram is complete BS, because it doesn’t reflect the reality that the relative angle of a push/pull rod to the wishbones is identical either way.

      And what exactly is more difficult about “tuning” the pull-rod configuration? Is it that much more difficult to access the components from the bottom of the chassis rather than the top?

      • SteveH said on 29th March 2012, 13:27

        Huh? The angle is not the same either way. The drawings reflect the actual angles very closely; the only way to make the angles similar would be to go with a lower nose, which was not done for aerodynamic reasons, or go back to the single (or twin) keel concepts.

        • dysthanasiac (@) said on 29th March 2012, 14:19

          The word “relative” is very important to my statement.

          And that diagram grossly exaggerates push-rod suspension geometry.

      • John Beamer said on 29th March 2012, 14:20

        Pretty much … yes. Was it Minardi or Arrows who publicly switched to push-rod because of access for set-up.

        And the angles are not BS because I took them from front on photos of the Ferrari. Sure, they are out by a few degrees but nothing major!

        • dysthanasiac (@) said on 29th March 2012, 14:34

          No, like I said, you exaggerated the push-rod’s geometry. (And for what it’s worth a few degrees is everything in F1.)

          And how are Arrows or Minardi’s suspension choices relevant? It was a different time and a different formula, one with far fewer restrictions. The rules are now so tight that teams have to look everywhere for performance gains, and they have to capitalize on them wherever they’re found.

          Even if the pull-rod layout only offers a gain of 0.10, Ferrari is obliged to go through the hassle of exploiting it, because tenths are becoming more and more difficult to find.

          • dysthanasiac (@) said on 29th March 2012, 14:42

            Oh, and the hassle of working on any front suspension layout is night-and-day different than that of the rear. For one thing, the floor doesn’t have to be removed to facilitate access.

            The F2012 is far from perfect; it’s got problems in all sorts of places. But, the suspension is not one of them.

          • dysthanasiac (@) said on 29th March 2012, 15:52

            (Looking back on my statements, I likely came off a TON more *******-y than I intended. My apologies.)

          • MW (@) said on 29th March 2012, 16:59

            @dysthanasiac I imagine you in a dark room ranting to yourself about suspension systems.

            Lighten up! :)

            Thanks for the articles John!

          • John Beamer said on 30th March 2012, 4:36

            Sure – it is everything when designing the cars. I am just trying to educate and enlighten a little, not design a racing suspension.

            By the way – I agree with you. The F2012 suspension I don’t think is really a big issue — or at the very least it is solvable.

            Gary Anderson’s point is interesting and one I had not thought about before. As I mentioned I don’t know how big an effect that is.

            One thing is clear is that the car lacks mechanical grip and the suspension definitely plays a role in that.

          • dysthanasiac (@) said on 30th March 2012, 15:15

            @John Beamer

            The whole point of my comments yesterday was to point out that there’s no problem at all with the F2012′s suspension. (To be fair, I can easily understand missing that because of the venom with which I presented it. Again, I’m very sorry about that.)

            I think Gary Anderson is a hack and that he’s merely pointing to an obvious difference between the F2012 and the rest of the field to justify the former’s “poor” performance.

            The fact of the matter is that Ferrari’s pull-rod layout is every bit as effective as other teams’ push-rod layouts. It’s just a different packaging solution. This was borne out when the F2012 won a race in wet conditions where mechanical grip is paramount; in fact, the F2012 in Alonso’s hands was the class of the field. It was only when the track began to dry that the Ferrari’s performance deteriorated. And even that drop-off in performance had nothing to do with the suspension.

            I think that condition is the result of the rear suspension being stiffened all around to accommodate the lower ride height required to seal the diffuser after the original exhaust failed to seal it as intended. That lack of compliance absolutely destroys both the car’s stability under braking and traction out of slow corners. That lack of traction then affects the car’s top speed. All of those problems become more pronounced as fuel is burned and the mass damper-like effect of its weight is diminished. And combined, all of these factors mean the F2012 abuses the hell out of its tires.

            Ferrari got caught with their pants down when the “Acer-duct” exhaust didn’t deliver. However, if they can get that sorted, it’s whole new ballgame because the team will no longer have to compromise the F2012′s suspension setup in the way I described. (That’s a big if, though.)

            Once more, I’m sorry for being a ***** yesterday.

          • dysthanasiac (@) said on 30th March 2012, 15:30

            I neglected to acknowledge that Alonso was likely on a full-wet setup. That’s a gamble Ferrari simply had to make. But, I don’t think it changes anything about the points I’ve made. You can easily ruin suspension performance with a bad setup, but it’s damn near impossible to set up a bad suspension for good performance.

    • No27Forever said on 2nd April 2012, 11:14

      Totally agree with dysthanasiac, the front suspension is an obvious change and so people are blaming it rather than invisible factors like the aerodynamics. The F2012 is a pretty good car in the wet ( and it wasn’t bad in Melbourne on race fuel) so it’s obvious you should look elsewhere.

      I recommend you look at these two articles
      Pull and Push rods: http://www.vivaf1.com/blog/?p=10173
      Ferrari’s suspension: http://www.vivaf1.com/blog/?p=10280

  15. Kwaan said on 29th March 2012, 0:08

    Since reading Gary Andersons worries about how pullrod may have additional compromises in car setup. I have wondered if having the (now banned) Lotus “reactive” anti-dive system, (which Ferrari were said to have had a version of), would make any difference?

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