Technical Lotus ride-height system banned

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
James Allen is reporting that Lotus may have developed a race-winning feature:

Veteran technical journalist Giorgio Piola is writing that Lotus Renault GP has a system which brings back echoes of the “mass-damper”, one of the innovations when the team was known as Renault, that helped to win it the 2006/6 world championships.

According to Piola, the system is mechanical, operated by the driver (like the F Duct) and means that when the driver hits the brakes, it manages the ride height as the front of the car dives down, which in turn helps to keep the front wing’s performance more consistent.

The system enables the team to run a lower front ride height, as the thing which dictates how low the ride height can be on an F1 car is the limit of downward movement at the moment of peak braking.

http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2012/01/has-lotus-renault-found-this-years-must-have-gizmo/
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
Interesting. Forgive me for being sceptical though but I'm sure we were told their exhaust system was the winning gizmo last year before the season started too.

It is only January so if it really does make that much difference I expect to see it appearing on the other big teams cars in different forms. Have to say though it would be interesting to throw Lotus Renault back in the front running mix but thats a massive leap to put them back near the front and I can't see it happening in one pre-season.

I have been wrong many times before though.
 

Greenlantern101

Super Hero And All Round Good Guy
Contributor
Interesting. Forgive me for being sceptical though but I'm sure we were told their exhaust system was the winning gizmo last year before the season started too.

It is only January so if it really does make that much difference I expect to see it appearing on the other big teams cars in different forms. Have to say though it would be interesting to throw Lotus Renault back in the front running mix but thats a massive leap to put them back near the front and I can't see it happening in one pre-season.

I have been wrong many times before though.

If it really does work then there simply isn't enough time for other teams to copy this. First test is less than a month away. To add this system would mean a major redesign when the teams are just now putting finishing touches to their cars for the first test.
If Lotus really do have a winner it will be mid season at least before other teams can copy it.
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
If it really does work then there simply isn't enough time for other teams to copy this. First test is less than a month away. To add this system would mean a major redesign when the teams are just now putting finishing touches to their cars for the first test.
If Lotus really do have a winner it will be mid season at least before other teams can copy it.

Most cars aren't launched until Feb and even then the design will be worked on until March and the first GP. Lets remember Mclaren managed a complete redesign between testing and the first GP. On top of which if James Allen has heard of it and is talking about it you can bet your ass that the F1 network has been gossiping about it for weeks so it'll already be being considered.

This is not like the double diffusor which appeared very late in testing and wasn't declared legal until just before the first race (and even by then 2 other teams had their versions on the go) and the other teams had to wait until the fly aways were done before they could bring a whole new redesigned rear end in. This is more like the F-Duct which once discovered was being used by other teams by the next weekend.

I might be wrong - I have been many time before but I doubt this will give them the massive boost up the grid the article is suggetsing anyways
 

canis

Race Winner
Valued Member
Actually, if what they are saying is correct this could have a large benefit in terms of aero efficiency. What they are getting at is the same effect as Red Bull have achieved with their rake of angle on their chasis, which allows them to run the front wing closer to the track making it more efficient. The only difference is that instead of the car lifting the front wing under braking (as is current with the Red Bull approach) the car will remain level at the same height at all times based upon a change in the mechanical suspension caused by the action of applying the breaks. This means it is not just the front wing, but the whole floor which can be made closer to the ground making the whole air flow from front wing to rear diffuser much easier to mak use of for downforce.

Not sure this will give them the big boost they are hoping fo, but it may make up some badly needed ground and give us a few Lotus/Renault podiums next season.

Now here is where I am concerned. It is not moveable aero components, as the body work remains static compared to the floor, so that rule doesn't push it out. It is not the same as the mass damper as that came about by varying the bodywork height compared to the floor. But I am not sure if there are any regs (had a very quick scan) which say that you cannot use a mechanical effect caused by the brakes being applied to change the height of the floor from the track (effectively what they are describing, and any rule would enforce a zero suspension movement in order to make this illegal) or to change the geometry of the suspension (my assumption applied to the description as to how to achieve the effect mechanically). Not really in the spirit of the rules, but I am thinking very technically legal (another potential double diffuser and flexi wing argument coming up?). Lotus/Renault are not really known for having the money to fight this sot of thing through the legal avenues of the FIA to have it ruled legal, are we going to see a potentialy brilliant solution, which could have potential uses on road cars and other vehicles, disapear with no further development due to other teams having not thought of it?
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
Lotus/Renault are not really known for having the money to fight this sot of thing through the legal avenues of the FIA to have it ruled legal, are we going to see a potentialy brilliant solution, which could have potential uses on road cars and other vehicles, disapear with no further development due to other teams having not thought of it?
Especially if Bernie wants Vettel to win again ;)
 

canis

Race Winner
Valued Member
Especially if Bernie wants Vettel to win again ;)

Now we all know that would never happen. Bernie is only the commercial rights holder and never has any way to influence how teams are run, that would obviously be against the sporting spirit of F1...:twisted:
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
Well I can;t read what it says because I don't read Italian but it looks a lot like a Dyson to me - are we sure it doesn't clean the racing line as the car goes round to give it better grip?
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
Google Chrome is your friend.

In other news, Ferrari have signed ex Bridgestone man Hirohide Hamashima and will be launching their new car February 3.
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
I'm with Sly on this one. The slightest hint of it being successful and all the other teams will protest it as either a moving aerodynamic device or de-facto active suspension and it will end up being banned. Also, if it's as successful as the anti-dive systems I've experienced on motor bikes it will be crap. Even the best Moto GP bikes bury their noses into the ground at every braking zone and they don't generate anything significant in the way of downforce.
 

sportsman

Sidecar racers have the biggest cojones
Contributor
I'm with Sly on this one. The slightest hint of it being successful and all the other teams will protest it as either a moving aerodynamic device or de-facto active suspension and it will end up being banned. Also, if it's as successful as the anti-dive systems I've experienced on motor bikes it will be crap. Even the best Moto GP bikes bury their noses into the ground at every braking zone and they don't generate anything significant in the way of downforce.
Look at the date on Scarbs article.Maybe Allen has only just found out about it.
But the other teams will well aware of it and if it works will have incorporated it in thie cars.
 

canis

Race Winner
Valued Member
I don't think this is going to give them that much of a performance enhancement now to be honest. The main reason for thinking this is that they have patented the device, this means that the full details of it are out in the public domain and they are looking to use it for commercial gain rather than track position. I think one of the comments on Scarbs is corrct, that there is an agreement to allow all other teams to use a patent by another team on a free licence, which means as soon as Lotus/Renault put the patent in the other teams were free to use the idea and develop their own solution.
 

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
So basically we can expect all teams to be testing their version of this device during the test period and then running it come season start if it proves to be effective? So whilst Lotus have a little headstart in developing the system and therefore theirs is likely to be the most effective it won't be this huge technical exlusive device that it was being hyped as.

James Allen over playing a piece if inside information he's been given? thats a first
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff Member
The FIA has apparently approved the concept: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/96952

AUTOSPORT can reveal, however, that the adjustment to the ride height - which improves aerodynamic performance and stability on the Lotus under braking - does not come from the driver.

Instead it is reactive to brake torque and is linked directly to the suspension - so cannot be classified as a moveable aerodynamic device in the way that independent mass dampers were.

The fact that the driver is not involved, and that the system is a part of the suspension, means it complies fully with the F1 regulations.

Lots of teams playing catch up now.

But it begs the question, why don't the FIA keep this information confidential? It's not fair on the team which develops it to have all the technical details made freely available before the start of the season.
 

canis

Race Winner
Valued Member
But it begs the question, why don't the FIA keep this information confidential? It's not fair on the team which develops it to have all the technical details made freely available before the start of the season.

It wasn't the FIA that put this information out there, Lotus has already applied for and gained a patent on the device and the principle behind it, this means the information is out in the public domain. The FIA apparently gave an initial ok to it as early as Jan 2011 which means they have kept it quiet longer than most would expect of them, but with the Lotus Team having put the info out in the open, is there any real point in being all cloak and dagger about it now?

Maybe other teams have questioned the legality of it since the patent application went in, which would force a public response to the question. Or just maybe the other teams got wind of what was being worked on and put in a technical question around the regs and how the system worked. These are standard ways of finding out how someone does something within F1 which is why innovations don't stay exclusive for too long. When McLaren introduced the "f-Duct" the other teams questioned the legality of the device, part of the way that system works is that an explanation of the basic principles of the system is provided with an explanation as to why those principles are within the rules, or outside the rules as was found with the Mass Damper system of Renault. The problem with this is such as the Red Bull front wing, as there were clarifications on legality asked for and the response was a basic "we don't know what they are doing, but it passes all the tests we have in place and so is technically legal" which was no help to anyone trying to work out how to replicate it.
 

Slyboogy

World Champion
Contributor
The team first launched this in the young drivers test in Abu dhabi, maybe they won't lose the advantage due to it being in development for so long. But this is the first time I have heard of something on a car yet to be launched to become public with all the teams already protesting against it.

Just from reading about without detail, I thought this was illegal or borderlline with the rules shall we say. And as FB says if it is anywhere near successful, I expect further protests, but then the teams will have had lots of time to make their own version.
 
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