Technical Lotus ride-height system banned

RasputinLives

Leave me alone I'm on Smoko
Contributor
Sounds to me that Lotus/Proton had the choice between keeping this a secret and grabbing an advantage in the F1 world or releasing it publicly, getting the patent on it and grabbing a jump start in the car market.

Looks like they chose the second one.
 

Brogan

Legend
Staff Member
Just read that the Lotus ride height system was passed by the FIA in 2010.
Surprised they didn't use it last season then.
 

tranquility2k9

Podium Finisher
Just read that the Lotus ride height system was passed by the FIA in 2010.
Surprised they didn't use it last season then.

I think purely the concept was passed in late 2010 in the first instance. They were then probably developing it in more substance and testing it out in various measures during 2011. I know it was only first officially seen on the car at the Abu Dhabi test, but it is almost certain that they have tested it prior to this and it has not been spotted. I would imagine it is fairly complex to get working correctly, similar to the blown diffuser. The problem with anything mechanical is that it is difficult to just "bolt it on" like you can with aerodynamic parts and therefore maybe they have stole a march on the other teams by having this ready for 2011. If they have perfected it then it may be difficult for other teams to do so during the season.

Another interesting point is that this system primarily makes use of braking and suspension. Susposidly Lotus are using a push-rod suspension to take advantage of this system, whereas almost all other teams, used pull-rod (copying Red Bull) in 2011. Ferrari were one of the few teams to stick with push-rod and got a bit of stick for it, but this could pay off if this system is easier to implement with push-rod. Autosport has reported that at least one of the major teams has also submitted plans to have a variation of this system on the car ready for 2012, and Andrew Benson of BBC has semi-confirmed this is Ferrari.

I'm no suspension expert, but imagine if all the pull-rod using teams cannot now fully utilise this system? I'm sure it's not easy to change from push-rod to pull-rod or vice-versa during a season, right?
 

jez101

Bookies drive nice cars because of people like me
Contributor
Fascinating that they patented it... the technology is described here


Tuned mass dampers have been used by the Renault Formula 1 Team to offset the loss in grip that can be caused by dynamic suspension loads. As tyres deflect vertically there can be a loss in contact pressure of the tyre on the track surface. Tuned mass dampers essentially provided a sprung mass on the chassis which counteracts the vertical forces that the suspension exerts on the car, smoothing out the load disturbances at the tyre contact patch. Such a device was successfully used in Formula 1 cars until a regulation change.

In an alternative approach, inerters have been used in suspension systems to provide an inertial reaction which dynamically counteracts spring forces, such as suspension spring forces from coil or torsion springs. While inerters are less effective at smoothing out load disturbances at the tyre contact patch than tuned mass dampers, their inertial force can still be used to partially cancel net dynamic forces which would otherwise disturb the grip and handling of the car.

From the patent though you can also see that they had the initial idea a long time ago. The Priority Date, when it was first filed is 25th January 2010, and you can imagine that it took them a while to develop the concept well enough to describe in in the patent. You don't just wake up one morning with an idea and have a patent filing by the time you finish work for the day :). It will have taken a good few months, at least some of which will have been writing the legal copy.

Furthermore, the technology was published in July 2011 so any team worth their salt will have had at least six months already to analyse this and develop their own version.
 

Brogan

Legend
Staff Member
I guess I just don't see the benefit of it really.

The height of the Red Bull front wing, relative to the circuit surface, changes dramatically under breaking.
Probably the most of any team due to the flexing under load at speed.

It doesn't seem to have caused them too many problems.
 

jez101

Bookies drive nice cars because of people like me
Contributor
The height of the Red Bull front wing, relative to the circuit surface, changes dramatically under breaking.

As I understand it, this invention would stop this front-end dip when the driver hits the brakes. That would mean a) the ride height could be minimised, without having to worry about the dip causing the wing to try and bury itself and b) maintain a more stable ride height increasing areo efficiency.

I can't remember the figures but there was an astonishing aero gain from RBR being able to run as low as they can.
 

sportsman

Sidecar racers have the biggest cojones
Contributor
What this device does is to control the undamped rebound effect of the tyres.Both front and rear.
It will also work as an anti dive control measure especially at the front of the car.
This will allow for a more controlled ride height thus allowing the engineers to set up the car at the optimum ride height and controlling airflow under the car the due to front wing remaining relatively stable.
 

Josh

Champion Elect
What this device does is to control the undamped rebound effect of the tyres.Both front and rear.
It will also work as an anti dive control measure especially at the front of the car.
This will allow for a more controlled ride height thus allowing the engineers to set up the car at the optimum ride height and controlling airflow under the car the due to front wing remaining relatively stable.

What's the undamped rebound effect of the tyres? I have to admit I've never heard of that before.
 

jez101

Bookies drive nice cars because of people like me
Contributor
What this device does is to control the undamped rebound effect of the tyres.Both front and rear.

I didn't appreciate that. So, you think it stops the car bouncing up, as well as stopping it diving down (without having to have rock hard springs to do the same job)?

I'm not saying you are wrong :). I just didn't pick up that it manages upward movement as well as down.

So basically it's to compensate for not being able to get the flexi wing working.

I suspect it will be more controllable (and thefeore effective) than a flexi wing.
 

sportsman

Sidecar racers have the biggest cojones
Contributor
http://scarbsf1.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/lotus-renault-gp-fluid-inerter/ Becoming ever more complex the suspension in an F1 car has a number of devices to counter loads fed into the chassis, in order to maintain the ideal conditions at the tyre contact patch. We understand the role of springs and dampers, but there remain other spring effects within the suspension system, not least from the high profile tyres. Their spring effect goes undamped and hence is largely out of the control of the teams in setting up the car. Being able to counteract these uncontrolled forces in a suspension will allow the tyre to main better contact with the ground for more
 

Brogan

Legend
Staff Member
There's a rumour on Twitter that the FIA have banned the system this evening (source Mark Gillan, Williams chief operations engineer).

I guess we'll find out soon, one way or the other.
 

Chad Stewarthill

Champion Elect
Contributor
http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/97127
Looks like someone found something that said it doesn't comply with the rules.
Someone at Red Bull maybe? They didn't seem to be in a rush to copy it.
http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/97106

Not exactly. What you posted was a twitter rumour; what Greenlantern posted was a news item from Autosport, in which the ban has been confirmed.
 

Brogan

Legend
Staff Member
Not exactly. What you posted was a twitter rumour; what Greenlantern posted was a news item from Autosport, in which the ban has been confirmed.
I may have said rumour, but it actually came from Mark Gillan, the Williams chief operations engineer when he was speaking on the flying lap. Autosport actually reference that in their article.

So yes, I did post it last night (edited the post to credit the source of the rumour).

Not sure why you felt the need to pick up on it really :dunno:
 
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