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FIA ban reactive ride height systems

The first technical storm of the new season has hit and a wheel hasn't even been turned on the teams new F1 cars for 2012.

One year ago the FIA approved Lotus [Renault] reactive suspension system as legal due to the fact that the system was mechanical, which meant that it could not be classified as a moveable aerodynamic device.

Under Article 3.15 of the F1 Technical Regulations, if drivers were changing the car's ride height under braking it would also be a breach of the regulations, however again Lotus's system was legal according to the FIA.

Last year at the Abu Dhabi Young Driver Test, Renault tested the system for the first time in front of prying eyes and it was thought that Ferrari were hoping to not be too far behind with their own version, ahead of winter testing, leaving the other teams to be forced into a game of catch-up to develop their own system in time for the new 2012 season.

The reactive ride-height system aimed to improve stability during braking by a hydraulic cylinder on the front suspension.

The change in the cars ride height during breaking is only measured by a matter of millimetres as the cars nose moves closer to the ground under heavy breaking, but it can have a major influence on the cars aerodynamics through a corner and it is thought that the system could be worth at least two tenths of a second per lap, through increased stability and via improved aerodynamics, which of course is a major advantage in Formula One.

However the FIA on Friday announced a U-Turn and banned the system.

Reportedly following complaints from rival teams, further investigations were made and a ban followed, which would appear to be mightily unfair on Lotus [Renault] after theoretically having a year to develop a car ready for next months winter testing based around the system and will now have to make swift changes to take it back off the car.

They of course will play down the problems this will cause, but they may have lost an early season advantage with the changes.










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The Journalist

Writer: Red5 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday January 23 2012

Time: 11:00AM

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