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FIA Ban Reactive Ride Suspension; Reduce F1-Related Buzzword to Mere Footnote

January 21, 2012

Yesterday afternoon, the FIA banned the controversial reactive ride system, pioneered by Lotus (formerly Renault).

That the technology – which regulates ride height changes whilst under braking – had apparently been approved by the FIA a year ago, making the current situation desperately annoying.
There have been persistent rumours that Lotus (then Renault) and Mercedes ran the system late last season, gaining time measured only by several blinks of an eye.

This is a shame of course, as one was eagerly awaiting an explanation of the technology, that made sense to my Luddite ears.
Not only has the 2012 Formula 1 season lost a story to tell every week, the sport has also now dismissed the first round in a key television battle – Anderson (BBC) vs Kravitz (Sky Sports F1) – that was sure to enthral millions.

Most importantly, I would really like to know what technology the reactive ride suspension was potentially linked with, to make it suddenly such a potent device, after one full year of activity… Now that would peak my interest.

As an aside, part of me also believes this headline grabbing ban is a rather timely intervention to deflect from the continuing horror news that is emerging from Bahrain.
Especially following yet another weekend that saw the sad deaths of two more people, one of whom an 11-year-old boy, whilst their respective funerals come under further scrutiny from security forces.

From → F1

2 Comments
  1. I continue to not understand the FIA and how/why they enforce certain rules the way they do.

    1) Item that is entirely encased within the nose of a car, designed to dampen the movement of the entire front of the car; never makes contact with the direct airstream over or under the car, (I think) only comes in contact with a negligible airflow through the car. (FIA’s reaction: it’s a moveable aerodynamic device! Illegal!)

    2) Item that is operated directly by the driver, which explicitly changes the aerodynamic performance of the car at the driver’s whim. Also, forces the driver’s hand off the wheel in cars where system was not originally designed in and is retrofitted later, causing a potential safety hazard. (FIA’s reaction: meh. Legal, I suppose. Whatever.)

    3) Item that serves to control suspension movement under braking by [insert details here, because I haven’t heard them yet, not that they now matter]. Item never sees overall airflow over/under vehicle, only negligible cooling airflow through car (like Item #1). (FIA’s reaction: It’s a moveable aerodynamic device! Never mind that it is a glorified third [or fourth or fifth] damper system! Illegal!)

    Good work, FIA. We’re all better off with your tireless efforts to police F1’s technical developments.

    • Leigh O'Gorman permalink

      After asking Steve Matchett, I kind of get it. The reactive ride suspension was for all intents and purposes given the green light in isolation; however the FIA believe it broke the rules when taking into consideration the airflow under the car.
      The FIA handled it very badly though.

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