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Was suspension selection the unsung hero to Crimson Bull’s F1 dominance?

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However it will be a mistake to suppose that the RB19 was so good simply due to downforce, as there have been loads of indications that suspension’s impression on its automobile dynamics was a important ingredient of its success too.

This is not to say aero was not necessary, because it turned clear simply how a lot of a trendsetter Crimson Bull was on this space final 12 months.

There have been instances when this was particularly seen, just like the underside of the ground. When this web site received a uncommon look below the revamped Mercedes ground in Monaco, following Lewis Hamilton’s follow crash, it confirmed similarities to the 2022 Crimson Bull.

A later crash by Sergio Perez confirmed that Crimson Bull had developed the ground significantly within the meantime, together with a extra advanced profile of the underbody and kick factors in the direction of the rear of the ground.

It was not solely the ground the place the variations lay although. As a result of the sidepods are a defining ingredient for the looks of recent F1 vehicles, most consideration goes to them.

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This all signifies that suspension selection has been considerably missed, however the position it performs within the general idea of a automotive and subsequently in its success can’t be underestimated.

The largest variability on this space is between pull-rod and push-rod layouts.

Picture by: Jake Grant / Motorsport Images

Sergio Perez, Crimson Bull Racing RB19

Within the pull-rod suspension, the rod is positioned decrease within the chassis and related to a better level on the wheel meeting. Over bumps and kerbs, the rod pulls on the torsion spring, which instantly explains the title.

The push-rod configuration is the precise reverse. The push-rod, along with all inner suspension elements, sits larger within the chassis and runs diagonally to a decrease level on the wheel meeting.

When the wheel strikes up in response to the observe, the spring is pushed into compression by the pushrod. The rod subsequently pushes the torsion spring as a substitute of pulling it when a automotive hits the bumps or kerbs.

With the introduction of the present floor impact laws, the pull-rod on the entrance of the automotive made a return.

F1 had beforehand final seen a pull-rod entrance suspension in 2013, after which from 2014 to 2021 push-rods dominated.

Pull-rod and push-rod suspensions have totally different benefits and drawbacks, partly associated to the place the burden of the suspension parts are positioned.

The pull-rod will get decrease into the chassis, which might be seen within the picture above – and subsequently impacts the burden distribution.
As a result of the springs and dampers are decrease within the chassis, the centre of gravity is decrease as nicely, which is taken into account a bonus in F1 phrases.

Then again, the push-rod is usually seen as extra sensible, and amongst different issues simpler for mechanics due to the accessibility of the springs and the dampers larger within the chassis.

Extra necessary than all of this, although, is that suspension decisions have aerodynamic implications. As they’re immediately within the airflow, suspension elements play a task in directing the air in the direction of the entrance of the Venturi tunnels and the sidepods.

These aerodynamic implications are the principle cause why groups make totally different decisions and have totally different views on the best suspension set-up: the suspension should match the aerodynamic idea of the whole automotive.

In early 2022 – when the technical laws had been launched – Crimson Bull stood out, joined solely by McLaren, in choosing a pull-rod entrance suspension and a push-rod suspension on the rear.

It was the precise reverse of what Mercedes and Ferrari, amongst different groups, had offered, and likewise the other of what was thought-about mainstream to that time.

At Crimson Bull, nevertheless, it really works with the openings of the Venturi tunnels, the underside of the ground and the aerodynamic idea of first the RB18 after which the RB19.

The pull-rod on the entrance helps to get the centre of gravity as little as potential on the entrance of the automotive – and a pointy entrance finish is strictly what Verstappen likes.

Jake Dennis, Red Bull Racing RB19

Picture by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Jake Dennis, Crimson Bull Racing RB19

Requested how necessary the suspension selection was for the general automotive idea, technical director Pierre Wache informed Autosport “It is a huge a part of the idea of the automotive, for positive. You could have a number of facets that play a task within the selection of the suspension.

“You could have the facet that affects the dynamics of the automotive, plus some dynamics in a unique route, after which additionally the effectivity of the automotive. But in addition an necessary facet is the capability to operationally obtain the stiffness that you simply wish to obtain.”

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The final facet is advanced however necessary.

The present floor impact vehicles must be as stiff as potential to get probably the most out of them as a result of they should run persistently near the bottom. Nonetheless, the laws restrict the chances groups have with the springs.

Wache added: “In these laws, they’ve eliminated the J-damper [inerter] and the trip facets modified fully.

“You solely have a traditional viscous damper now. You do not have acceleration-dependent damping, you could have solely speed-dependent damping.

“Then the selection of suspension provides you extra freedom to have softer springs, a unique sort of ratio or a unique movement ratio of the suspension.”

The suspension selection, mixed with the restrictions from 2022 onwards, additionally impacts how stiff a automotive might be run. And it’s that stiffness, as Verstappen has identified a number of instances final 12 months, that’s so necessary.

One intriguing facet trying up and down the grid is that Crimson Bull was nearly an outlier in its suspension format selection – with solely McLaren additionally operating a pull-rod configuration on the entrance.

And that is in the end a choice that defines the remainder of the automotive as a result of the knock-on impression for aero is so necessary.

As Wache admitted: “When you choose [the suspension], roughly each facet going into the stream stream has an impact in your aero.”

The suspension selection subsequently strongly is determined by what the workforce needs by way of sidepods and ground design. It ties in completely with what Verstappen has stated: copying one particular part doesn’t work, as the entire idea is aligned.

On the rear of the automotive, Crimson Bull opted for a push-rod suspension, not like most different groups on the grid. Once more, this selection is determined by totally different parts.

Firstly, the philosophy performs a task mechanically. And secondly, it impacts the airflow on the rear. Once more, suspension and aerodynamics work carefully collectively right here, in Crimson Bull’s case for instance with the airflow coming from the downwash sidepods.

Crimson Bull’s suspension selection is the precise reverse of what most different groups have, because the desk on the backside highlights.

Many groups did use Crimson Bull’s downwash sidepods as inspiration to a larger or lesser extent throughout the 2023 season, however logically nonetheless had their very own – and subsequently totally different – suspension decisions.

On account of that, it wasn’t the complete (aerodynamic) Crimson Bull ‘idea’ – because the sidepods and different aerodynamic designs work together with a unique suspension part.

It is going to be fascinating to see then if every other groups soar ship and go down Crimson Bull’s suspension route in F1 2024.

F1 groups and their 2023 suspension decisions

Group: Suspension selection in 2023 F1 season:
Crimson Bull Racing Pull-rod entrance, push-rod rear
Mercedes Push-rod entrance, pull-rod rear
Ferrari Push-rod in entrance, pull-rod behind
McLaren Pull-rod entrance, push-rod rear
Aston Martin Push-rod entrance, pull-rod rear
Alpine Push-rod entrance, push-rod rear
Williams Push-rod entrance, pull-rod rear
AlphaTauri Push-rod in entrance, push-rod rear
Alfa Romeo Push-rod in entrance, push-rod rear
Haas Push-rod in entrance, pull-rod behind

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