Analysis: What's behind F1's suspension controversy
By: Giorgio Piola, Technical Editor
Co-author: Matt Somerfield, Assistant Technical Editor
http://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/analy ... sy-863068/
This infers the use of hydraulic accumulators that are designed to store and dispense energy under certain conditions, creating a sort of high pressure hydraulic computer. This fluid logic system would rely and react to inputs, as the car undergoes various conditions around a lap.
Think then of the heave element and ancillary remote accumulators as a three-dimensional map, rather than just the cylindrical elements they outwardly appear to be - with small and large chambers interspersed to accommodate the various inputs, loads and conditions.
Imagine that as an an F1 car approaches a corner - the driver will commence the braking phase, at which point the weight of the car should shift forward and the aerodynamic loads are altered.
If a team fully understood the inertia from a mathematical perspective you could model a reactionary response from the front and rear suspension that would keep the platform of the car within an acceptable tolerance, improving both mechanical (including the tyre's response) and aerodynamic performance.
The knock on effect is that the driver can carry more apex speed and will accelerate out of the corner earlier than is ordinarily the case.
The Red Bull philosophy revolves around perfecting aerodynamic structures that emanate from the front wing and tie in with the floor and diffuser. The obstacle to its performance is always the tyres, with neutering the airflow that is spilt from them critical in creating the necessary rear end downforce to complement what's going on ahead.
The use of a well tuned HPC (Hydraulic Pitch Control) suspension system, as some of the teams have called it, is something that has been part of Red Bull's success throughout 2016 as it overtook Ferrari.
For a team that usually had an abundance of aerodynamic updates at each Grand Prix, Red Bull was surprisingly quiet on that front last season. Instead at each GP it honed its set-up, perhaps trialling a different front or rear wing on occasions, in order to maximise the car's operating window.
Whilst it's understood that it sacrificed some of its resource early on to focus on the 2017 car, it's perhaps its mooted acquisition of a full chassis dynamometer that has seen it make further strides.
The VTT (Virtual Test Track) as it is known replicates its car in every aspect and allows it to run the car in the simulator loop, including the power unit.
Suspension actuation is also conducted and helps the team to make some decisions about the set-up, both aerodynamically and mechanically, before getting to the track.
This has led to what has been interpreted as a hunching over of the car on the straights, causing a drop off in downforce and drag and boosting straightline speed, helping the team to overcome some of the deficit of its the Renault power unit.
Red Bull's use of HPC is different in its approach to Mercedes, but both systems are aimed at improving the relationship between all aspects of the chassis to improve overall lap time.