I would like another go at this.
Muulka wrote:The advantage to be gained from clever suspension systems these days is almost purely down to better using the aero platform. They hydraulic stuff being reported on has literally nothing to do with managing tyres better...
Even if the primary role of these systems is changing, doesn't my original OP beg the same question?
Seems Merc's proving that a hyper-complex suspension tasked with maximizing the aero platform is still the way to go in F1 (at least when you start seeing diminishing returns at pointy end of the grid).
Red Bull's championship years had some clever stuff too if I remember correctly.
Earlier I accused Muulka of being an aerodynamicist, and I think that is true, or, at least, his views are those of an F1 aerodynamicist. For the last twenty years, I have made a very interesting living rig testing various race vehicles, many aero dominated. I "see", perhaps, 70 cars a year, and the number doesn't decrease. GP2 cars are effectively banned, but I do see a Japanese Super Formula a couple of times a year. I also see the odd F1 team, although each team has access to its own facility.
Rig testing involves (in my case) applying inputs through the tyres, and processing responses to discover various vehicle structural properties, all with the aim of optimising contact patch load control. Aero platform control has little to do with that, although springs are usually a given.
I have concluded that teams (who rig test) are usually fairly successful (probably because they have good race engineers). One team confessed that I didn't provide lap time, but I did make tyres last (10 laps to 60 laps, he said). F1 teams are generally disappointing. I think that is because I almost never see race engineers. I suspect that a report is compiled by test engineers, and the race team uses the result as a door stop. Distrust goes deep, leading to statements like Muulka's, and designs that don't allow quick changes (to make a damper change in one case, both the undertray and gearbox had to be removed to gave access to the dampers, which were replaced because they were non-adjustable. Result - about 8 changes a day, compared with, perhaps, 50 for an F3).
I'm sure there are good F1 teams, but I don't get to see them. I could guess, though.