timbo wrote: ↑
Mon Jan 29, 2018 4:58 pm
The heavy reliance on the underfloor downforce + flat floor rules and no lower limit on the ride height resulted in cars very sensitive to ride height and pitch
Great point above about no lower limit on the ride height.
Worth noting many grand prix circuits visited in early 1994 had bumpy surfaces, with Imola being particularly bad as various drivers confirmed. Bumpy surfaces were not an issue for actively suspended cars because the system maintained a consistent level of ride height and therefore grip for the driver. Whereas bumps were a problem for cars hurriedly converted back to passive suspension for 1994. Yet little had been done to improve track surfaces and high kerbs to accommodate the backwards step in suspensions systems before the tragedies at Imola. At the corner where Senna crashed fatally the stewards had tried to grind away the bumps but they were largely unsuccessful, and only prompted by drivers concerns 15 days before the Grand Prix. Schumacher said “They tried to improve it (the bumps) at Tamburello, but they made it worse."
To add to these problems Autosport magazine suggested that teams had moved to a far stiffer suspension setup for 1994 to try and emulate the benefits of active suspension like a stable platform for the aerodynamics to work. The downside was the cars became extremely sensitive to bumps, however small. Williams star designer, Adrian Newey later admitted “we made a bloody awful cock up” when referring to the FW16. “The rear-end grip problem was purely a setup problem. We were learning about springs and dampers all over again after concentrating on active suspension for two years, whereas most people had been away for just one.”