The case of the Mercedes rear: the FIA ​​reassures Red Bull. Here’s how it works

After the doubts raised by the Milton Keynes team about Hamilton and Bottas’ W12, the Federation investigated and found nothing irregular. The mechanism resembles that of the active suspensions of the 1980s

Is the rear of the Mercedes a coincidence or not? The method followed by Mercedes with excellent results in Turkey to stall the diffuser of the W12, in fact rejoiced in Austin, due to the roughness of the asphalt of the Texan circuit, is nothing new, nor irregular. However, it is understandable how the attention of the Red Bull technicians has focused on it, starting from the assumption that it is a management that makes sense and applies to a single-seater characterized by an accentuated spike trim (“Rake”), such as on the RB16-B compared to the W12, characterized by a minimum rake, which therefore allows significantly reduced height excursions. The stall of the diffuser, linked to the straight lowering of the rear axle, is nothing new.

Active suspensions

The idea, in fact, found its application and dates back to the end of the 1980s with the introduction of the first version of active suspensions, specifically those of Lotus in 1987, a system that never worked properly, as it was based on an inertial platform that is difficult to adjust. In 1992 Williams, with Adrian Newey current Red Bull technical director, succeeded with a much more effective, albeit simpler, Active Suspension system. Among the objectives of that mechanism, there was precisely that of the management of the heights from the ground front and rear to drastically reduce the resistance on the straight, stalling the car’s diffuser. The concept, therefore, although with considerable differences mainly related to the fact that the current single-seaters compared to those of the late 1980s and 1992 are equipped with a stepped bottom, therefore at least 60 mm from the ground in the side sections, has been constantly pursued in the over the last few decades.

Dubbi put to flight

The case raised by Red Bull, after observing the dynamic behavior of the Mercedes W12 in Turkey, is more linked to the fact that obtaining tangible advantages with this solution, on a car equipped with a reduced rake set-up, implied an extremely precise control of the system, as the excursions in height from the ground are, due to the characteristics of the W12, extremely small. In a nutshell, while on the RB16-B it is possible to manage the phenomenon over a wide excursion, ergo, it is easier to find the position in which the most “powerful” effect of stalling the diffuser is obtained, on the Mercedes a micro management is required. of height variations. The suspicion was that the system could somehow take advantage of an illegal control. The Federation has dispelled all doubts in this regard, and on this basis, Red Bull has confirmed that it has no doubts about the legality of the system adopted by Mercedes.

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The case of the Mercedes rear: the FIA ​​reassures Red Bull. Here’s how it works

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