Archive for the Suspension Category

Shocks and Suspension – Racing Auto Parts

Posted in Auto Parts, Formula 1, Shocks, Suspension with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2008 by autoracingpower

shocksThe suspension of a Formula 1 car creates the essential interface between different elements that work together to produce its performance. The suspension harnesses the engine’s power, the down-force created by the aerodynamics and the tires grip. It allows these forces to combine effectively and create a performance machine.

In Formula 1 cars, the driver’s comfort is not considered, performance is the only thing that matters. Spring and damper rates are extremely firm to make sure the impact from driving over bumps is defused as quickly as possible. The spring absorbs the energy of the impact and the shock absorber releases the energy on the return stroke.

Active electronic-controlled suspension is no longer allowed in Formula 1. The cars now utilize multi-link suspension which is similar to double wishbone suspensions present on some road cars. The multi-link suspension features suspension arms that are unequal in length on the top and bottom to allow better control of the camber angle taken by the wheel during fast cornering. The longer effective radius of the lower suspension arm causes the bottom of the tire to slant out farther than the top during cornering and helps maximize the grip of the tire.

Formula 1 springs are not mounted to the suspension arms directly. They are operated remotely with push-rods and bell cranks. This allows for variable rate springing. The spring is initially soft when pushed slightly, but becomes stiffer as the spring is pushed harder. Carbon Fiber is now used for suspension links in order to reduce weight and add strength.

Formula 1 car suspensions can be adjusted specifically for different track types and conditions. The cars are tuned to the driver’s preferences to suit their style of driving. Other track set-up decisions such as aerodynamics and tire choices must be considered when tuning the suspension.