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Ride Height

 

Ride Height is the height of clearance the car has between the bottom of the car and the road. The ride height has an impact on the car's centre of gravity, and thus on its behavior when cornering or braking. Basically any shift in weight. Because great amount of aerodynamic downforce is created by F1 underbody, ride height is also important for overall grip created by aero. It is well known that the underbody aerodynamics is very sensitive to the ride height

There are good reasons for reducing the ride height. In general; lowering the Ride Height will bring the centre of gravity of the car lower, making the car more responsive by decreasing body roll because the weight of the car is now lower. Also downforce created by low F1 car is greater.
Raising the Ride Height will have the opposite affect, which will increase body roll.
That was the generalized bit.

Like with all parts of the F1 car that you can tune, over tuning and under tuning will each have their drawbacks. A lower ride height in the front than at the rear will induce weight transfer to the front increasing the load. This may be what is wanted.
Ride height will also impact the available suspension travel rate, so engineers have to make sure the spring rate is high enough to prevent the suspension from "bottoming-out". Having the ride height too low and suspension won't work very well. The trickiest part is to have your ride height as low as possible, for maximum tire grip, downforce and overall neutral handling balance, while still allowing for enough suspension travel.
During the wet race, ride height should be higher to aloud water, pushed below car by air entering below underbody, to freely go below "wooden" plank. Otherwise, underbody will swim on the layer of water resulting in non drivable car (body aquaplaning).

Deviation of floor plane from horizontal is called Rake Angle. Positive rake angle is higher end, and negative rake angle is higher front of the car. Negative rake is not in use in racing.

Lower front and higher rear ride height - the weight of the car is shifted towards the front. Provides more stability while accelerating. Brake response is faster since weight is already where the braking power is highest.

Equal front and rear ride height – weight is distributed equally.

High front and Low rear ride height - the weight of the car is shifted to the rear, provides immediate throttle response during acceleration. Not bad thing during the start phase, but braking response will suffer too much. Because we are not talking about Drag race, this configuration is not used very often.

On very bumpy roads like Monaco GP, increase ride height and increase spring rate and shocks. This "soaks" up the bumps more effectively.

 

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Books to read


Some useful links:

Technical
- f1technical.net, a great site with a lot of technical information’s and explanations. Site is updated daily with news from F1 word.

Autosport
 - autosport.com, This site is a legend. A bible for racing lovers. News from all around the word. Unfortunately, to get access to all news, interviews and to open the site completely you should be subscribed to Autosport magazine. Anyway, great read.

James Allen on F1
- JA.F1 site (or blog) ovned by ITV Sport’s lead commentator on Formula 1 James Allen

Joe Saward blog
- joesaward is the Joe Saward official blog about Formula 1 world. Joe is an journalist, who write primarily about politics in and around motorsport, specifically on the FIA Formula 1 World Championship

Vital F1
 - vitalf1.com/ is another great site for Motor Sports fan’s like me. Site is relatively new, but great fun, with great discussion forum, Formula 1 news and forum.

 GP update
- f1.gpupdate.net, Site with fresh news from Formula 1

Planet F1
 - planetf1, another site with many different articles, news and statistics. Biased toward British teams, but anyway good read.

Gurney flap
 - gurneyflap.com, Great history site. You can learn a lot from this site. Pictures, cars and many many more. Great.

4mula1
-
4ormula1 is a database of Formula 1 history and statistics of drivers, teams, grand prix, and all results since 1950

Racecar engineering
-Racecar Engineering, an online magazine with a lot to learn from, a lot of technical information’s and explanations

FIA
 - fia.com, La Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile, representing the interests of motoring organisations and motor car users. Head organisation and ruler in auto sport.

Wikipedia
 - wikipedia.org, I don’t believe that I have to tell you anything about this site. It’s not about Formula 1 technology, but you can learn a lot about that too.

Sutton Images

grandprix photo

Carbibles
 - carbibles.com, a great site for normal car users. Here you can find explanations of almost everything about your car and how it works. Technical reviews and explanations of some in-car gadgets.

Dare To Be Different
- Daretobedifferent.org Susie Wolff and UK governing body of UK motorsport have joined forces to launch Dare To Be Different, a high-profile new initiative which is about increasing female participation, not just on the track but in all aspects of the sport.