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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 rear 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. Also, there is a significant aerodynamic advantage because all underbody of the car is acting kind like huge diffuser.

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. also, this configuration will, in case of Formula 1 car increase uplift.

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

Teams will always try to reduce hight of the front of the car if not all of the car. Thats why, at the December of the 2017, FIA clamp down on Formula 1 teams using steering angle to gain an aerodynamic advantage via the use of clever front suspension geometry systems. Charlie Whiting send a Technical Directive to the teams made it clear that the governing body believes that in 2017 some teams designed their suspension and steering systems to lower the front ride height in cornering, potentially providing an aerodynamic benefit and hence increasing grip. Whilst some change in ridehight is inevitable when the steering wheel is moved from lock-to-lock, they suspect that the effect of some systems was a far from incidental change of ride height, and any non-incidental change of ride height will affect the aerodynamic performance of the car.

They ask teams to provide all relevant documentation showing what effect steering has on the front ride height of car, that this effect is incidental, and that ride height should change by no more than 5.0mm when the steering wheel is moved from lock-to-lock. 
Whiting referenced a 24-year-old FIA International Court of Appeal ruling on suspension as a precedent for the interpretation of the key F1 technical regulation that concerns aerodynamic influence. One section of the regulations reads "any car system, device or procedure which uses driver movement as a means of altering the aerodynamic characteristics of the car is prohibited," and that may be the wording that the FIA is using to help to justify its stance. Hence, any change of front ride height when the steering wheel is moved from lock-to-lock should be wholly incidental.
Here at motorsport.com ex-Formula 1 technical director Gary Anderson offers his view on the FIA's newest technical directive aimed at limiting aerodynamic advantage gained through front suspension systems.

 

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RIP Dan Gurney
January 14, 2018 at noon, aged 86, died Daniel Dan Sextorn Gurney, a racer, a team owner, a car manufacturer and a sage, American racing legend, a man who won four F1 grands prix in his 86 starts, the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1967 and five NASCAR races. He also won races in CanAm and TransAm. He won 1967 Belgian Grand Prix driving an Eagle-Weslake, a car of his own creation, for me most beautiful F1 car ever (on my banner). In F1 circles, there was only one Dan. The American is also credited with the spraying of champagne on podiums and creating the "Gurney flap" aerodynamic device. In 1968, he became the first driver to use a full-face helmet in a grand prix. He is survived by his second wife, Evi Butz, sons Justin, Alex, Daniel Jr, John and James, and a daughter, Lyndee and by eight grandchildren. RIP Dan and thank you for everything. Godspeed.


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.

Missed Apex Podcast
Enjoy range of Podcasts and Articles on Motorsport. Every week a Formula one chat on Missed Apex F1 Podcast with F1 journalist Joe Saward and tech Analyst Matthew Somerfield as guests. Also the exciting all electric racing series formula E on eRadio Show and Bike Show Lean Angle Podcast.

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.

Giorgio Piola web site