The FIA has concurred that the ride-height control system (currently being developed by the Ferrari and Lotus F1), is to be banned in the sport. Banned, after both teams were initially told the device was legal and thus allowed to run in the upcoming 2012 Formula 1 World Championship. J-Damper anyone?
Why the FIA has decided to sequester reactive systems only after it had given two thumbs up to the Lotus idea as recent as last January, sounds awfully like someone biting into a green banana with sunglasses on! Following further investigation by FIA officials and representations from other F1 teams (which teams would they be?), the FIA has changed its view on the device, claiming its primary function is to improve a Formula One car’s aerodynamics (the system designed to keep the car’s height as constant as possible during braking heading into a corner).
copyright Getty Images 2012
I hate to break it to the FIA, but if they really wanted to ban devices designed to improve aerodynamics they should’ve given Newey, Murray and Chapman a one-way ticket to Vyborg (Apologies to Vitaly Petrov). Surely the worst that can be said for ride-height control is that it would further impede a driver’s ability to manipulate a cars dynamic mass, or even worse mask the ability of great driver to do so.
If the FIA were at all interested in preserving the intricacies (or heaven forbid purity) of the sport, I doubt KERS or DRS would’ve ever been on the discussion table. Sure, Electrical power generated by braking then stored for later use through a motor situated between the engine and the transmission is an in-genius system, but in simple terms of improving racing is akin to picking one’s nose via their arsehole.
The Lotus system appears mechanical (now there’s a foreign concept) and is activated by brake torque. Being an intrinsic part of the suspension system, it was therefore deemed legal as recent as January because it could not be classified as a moveable aerodynamic device. Well what came first? The chicken, or the egg? Lotus’ 2011 experiment (in Renault GP guise) with an exhaust blown floor failed because they threw too many eggs in the one basket. If they could get the ride experiment working, then fair play to them. F1 is about innovation. The competitive edge between teams will always ebb and flow (at least in a perfect world they should) and blue-sky ideas shouldn’t be discouraged.
As Christian Horner told AUTOSPORT. “Such systems are not tacked on” and “have to work as a package rather than as individual components. It appears to be an interesting concept but I’m the wrong person to be commenting on it.”
If only the FIA could take the same view.