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The secrets behind the Mercedes front suspension

Discussion in 'F1' started by Giorgio Piola, May 2, 2018.

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  1. Giorgio Piola

    Giorgio Piola Rookie
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    Formula 1 world champion Mercedes finally turned its W09 into a winner in Baku last weekend – but is under no illusions that it needs to understand it car more to better extract performance from the tyres.

    A key area of focus to make progress on this front will be with its suspension system which, as Giorgio Piola’s exclusive drawings and video shows, features some unique ideas.

    Packaging the front suspension of a Formula 1 car is no easy task. There are just so many components to find space for – and on top of what we can see there are things we can’t, such as the pedals, master cylinders and, importantly, the driver’s feet.

    The tight area to work within means there is a place for everything – and the 2018 Mercedes is no exception.

    It has the common top-and-bottom carbon wishbone and a carbon pushrod operating inboard rockers (1).

    Where the black top part of the pushrod changes to the silver part there are shims (slightly darker silver) to alter the ride height. As the angle of the pushrod is about 45 degrees, adding a 0.5mm shim will raise the ride height by roughly 1mm.

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    Mercedes W09 front suspension, captioned
    Photo by: Giorgio Piola

    Looking at the car from the front, it has torsion/springs on both sides (3). The left-hand torsion/spring will be splined into the machined-out rocker.

    As the two additional rockers (4) are joined together in the middle with a solid link that effectively creates a third connecting rocker to help the other two drive the anti-roll bar, the small-toothed plate on the right-hand side rocker is to locate the torsion/spring to that rocker. Having this small plate will allow adjustment so there is no preload on the system.

    The interesting thing is where Mercedes has fitted the front anti-roll bar. It is inside the left-hand torsion spring (3 indicates the left and right). Its lower spline will fit into a spline on the inner diameter of the left-hand torsion/spring and its top spline will be driven by the small-toothed plate.

    When the car sits on the ground and the aerodynamic force starts to build up, the left-hand rocker will rotate clockwise. The right-hand rocker will rotate anti-clockwise and with the solid link connecting them in the middle they will rotate at the same ratio, closing the gap between them, effectively acting as a central damper.

    When the car reaches a certain speed that central gap will become zero and the car will then sit on the silver mesh-style bump stop. In a straight line, this will then reduce the car’s vertical movement dramatically as this bump stop is very stiff.

    However, in a right-hand corner when the car builds up lateral force and the chassis rolls, the left-hand rocker will rotate anti-clockwise and the right-hand rocker will also rotate anticlockwise. This will then twist the anti-roll bar. In this condition, it is the sum of the anti-roll bar stiffness and the torsion/spring that gives the car its roll stiffness.

    Just to explain what a torsion/spring is, it is a round bar or tube with a spline at each end, something like 15-25cm long. One end is anchored to the chassis down at the driver’s feet and the other end to the rocker.

    When the suspension moves downwards, it twists the bar and this is the stiffness that supports the car. A larger diameter, a thicker wall thickness, or a shorter torsion/spring will increase the vertical stiffness. The anti-roll bar design is very similar but the function is very different.

    The torsion bar (2), power-steering assembly (5) and tyre tethers (6) are also shown.

    I'm so excited that my illustrations are being converted into genuine works of art!
    To see them please follow this link www.giorgiopiola.com/art/
     
    teak360, anunakki, classic308 and 6 others like this.
  2. jgonzalesm6

    jgonzalesm6 F1 Veteran
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    Geez....it gets more complicated. Just when I somewhat understood the heave and spring mechanism W07 & W08. I have seen pit pics of this.

    Nice art work and analysis.

    Would be nice to see an intricate video of how all these pieces co-exist amongst one another.
     
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  3. tifoso2728

    tifoso2728 F1 Veteran
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    Awesome . . . Thank you, Giorgio Piola. Your drawings are amazing!
     
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  4. Giorgio Piola

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    Thank you! I have an agreement with MotorsportTV, I couldn't post the video here because it couldn't be embedded using MotorsportTV, it's a shame. The full article with the video is here though:
    https://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/mercedes-tech-front-suspension-secrets-1032547/
     
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  5. Giorgio Piola

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    Thank you! It is my passion..
     
  6. jgonzalesm6

    jgonzalesm6 F1 Veteran
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  7. Jeronimo GTO

    Jeronimo GTO Formula 3

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    Thank you, Mr Piola for sharing your passion and talent with us! So... YES, we like your artwork! :)
     
  8. Giorgio Piola

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    Thank you :)
     
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  9. itschris

    itschris Formula 3

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    Absolute top notch.
     
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  10. maulaf

    maulaf Formula 3

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    I keep being impressed about the amount of innovation in the oldest element of the car: the mechanical suspension. Excellent article!
     
  11. Bisonte

    Bisonte F1 Veteran

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    Fantastic work, thanks for posting it!
     
  12. Giorgio Piola

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    Pleasure!
     
  13. jcurry

    jcurry F1 World Champ
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    lol
     
  14. Gatorrari

    Gatorrari F1 World Champ
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    Thanks as usual, Giorgio. You keep those of us who are ingegneri on our toes (and probably confuse those who aren't!) :D
     
  15. jcurry

    jcurry F1 World Champ
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    Could you explain this further.
     
  16. PDX_214

    PDX_214 Formula Junior

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    Giorgio, great work! I assume you are working from pictures, but do you ever have the car in front of you to match them up or get measurments??


    Too bad I'm just a lowly race mechanic, I'll just stare at the pretty pictures until it comes to me :rolleyes:
     
  17. crinoid

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    I don't like your art, I LOVE IT!!! Please post everything you do!!!!! :)
     
  18. fatbillybob

    fatbillybob F1 World Champ
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    Cars weigh nothing yet they need power steering?
     
  19. lorenzobandini

    lorenzobandini F1 Rookie
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    Worry not... 'Tracks get much smoother they'll just be glorified go-karts...no suspension necessary. I miss the days of yore....full droop and such..... :(
     
  20. Igor Ound

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    This what I’d keep F1 like. Ban all electronics other than on the steering wheel for driver’s interface and make everything else hydro-mechanical, including Kers. Cars would be a work of art to look at and understand and it would get rid of all the gimmicks of recent times.
     
  21. lorenzobandini

    lorenzobandini F1 Rookie
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    How would the above change the appearance of the cars?
     
  22. Lucky Jones

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    Probably due to the width of the wheels/tires/tyres. All that wide rubber would be pretty difficult to turn from low speed.

    Maybe?
     
  23. classic308

    classic308 F1 Veteran

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    Grande lavoro Giorgio!
     
  24. teak360

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    #24 teak360, May 6, 2018
    Last edited: May 6, 2018
    Absolutely beautiful artwork by Giorgio.

    The key is that the pushrod is mounted at about a 45 degree angle to horizontal.
    Speaking hypothetically:
    If the pushrod is vertical, a .5mm shim will raise the ride height .5mm
    As the pushrod approaches horizontal, a .5mm shim will raise the ride height an amount approaching infinity.
    Since the pushrod is at a 45 degree angle and it is a fixed length, adding a .5mm shim means the suspension must move so that the pushrod rotates about it's fixed upper mount and becomes slightly more vertical, the angle to horizontal is now greater than 45 degrees. This movement necessarily lowers the bottom of the tire relative to the car about 1mm. If you were to add another .5mm shim, the next ride height change would be slightly less than 1mm, and the next even less until the pushrod becomes vertical. Then, a .5mm shim raises the ride height by .5mm.
     

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