Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Interlagos, 2011

Ferrari finally taking Red Bull’s lead on suspension

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: Ferrari are believed to have taken Red Bull’s lead with their new 2012 F1 car by fitting pull-rod rear suspension.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Some indiscretions from Italy about the new Ferrari F1 car (James Allen)

“Among the indiscretions [Giorgio] Piola has published in Gazzetta dello Sport today are that the suspension is a pull-rod system, the first on a Ferrari for 11 years. This is what Red Bull has been using since 2009 and many others have followed.”

Scarbs F1 via Twitter

“Rumours are Ferrari and McLaren both have the sidepods split from the side impact protection and thus a split floor. This creates a shorter floor and moves downforce rearwards to compensate for the loss of the exhaust-blown diffuser. This is similar to the short floor used by Mercedes W02 in expectation of a lesser EBD effect in 2011, but without the short wheelbase. Clever!”

Raikkonen: I didn’t expect to return (Sky)


“I had no plans for the future, I have no plans now for the future. There was different choices for this year but I really wanted to do racing – I did some NASCAR last year and I really enjoyed competing against people again. It was then that I decided to do some racing again and F1 is the highest level of racing and where people want to be.”

FIA: Reactive ride offered aero benefit (Autosport)

“The FIA believed that because the systems relied on changes being made to the length of the suspension member as well as unusual movement of the brake calipers – and these alterations helped the aerodynamics of the car ?ǣ that they were in breach of Article 3.15 of F1’s Technical Regulations, which effectively bans moveable aerodynamic devices.”

Lewis Hamilton unavailable for date of Adrian Sutil trial (BBC)

Lewis Hamilton has told the court trying his friend Adrian Sutil that he will not be available on the day they initially wanted him to testify.”

How Hunt helped ‘The Rat’ return (Motorsport Musings)

“Upon hearing his answers, Hunt was unequivocal, and urged [John] Hogan [of Philip Morris] to sign him immediately. Without Hunt?s advice there is every possibility that Lauda may well have never received the opportunity to drive for McLaren.”

Follow F1 news as it breaks using the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app.

Comment of the day

WarfieldF1’s estimation of which teams will still be in F1 in ten years? time may seem a tad pessimistic but looking at the poll so far it seems to reflect what quite a few people thought:

Ferrari: Yes, it’s their DNA.
McLaren: Yes, seemingly well-financed going forward.
Red Bull: No, its a marketing exercise.
Toro Rosso: Same as Red Bull.
Wiliams: No, too close to the edge.
Mercedes: No, accountants will see it off.
Force India: No, Vijay Mallya seems pretty skint according to Indian press.
Lotus: No, a venture capital firm and a struggling lotus parent company.
Sauber: No, once Peter goes.
Marussia: No, see Spyker.
HRT: No.
Caterham: No, Tony’s money will eventually return to Tony.

Upbeat prediction I know!

Cast your vote on which F1 teams will still be in the sport ten years from now here:

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Ling!

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On this day in F1

The Circuit de Catalunya completed construction of its new chicane on this day five years ago. The corner was added to reduce the speed of the cars through the final two corners.

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Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 71 comments on “Ferrari finally taking Red Bull’s lead on suspension”

    1. +1 on WarfieldF1’s thoughts. It’s not a bright future!

      1. Don’t forget “Team ridiculously optomistic” from a newly wealthy country or “Team it’s cheaper than a war” from a mineral rich dictatorship.

    2. A pull-rod RBR-ish suspension (meh, most of the teams use it), a floor similar to Mercedes’ one… wasn’t the 2012 Ferrari going to be an innovative car? Oh, almost forgot, they adapted Lotus’ ride height system, now banned.

      1. From the rumours, yes it will be innovative as it seems the sidepods will have crash structure winglets infront of them, and pull rod front suspension too, something which can only work with a low nose.

        1. Ferrari since the Rory years has been a master of duplication instead of innovation, why change now?

          1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
            24th January 2012, 15:41

            Because Ferrari copycats aren’t bringing any WDC since Raikkonen was set aside. They always promise, every single year, that their car will be a champion. Enough of promises I know it’s typical PR but a conservatiePR would help when things don’t go as expected

        2. That’s true and has lead me to wonder: shall we see even lower noses this year? Because the RBR didn’t had a particularly low nose, yet it featured pull-rod suspension.
          On a side note, those winglets you mentioned (which I discovered by chance thanks to you :) ) aren’t quite similar to Mclaren’s little flaps over the U-shaped sidepods?

          1. The pullrod layout was used only on the rear – not the front – of the RBR cars since ’09 FYI.

            The Reactive ride thingo – I still get frustrated at this whole ‘moveable aero’ debate. All it did was keep the nose level and reduced pitching under braking especially. That would have made the car more stable under braking (from my understanding, but I am a teacher and Australian, so I may have got that wrong – feel free to correct me where necessary) and it would have smoothed out the aero profile for the front wing under braking.

            Could the same argumant be made against the 2010 McLaren running ultra stiff suspension to better exploit the DDD? Or the tail high rake set up used by RBR over the last couple of years? Not sure that the FIA has really explained themselves well on this imho…

    3. Wiliams: No, too close to the edge.
      Sauber: No, once Peter goes.

      I could see both these teams staying on the grid in spirit, if not in the letter. After all, Bruce McLaren has been dead for forty-two years, but the McLaren name still lives on. So, if a manufacturer wants to come into the sport, I can see them buying into Williams or Sauber – just as BMW did a few years ago – and keeping the name, though I think both will have learned hard lessons from the BMW Sauber incident (though to be fair, we did go into a global recession at the time). There is constant speculation that the VW group could join Formula 1 in 2014 when the new engine regulatiosn come into play (Audi was really lobbying for those inline-fours), because they’ve got a lot of loose change floating around that they can spend on motorsport. They’re getting the Polo R WRC program off the ground in 2013, and with Peugeot withdrawing from sports car racing, Audi don’t really have anything left to prove there. So buying into a Formula 1 team is a viable option for them.

      1. I guess like ferrari, even mclaren has F1 in their DNA. cause how many cars have mclaren released? 2? F1 and the MP4-12C. and one with mercedes, the SLR.
        And also, it is about the name remaining on the grid. Cause otherwise most of the teams today are just some older teams rebranded.

        1. What I’m trying to say is that I can see a manufacturer buying into a “name” team like Williams or Sauber and retaining that name – particualy once Frank Williams or Peter Sauber want to retrire – the way BMW did with Sauber or Mercedes did with McLaren.

      2. It’s also worth noting Williams Hybrid Power have been working for a while with VW Group/Porsche on the (pretty successful) Hybrid 911 GT3 – I could see a closer tie up being a possibility

        1. Am I the only one here who’d like to see the Bugatti name back in Grand Prix racing?

    4. Joe Saward has posted some concept art of the Sochi circuit.

      1. From the earliest configurations posted I was very sceptical about Sector 3, which you can’t really see in the concept art, but the first part of the track looks like it could both look good and actually be good as well.

        1. I’m kind of disappointed that the Sochi circuit has been revised. The original plan had a much smoother turn coming the long left-hander, so it looked like it was going to be really fast – a long left-hander that felt like it was going to go on forever, followed by a fantastically-quick right-hander that crept up on you if you weren’t careful. I really thought it had the makings of a classic corner, but it’s been tightened up.

          As for the final sector, I think it’s going to be very Monaco-ish and at odds with the rest of the circuit. That seems to be Tilke’s thing these days: two quick sectors and then a third slower one. I think he tries to force the teams into compromising their setup, either by perfecting the car for the fastest parts of the circuit and hoping that the difference is enough to endure the third, or to go for a balanced setup that doesn’t really exploit the car’s strengths at the fastest parts. I think he was actually pretty successful with this in Korea (we’ve constantly seen cars setting similar lap times there, but they set wildly different sector times), but a lot of it was undone by DRS and exhaust-blown diffusers.

      2. Another art ‘n’ architecture project rather than a race track. Brilliant.

        I look forward to seeing 2 dull and 1 average race there before the organisers/Bernie/ government pull the plug.

        1. The government won’t pull the plug. Russia these days is flush with more cash than they know what to do with.

      3. Looks horrible. Horrible.

        It’s going to be another bore-fest track. Look at those corners. We’ve seen them everywhere round the Tilke-dromes. There’s even a rip-off Korea’s last corner, that long constant radius right hander…

        THey are really not bothered about the track: the buildings are the main thing, really.

        1. @fer-no65

          There wasn’t much that could be done with Sochi. It is, after all, set in the Olympic plaza, and it has to wind its way around the Olympic venues. Some of the corners actually look like they’re going to be very fast, and the final sector should bunch everyone up again. Especially since the circuit will be the third-longest on the calendar (it’s only about two hundred metres shorter than Silverstone). I wouldn’t be surprised if we get a very unique surface in Russia, one that blends in with the rest of the site.

          As for the fancy buildings, I recall reading somewhere that it was something of a condition of the circuit’s presence. The IOC want the circuit finished before the Winter Olympics go ahead so that the place doesn’t look like a construction site – especially since the pits, paddock and grandstands will be the first thing visitors see because it’s right next to the train station at the north end of the plaza. They want it to be an Olympic venue first and a Formula 1 circuit second, so the pits and paddock have been camouflaged to look like Olympic venues rather than racing facilities.

        2. Long, constant radius right-hand corner at the end of the lap?

          It’s not Korea they’re ripping off, it’s Estoril.

    5. Hopefully the new pull-rod suspension will improve the Ferrari’s ability to conserve tread wear.

      1. I don’t remember Ferrari ever having wear problems in the first place.

        1. They did have problems warming the tyres up.

          I dunno what dpod meant, but I wonder if cold tyres at the forcing F1 cars operate at would cause the tyres to wear across the tyre.

          1. *forces*

            Curse my rebellious fingers!

          2. My apologies, I did not think this through when I wrote it. I just remembered they had problem with the tires and just now realized it was with warming up the tires now that you corrected me. Sorry

      2. yeah they had issues with getting heat into their tyres. For some reasons, i feel like ferrari is bored of F1. Dunno why. when was the last time they actually won a championship comfortably? Kimi won only cause hamilton’s gearbox decided to go into neutral. That year wasn’t a strong year for Ferrari.
        All they do now is talk to the media, fire people when races go bad, have meetings in italy, and abandon development on their current car halfway through the year to make a better car for the next year (which isn’t even that good).
        For a team that actually gives F1 recognition, its just sad to see the way they operate.

        1. I’d note that before Todt/Brawn/Schumacher/etc Ferrari were probably in a similar place to where they are now.

          1. @mike, true they have been in the doldrums before but at least then they could build and develop the engines which are the heart of Ferrari.

            1. How exactly are they the heart of Ferrari?

              Historically, it’s never been one of their strong points. Especially nowadays, I expect them to the thoroughly trounced by Mercedes and maybe even Renault should more freedom be given.

        2. For some reasons, i feel like ferrari is bored of F1. Dunno why.

          I think you answered your own question:

          when was the last time they actually won a championship comfortably?

          I’m surprised the Wroom! event went by without Luca suggesting three-car teams (again). Ferrari see themselves as being representative of Formula 1. They think the two are synonymous, and so they expect to be competing for the World Championship – both of them – year in and year out. And while Alonso had a good shot at it in 2010, the team blew it in Abu Dhabi with a bad pit call, and their 2009 and 2011 seasons were let down by cars that were less-than-impressive. Because of their history, they feel that they have a right to expect that they will be title contenders, but it’s just not happening, so they’re probably very frustrated.

          1. i did answer my own question! :D

            Why can’t they do what mclaren did last year? Mclaren spent all of pre season testing with their octopus exhaust and banned it the last minute and copied RBR and had a strong year. No one’s stopping ferrari from being innovative. But if it isnt working, just copy someone else and get a competitive car to and then improve on it all the year round.

            And I dont understand the 3 car team thing as well. Alonso won one race in the entire season last year and the massa was nowhere to be seen. Also, they concentrate only on one driver. what are they going to do with 3 cars? if they have another horrible year in 2012 (and i really hope they don’t, for the sake of massa and alonso atleast) and if the 3 car rule was enforced, that’d just be 3 slow ferraris on the track.

            1. And I dont understand the 3 car team thing as well.

              Because it would give them another car to score points with. With three cars per team and ten points-scoring positions, Ferrari would be virtually guaranteed a top-three finish every year. Because the top three teams would probably fill out the top nine positions every race. Everyone else would be squabbling over a single point, so they wouldn’t be able to threaten Ferrari.

          2. They blew it in 2010 because they fell for the RBR trick of pitstop. They used Mark Webber to make sure that SEB gets the WDC

            1. Ferrari’s entire pit strategy hinged on Alonso’s ability to get past Vitaly Petrov after the first stop. Petrov is not exactly a highly-rated driver, and Alonso is considered one of the best in the sport. Therefore, the idea that Red Bull pitted Webber early to trick Alonso into stopping was an incredibly risky one, because if Alonso had managed to get past Petrov as soon as Ferrari had intended him to, then Vettel would have lost the title.

            2. The Scuderia never had a chance. Sebastian drove flawlessly. Webber drove very well also. The result was never in doubt.

            3. I think it was very much in doubt at the time, because how well Vettel did didn’t matter if Alonso could have got past a few slower cars ahead of him.

              He was just unlucky that all the variables added up against him.

          3. Well, imagine your team had won a title on average every 3.8 years (in spite of two dry spells of 11 amd 16 years respective – winning the WCC 16 times, coming second 14 times and third 9 times) and won one out of four races you competed in, wouldn’t you expect to be at the front once again (also considering your considerable budget)? Also consider that you hired the best driver (or at least one of them) and completely restructured your development team and program. And not to forget, if things get a bit rocky you have a president who is willing and more than able to draw media attention and all the flak on himself instead of the team. All that rolled in one should be a good starting point for a successful season so there is every reason to be highly positive (yet sometimes being a bit more humble when looking at the competition sure wouldn’t hurt but after all: if you don’t go into a season or race willing to win it you should rather let it be).

            1. Talking about ferrari or mclaren? I thought mclaren was the one with a hit rate of 1 of every 4? (jeremy clarkson said it, not me. shoot him! :D).

              Exactly. everyone is allowed to be optimistic. Even HRT, even though their car isnt world championship contender material yet. but then there’s a difference is imagining and actually doing something about it. The stats are the reason people look forward to ferrari winning every year like the old times with schumi at the wheel. but ferrari is just lost and always have someone or something to blame for it.

              Wasn’t ferrari and mclaren always closely matched? RBR is the new kid on the block. And yes, quite a good one. But if not RBR standards, then ferrari should atleast be as good as mclaren?

          4. OmarR-Pepper (@)
            24th January 2012, 15:51

            @prisoner-monkeys don’t forget how a bad “traffic-light-lollipop when massa was pitted in Singapure 2008 spoiled his race completely, and then Hamilton won the championship by low margin… Well that year Hamilton was almost stolen the championship after his Spa clash

        3. LOL, 2007 wasn’t a strong year for Ferrari? Kimi had 6 wins to Hamilton’s 4. Ferrari 9 to McLaren’s 8.

          As well Hamilton’s gearbox going into neutral at the last race didn’t win it for Kimi, as then that can be evened out when Kimi retired twice with mechanical issues, and would have won the championship before Brazil.

          As well Ferrari were even stronger in 2008, but lost it to silly mistakes like Massa in Singapore.

          It’s only since 2009 that Ferrari have halted, and Red Bull along with McLaren moved forward. Then again 2010 was anyone’s championship. So by the numbers, it’s 2009 and 2011 that Ferrari wasn’t championship material.

          1. Wasn’t 2007 the year that Hamilton drove into kimi in the pitlane??
            I got a merry ol’ chuckle out of that :)

            1. OmarR-Pepper (@)
              24th January 2012, 15:56

              @julian … and I laughed till I choked when Ham missed the pit entry in China and stuck his car in that place! Really must be difficult for a rookie to feel that pressure of having possibilities to be the champ at first hit.

            2. @Julian. Nope, that was Canada 2008.

    6. So kimi left f1 and went to nascar only to find out that everyone at every other racing genre wants to be in f1 and realized, “oh wait! i was in f1 all along!” and then he came back. :P

      1. It is the same Kimi who once said he was done with F1 when he had a fat wad of cash in hand.

        1. You’ll eat those words faster than you can lick an ice cream by seasons end

      2. @hatebreeder, maybe being able to eat as much ice-cream as he wanted became as boring as Nascar.

        1. Speaking of NASCAR, Is any one watching the Daytona 500? I think I will. Should be a decent way to re-introduce motorsport into my system.

    7. I’m not convinced that Red Bull will disappear in under 10 years. U think It’s easy to say why, though.

      It’s as much a marketing exercise for them as it is for Mercedes or Lotus, Red Bull did have to work up the field so I do believe they’re serious and long term.

      1. But having bought a team cheap and invested time and money in it, Mateschitz will want out while the team is at (or near) the top of its game, in order to get a return on his investment. Think about it – McLaren and Ferrari are the other big teams, and they can’t be bought. Mercedes and (Black)Lotus aren’t in the same league. So right now he has the most valuable liquid asset in F1… if someone wanted to buy in.

        1. Banburyhammer1
          24th January 2012, 13:53

          I think its the other way round, and mateschitz is simply using Red Bull as a means to own his own F1 team, seeing as by all accounts hes a long term f1 fan himself.

      2. It all depends if the chemicals in the actual Red Bull drink will evantually become banned worldwide. :p LOL

        Although seriously, I do feel that RedBull needs to split it’s racing image from it’s energy drinks icon, and perhaps release a proper roadcar for the public. Like what McLaren did.

        1. @ivano @topdowntoedown While I do respect that F1 is a business for many of the competitors, I don’t see Mateschitz wanting to bow out so easily if he considers that the team have peaked. They’re possibly the greatest flagship for his brand and I believe that as a brand they’re becoming more and more synonymous with their non-energy drink endeavours.

          Releasing a road car is a huge, huge step. It would require decades of commitment and after marker care. They could however share technology in a similar way to what McLaren do. That would ultimately be a better representation of their brand I think.

          1. Red Bull have just launched a pre-paid mobile phone operation in Australia, it started, like Coca Cola, as an energy drink but is now morphing into a marketing brand. Plenty of reasons to keep a top F1 team going.

            1. @hohum Really? Wow. F1 is an excellent marketing opportunity so they would do well to hang about.

        2. It happened to Coca Cola and they seem to surviving!

    8. COTD is really right even though it’s a little harsh but it’s reality.

    9. this is a picture of the how the new Ferrari will look like

      1. Hmmm. Pat Fry as just copied the McLaren then. They’re one year late! Hope there are some more interesting things than this.

        1. Mclaren? I can’t see it has U-shaped sidepod…It’s rather Redbull copy than Mclaren.

            1. Ah, that wing. Perhaps.

        2. the legendary RORY BYRNE worked on this car so it must have something original

    10. I’m amazed at how stubborn Ferrari were with the suspension. Everyone did it differently but they stuck to their guns. I’ve no idea if that’s admirable or laughable.

      1. Both I’d say.

      2. Strange as the pull rod suspension was actually used by Minardi in 2001, and I think it was during Aldo Costa’s time at that team.

        1. I wonder the new low nose regs might encourage pull-rod front suspension again as found on the PS01?

          By the way, probably one of the most beautiful cars ever designed.

      3. When the DDDs were outlawed last season – that was the time to switch to pull-rod if you hadn’t done already.

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