Mercedes Believes It’s Found the Ideal Ride Height for Its 2024 F1 Vehicle

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Mercedes has gone through a rough patch since the introduction of ground-effect vehicles in the 2022 season.

The W13 model from the previous year struggled with an issue called porpoising, while the team also grappled with inadequate ride height ranges for producing downforce. This forced them to maintain a position close to the ground.

This resulted in a double problem: it risked bouncing as downforce increased and demanded stiff suspension, causing difficulties with uneven tracks and curbs.

With the W14 model for this year, Mercedes aimed to produce downforce across a broader range of ride heights. They thought that a 15mm lift in the floors’ edges by the FIA would aid in this goal.

However, it appears Mercedes was too conservative in its approach to ride height. By avoiding being too close to the ground, it ended up running higher than its competitors, sacrificing performance.

James Allison, the technical director, confirmed this, stating that the decision was to prevent porpoising issues. He reflected on the choice between an aggressive approach trading bouncing protection for performance or a cautious route to avoid last year’s problems.

The team took the cautious approach, later realizing they had been overly cautious and needed to correct it.

The complexity of current cars, which depend on the control of vortices beneath the floor, means that a significant change in ride height entails an almost complete re-evaluation of aerodynamic maps. This is a process that cannot realistically be done mid-season.

Mercedes thinks that this can only be handled over the winter, as they look ahead to their new car.

Mike Elliott, Technology Director, Mercedes-AMG, expressed that after running too low in 2022 and too high this year, they believe they’ve properly calibrated the ride height for the 2024 W15 model.

When asked if Mercedes had found the optimal point, Elliott explained the challenges of testing with limited runs and emphasized the need to choose a direction and adjust as needed. He expressed confidence in having found the right position for the winter season.

Though Mercedes’ primary focus is now on the 2024 car, Elliott assured that they will still work on improving the W14 model.

He stressed the continuing learning opportunities and the fight for P2 in the championship, adding, “We’ll keep developing, but obviously our prime focus now is next year’s car.”

Elliott also dismissed any concerns that working on this year’s model would impede efforts for the next season, as some ongoing work could contribute to useful learning without hindering the development of the car for the upcoming year.

Photo by: Mark Sutton / F1 Flow Images

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Elliott emphasized the brand’s commitment to winning world championships and stated that developing a new car while making architectural changes does not necessarily hamper progress. In fact, he believes some of the work on this year’s car will aid in learning without hindering next year’s design.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about fokus keyword Mercedes

What was the problem with Mercedes’ W13 model in the 2022 season?

The W13 model struggled with an issue called porpoising, and the team also faced challenges with inadequate ride height ranges for producing downforce. This forced the car to run very close to the ground, leading to problems such as risking bouncing as downforce increased and demanding stiff suspension that caused difficulties with uneven tracks and curbs.

How has Mercedes addressed the ride height issue in its 2024 W15 model?

Mercedes believes it has properly calibrated the ride height for the 2024 W15 model. After being too cautious in previous years, leading to either too low or too high ride height, the team has found what they believe is the optimal point. They’ve also taken into consideration the limited number of testing runs and the complexities of aerodynamic maps to make these adjustments.

Will Mercedes continue to develop the W14 model?

Yes, although Mercedes is primarily focusing on the 2024 car, they will still work on improving the W14 model. The Technology Director, Mike Elliott, has emphasized that there are still learning opportunities and the team is fighting for P2 in the championship. The ongoing work on this year’s model is seen as helpful learning without hindering the development of the car for the upcoming year.

What prompted Mercedes to take a cautious approach to ride height in the past?

Mercedes took a cautious approach to avoid issues like porpoising that wrecked their previous season. They faced a choice between going aggressive for performance or taking a more cautious route to prevent certain problems. The team initially chose the latter, knowing it would be less painful to correct if wrong, but later realized they had been too cautious.

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James42 August 10, 2023 - 11:34 am

Wow, if Mercedes has really found the sweet spot for ride height, they could be back in the game next season! Can’t wait to see the W15 in action.

SpeedDemon77 August 11, 2023 - 12:23 am

I like how they are still focusing on W14, even when W15 is their future. shows commitment! I really hope they succeed, F1 needs Mercedes at their best.

MikeInWheels August 11, 2023 - 1:54 am

What took them so long to figure this out, i mean theyre a top team. This is so basic. Anyhow glad to see theyre finally getting it together. Go Mercedes!

F1Fanatic August 11, 2023 - 7:49 am

Finally! Mercedes is sorting out the porpoising problem. last year was a disaster and this year wasn’t much better. Hope the new car does the trick.

racing_gurl93 August 11, 2023 - 8:28 am

Does anyone else think that they’ve been too cautious, It feels like they should have fixed this a while ago, but I guess it’s better late than never.


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