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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013 Ferrari to have greater head protection

German and Spanish publications are respectively reporting that Mercedes and Ferrari 2013 F1 challengers have passed the mandatory FIA Crash tests. is reporting that the 2013 Ferrari monocoque is heavier than last years to comply with new FIA minimum weight requirements and that the design will offer greater protection to the driver, this after the close call for Alonso at the start of the Belgian GP last year.

Meanwhile reports that the 2013 Mercedes, the snappily titled AMGW04, has been designed around a new "ultra-small" gearbox which has been successfully tested, the "coanda exhaust" and a new rear wheel suspension system.

Nico Rosberg exits the pits at the German GP 2012.
Can the team find the speed to compete with the front runners in 2013?
Copyright: Mercedes AMG
The publication assumes that the design will be similar to the Red Bull, particularly around the exhaust area.

The report says that Mercedes approached the new challenger from the perspective that they were 1.5-2 seconds behind the Red Bull in 2012 and on the expectation that Red Bull would find another second over the course of the off-season.  Their task, it reports, was to make up that three second gap and they say that if the wind tunnel data is accurate they have accomplished half of their objective to-date.

Of course that approach could well be fundamentally flawed as the Red Bull team, led by Adrian Newey, can probably achieve another "step" in the evolutionary 2013 car.

The design genius of Adrian Newey is likely to upset Mercedes in 2013
Copyright: Vladimir Rys/Getty Images
On the issue of design there are a lot of reports floating around the web ether that a number of teams, including McLaren, are looking at the potential of utilising the Ferrari F2012's pull-rod suspension system which had been abandoned by the sport for over 10 years in favour of the push-rod system.

The Ferrari F2012's pull rod suspension was not evolutionary but revisionary.
Reports say that other teams are now looking at it as part of their 2013 designs.
Courtesy: Pirelli F1
This was assessed by the likes of F1Technical and Craig Scarborough back when the Ferrari F2012 was launched last year- both sites have detailed graphics to illustrate the concept as does and both sites explain the system about a million times better than I could hope to:

Most striking however is Ferrari's front pull rod suspension, a feature not seen in F1 ever since the introduction of high noses. It was deemed more practical to have a pull rod, as this could run from high on the nose to low in the upright, creating a steep angle for which it was easier to setup the suspension. Ferrari though appears confident it can be done differently. With the main suspension arms slowing down at nearly 16°, the pull rod runs from the lowest edge of the nose to the uppermost end of the wheel's upright, creating a 10° angle for the pull rod. In essence, suspension travel will materialize by movement of the pull rod. Riding over a bump will pull the rod out of the chassis, something that is countered by the dampers and springs inside the car. Ferrari mainly hope that this will bring a performance advantage due to its lower centre of gravity, as the heaviest suspension components can now be placed low in the hub.
Ferrari has revived the pullrod set up for the front of the car. This effectively turns the pushrod set up upside down, now the rod passes down from the upper wishbone and connects with the rocker, which is now mounted at the bottom of the chassis. According to Fry, this set up is a little lighter and has a slightly lower Centre of Gravity. These gains alone will not pay for the systems inclusion on the car, so the team claim to have found an aero benefit. The pullrod can be thinner, but the real gain is the pullrod is mounted near horizontal across the front suspension. This places it in line with the upwash from the front wing. Just as with the wishbones, its profile can be subtly altered within the rules to help control the wake from the wing and improve the airflow over the rear of the car. Despite appearances the pullrod is as effective in moving the rocker for a given wheel travel as a pushrod. The important factor is the angle between the rod and the wishbone is connected to, rather than the rods angle to the chassis.