Active suspension could return to F1 as cost cutting measure

A rare view of Williams Renault active suspension and hydraulics used in 1993

A rare view of Williams Renault active suspension and hydraulics used in 1993

Formula 1 could witness the return of highly-sophisticated active suspension technology in an effort to cut costs.

Reporting from Shanghai, Telegraph correspondent Daniel Johnson said the idea is among a draft proposal by the FIA after teams blocked Jean Todt’s plans for a budget cap.

Active suspension was banned after Williams utterly dominated in 1993, but bringing it back could cut costs by making it easier and cheaper to set up today’s complex cars.

Johnson said that every car would by 2017 be fitted with ‘FIA standard active suspension’, and along with other benefits it could mean thatteams could function with fewer technicians at grands prix.

Among some of the other cost-cutting ideas – part of a three-year plan – are proposals to further extend gearbox life and paddock curfews, and simplify front wing designs.

The changes might not be popular with Adrian Newey, however, as Formula 1′s best designer recently questioned the direction the sport is taking.

Ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix, he hit out at Formula 1′s new ‘green’ credentials, arguing that if the batteries collecting hybrid power to feed the smaller turbo V6 engines are produced “from a coal-fired power station, then clearly it’s not green at all”.

“This concept that a hybrid car is automatically green is a gross simplification,” said the Briton. “So I think technically, to be perfectly honest, it’s slightly questionable.”

Newey also said that the ‘new’ Formula 1 is more like sports car racing than traditional Formula 1.

“Formula 1 should be about excitement,” he said. “It should be about man and machine performing at its maximum every single lap.”

Asked on Wednesday if Newey’s commitment to the new and ‘questionable’ Formula 1 is still as high as ever, Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner insisted: “Absolutely.

“Adrian is one of the most driven people, if not the most driven person, I’ve ever met,” he is quoted by Sporting Life.

“He’s passionate about Formula 1, a purist, and he speaks from the heart,” Horner added. (GMM)

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