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McLaren Halts Development of Trick Suspension

Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren MP4-25

McLaren has halted development on a self-adjusting ride-height mechanism in the wake of the FIA’s recent ruling that any system that changes a car’s ride-height during parc ferme conditions would be a form of active suspension, and thus illegal.

McLaren had stated their intention to develop such a technology largely in an effort to compete with Red Bull.  It had been suspected that the Milton-Keynes based Austrian had employed such a system to gain downforce during qualifying.  Red Bull boss Christian Horner has vociferously denied that they have such a system, however.  In fact, Horner has asserted that the FIA’s ruling will not force them to make any changes to their current suspension system.

As reported in Autosport, engineering director Paddy Lowe said in a recent phone conference that, while McLaren had been working to deploy their own quasi-active-suspension as soon as possible, they have now suspended all development.

“Now that the FIA has taken a fresh view of it and drawn a different line – and one we think is nearer the historical line – we are reacting to that too, so we’ve had to change some of the things we’re doing,” Lowe said.  “Basically, we had a system we were working on, and we’ve now suspended that.”

Lowe admitted that the general feeling at McLaren was that they were playing catch-up in developing such a system, but he refused to speculate in any detail as to which teams might have deployed such as system, and how sophisticated they might be.

“We absolutely don’t know who has been doing what and whether anyone has been racing anything in the nature of ride height control systems,” Lowe said.  “We got the feeling that others were further advanced in development. I haven’t got a clue as to whether anyone else has a system on their cars though.”

Image by f1photos.org, licensed through Creative Commons.

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