Do they Work?

 

A number of F3 vehicles have been rig tested at various times by the author. So far as he is aware, teams have not usually succeeded in converting a "rig" set-up into an acceptable track set-up - to the point where the author suspected that "mechanical" set-up was not important for that type of vehicle. However, one team reported recently that a rig set-up initially increased lap times by 1 second (at Magny Cours), but track time and a few minor adjustments reduced that by 1.8 seconds and also reduced tyre wear.

It might be concluded from this experience that:

  1. "Rig-based" suspension settings can improve the performance of most "aerodynamic" vehicles, including F3 vehicles.
  2. If the revised settings change the feel of a vehicle, then a driver will need track time to adapt to the change.
  3. Rig-based settings may make the vehicle more difficult to engineer (rubbers, free travel and preload adjustments are required to manage the transition from low speeds to high speeds and, for example, may need to be adjusted for each race circuit and when aerodynamic settings are changed).
  4. Without doubt it is necessary to control the attitude of "aerodynamic" vehicles at high speeds. A very stiff suspension simplifies the task and requires little detailed knowledge of the (non-linear) aerodynamic derivatives.
  5. If track time and/or budget is severely limited, then a safer engineering strategy might be to ignore "mechanical" set-up requirements - provided all competing teams adopt a similar strategy.