Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis

How Mercedes gains from its unique rear suspension

Mercedes is the only Formula 1 team to have raised the pickup point of its rear upper wishbone in 2018, a move that improves both the downforce level of the car and the consistency with which it is delivered.

Mercedes has gone for a more inboard and, as with the front upright last year, higher pickup point.

The pullrod pickup appears to be just below the wishbone pickup, allowing better system stiffness without adding weight.

This will also allow Mercedes to move the lower wishbone higher and away from the diffuser upper surface, creating better airflow over the top of the diffuser.

This, in turn, helps to get more airflow out of the diffuser itself and improves overall underfloor performance.

More importantly, it removes the blockage of the outboard end of the wishbone and pullrod inboard and upward that little bit, allowing Mercedes space to use rear brake ducts with more turning vanes.

These improve the performance of the outboard area of the diffuser and also produce downforce in their own right.

Mercedes AMG F1 W09 rear suspension
Mercedes AMG F1 W09 rear suspension

Photo by: Giorgio Piola

This load goes directly onto the tyre contact patch, so there is no time lag in the grip this produces as the car's suspension moves up and down over kerbs and bumps.

Also, under braking when the rear of the car starts to rise and semi-unloads the rear tyre contract patch, this load produced directly onto the wheel and tyre is more consistent and improves the consistency of the rear grip and corner entry.

Following Mercedes and Toro Rosso adopting this approach with the front suspension last year, many teams have altered their thinking on how the top wishbone, the top of the upright and the pullrod in the suspension all connect together.

McLaren has gone for a pullrod that connects about one-third of the way along the length of the wishbone, which will induce some bending on the wishbone and require a weight increase in that component to achieve the required stiffness.

Ferrari has a more cranked upright rear section, allowing it to have a more inboard pickup point than most.

Mercedes AMG F1 W09 detail rear suspension
Mercedes AMG F1 W09 detail rear suspension

Photo by: Giorgio Piola


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Article type Analysis
Topic Giorgio Piola's F1 technical analysis