Fans will adore Aston Martin’s candid assessment of the major changes to Mercedes in 2024…
There are two more days until the Mercedes W15 2024 Formula 1 vehicle is unveiled, but the introduction of the Aston Martin AMR24 has verified one much-awaited element about the new Mercedes: pushrod rear suspension.
As part of the supply agreement that also includes the power unit, Aston Martin uses the most recent Mercedes gearbox and rear suspension, essentially running a rear end that is supplied by its technical partner.
Technical director Dan Fallows states, “The front suspension layout is a similar layout to what we had on the AMR23, still a pushrod.”
Mercedes gave us the transmission and the rear suspension structure, so we inherited their new suspension. That has also somewhat modified from the previous year. Thus, the front and back are remarkably identical, yet the rear has changed.
Fallows’s usage of the phrase “inherited” suggests that Aston Martin has no control over this particular feature of the car’s engineering. It should be a good change, though, for a number of reasons.
Most people agree that the pushrod rear suspension setup offers a distinct benefit over the pullrod setup for the rear of the vehicle. It provides more aerodynamic opportunity, and the statement “the rear suspension has been optimised to maximise efficiency of airflow around the rear wing” in the Aston Martin launch press release seemed to corroborate that view.
More inboard components are retained higher up because the pushrod mounts lower at the wheel and higher outboard. This improves the aerodynamic potential of the remaining bodywork in that location and gives advantages in the shape of the gearbox, which can be slightly smaller at the front as a result.
All of this is a result of a suspension modification Mercedes will make to enhance the vehicle’s crucial platform control. Importantly, there have been other geometry changes in addition to the transition to pushrod rear suspension and maybe even inboard components that are hidden from view.
It’s hard to say whether the Aston Martin has more anti-squat geometry based on the pictures we’ve seen so far, but it’s probable that more work has gone into improving the control of vertical movement in the back. All of this is a component of the platform control disadvantage Mercedes mentioned the previous year.
Mercedes opened the season last year with a vehicle that was an improvement above its 2022 model. This was predicated on the idea that the car concept would essentially work once the bouncing and porpoising issues that plagued it were resolved.
That assumption turned out to be incorrect, and the car design underwent significant modifications with a new development path that was unveiled in Monaco in May. This was only a partial change, though, because Mercedes was still constrained by the basic design of their vehicle.
When The Race questioned Mercedes technical director James Allison about the car’s architectural constraints late last year, Allison responded, “You’re stuck with your chassis, you’re stuck with your gearbox, to a good degree you’re stuck with your suspension geometry and it’s a bit expensive to change cooling layout.”
“Everything else is available for use. That list therefore contains the restrictions, and those are the items you can play with year after year.
“We will undoubtedly have a brand-new front and rear suspension, as well as a brand-new gearbox. Those items won’t all be the same.
Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that Mercedes’ monocoque design will change.
While Aston Martin’s car reveal didn’t supply all the answers, it did offer a significant piece of the puzzle and some compelling indications about what else might be on the horizon for Mercedes.