Reactive Ride Height and J Dampers Explained

Romain Grosjean - Abu Dhabi Young Driver test 2011 c/o

Much is being written at the moment about Lotus’ reactive ride height system and how it could change the playing field in 2012.

Essentially a development of the J Damper system seen a few years back, there have been numerous explanations online, which have gone into some depth about the technicalities of the RRS and of the J Damper… some, such as this one, mind bogglingly so.

Today I was talking to my SPEED channel colleague and tech whizz Mr Steve Matchett, and he gave me perhaps the simplest and by far the best explanation I have yet heard on the technology.

Buckle up kids, here goes…

“J-damper: one bouncy thing offsets another bouncy thing.

Reactive ride-height front suspension: a crude version of the active ride actuators we had on the cars twenty years ago.

So there you have it. The biggest technical talking point of the 2012 F1 season so far. Sorted.

UPDATE – Doesn’t matter anymore. RRS banned.

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12 thoughts on “Reactive Ride Height and J Dampers Explained

  1. Neither explanation is even remotely close. Steve’s J-damper quote is clearly referring to a TMD. The RRS is nothing like active suspension from 20 years ago. At all.

    So, simple, but ultimately worthless.

  2. Ahh, from professor Sam Collins’s Master of Science in Engineering (M.Sc.(Eng) ?? explanation to Steve’s 3rd grade level explanation!

    • Steve Matchett, as well as everyone else connected to SPEED’s coverage of F1 make the same error of speaking to American F1 fans as if we’re on the same intellectual level as the trailer park resident that the local news interviews after a tornado hits.

      I find it so patronizing that last season I actually waited until Monday after each race to download the BBC coverage via bittorrent. Over there(Great Briton) they at least assume that the audience understands what’s going on. You’ll never hear anyone telling you: “OK, the cars are lining up for a standing start, which means they’ll be starting from a stand-still. In a moment you’ll see five lights come on in the corner of your screen and then go out. That’s the signal to the driver to start racing. So if you see five lights come on and then go out followed by cars starting to move, that means the drivers have been given the signal to go and the race is underway. But if you’re still confused by all of this, don’t worry; we’ll here, explaining it all to you”.

      • Thanks for that. Now please leave a reply born of correct spelling and, let’s all pray, correct grammar.

        And if you’re going to quote, and use quotation marks… then at least quote something that has actually happened. Because for as long as I’ve been working at SPEED neither Bob, not Leigh, has ever presented the start of a race like that. And if you’re not quoting directly, don’t use quotation marks.

        We are broadcasting to a cross section of American viewers, the vast majority of whom will be brand new or new(er) fans to the sport. We don’t ever intend to dumb things down, but if it was your first race and we were preaching at you as if you had a Doctorate in Engineering, then you’d be equally upset.

        So calm yourself.

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