In Formula 1, bottoming out occurs when the underbody of a car hits the track surface. Formula 1 cars run low ride heights to keep the car’s center of gravity low and aid the creation of aerodynamic downforce. When a car’s chassis hits the track surface as it runs through a sharp compression and reaches the bottom of its suspension travel, it is called bottoming. Bottoming out is considered bad because when a car hits the ground, being an immovable object provides an equal and opposite force reducing the force through the tires, which reduces friction
Bottoming Out In Depth
For a Formula 1 car, the results of bottoming out can be severe. In addition to slowing the car down, it may harm the suspension and underbody, which could cause more issues in the future. In addition, the wooden plank used to gauge ride height may deteriorate over time and produce brown stains on the track, which may impair the performance of other vehicles.
What makes bottoming out such a big issue, then? For starters, it may have a significant impact on the car’s performance. When a car bottoms out, it loses stability and grip, which may lead to the driver losing control and maybe crashing. Bottoming out can also damage the car’s underbody and suspension, which can cost a lot of money to fix and potentially cause race-related retirements.
Teams in Formula 1 are always trying to improve their suspension setups and ride heights to counter the impacts of bottoming out. The trade-off between having a low ride height for aerodynamic advantages and a high enough ride height to prevent bottoming out remains constant.
To sum up, bottoming out might seem like a trivial issue, but it can have significant repercussions in the Formula 1 world. Finding the ideal balance between ride height and performance is a constant challenge for teams, and the capacity to resist bottoming out can mean the difference between winning and losing a race.