The Suspensions Giving Mercedes and Red Bull the Edge
Have they caught their rivals napping?
Of all of the 2020 machines, the Red Bull and Mercedes have been the two with the most technical interest. Both feature complex technical innovations, one of them being their front suspension layouts.
Despite being in the same area, both suspension layouts are quite distinct and are seemingly driven by separate aims:
The W11's Suspension
Mercedes' layout has, of course, been packaged around the radical DAS system (which adjusts the angle of toe via the steering column).
Although the mechanism is mostly hidden, the top of cylinders inboard (inside, to the left) of each upper wishbone can be seen on the left in the drawing. These small cylinders are what facilitate the forward and backward movement of the column, as well as controlling the angle of toe through the wishbone it's connected to.
When compared to the W10 from last year however, it shows that there were no cylinders of the sort installed just yet.
What the comparison also shows is the reshaped bulkhead (the bottom, rectangular segment) that allows the wishbone to sit at a lower angle in relation to the chassis. This essentially means a more stable suspension as a wider angle results in less friction and load being fed through the components.
The RB16's Suspension
The main changes on the Red Bull is the re-positioning of the hydraulic reservoir from in front of the bulkhead to behind it, as well as re-sitting the steering mechanism to a more central position. The hydraulic reservoir is the mix of small components you can see in the middle of the bulkhead on the RB15, and obviously it's not longer visible on the '16 because it's been moved further back. The steering mechanism is the system you can see in the center of the tub on the RB16, but isn't fully visible on the RB15 because it's slightly behind the bulkhead and further up in the complex.
These alterations were made possible by extending the length of the suspension tub (the part that has all the suspension bits in it), and so they've sited all the aforementioned components further back into the straighter section of the nose that leads to the cockpit. Their goal here was to free up some space so they could slightly change their aerodynamic philosophy and slim the nose. (Like Mercedes, Renault, RP and Mclaren have done)
You can read the full benefits of the 'needle nose', that seems to work so well for all the top teams, here:
In terms of actual suspension, Red Bull have mounted the rear leg of the wishbone lower than the front leg, this in effect will give the car more grip when large amounts of steering lock is applied (so in slower corners) and lower the centre of gravity; something you always want to have in a F1 car.
Mercedes and Red Bull, it seems, are one step ahead of their rivals.
And obviously Mercedes one step ahead of Red Bull and literally everybody else.