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Traction vs Mecanichal grip


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#1 MrMontecarlo

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 14:37

We often hear these two concepts and I don't their exact meaning. Do they mean the same?
As I understand it, we call mechanical grip the grip a car has that doesn't come from its aero. Whereas traction refers to the performance of a car accelerating from slow speeds.
Anyway, I'm not sure and would welcome an explanation.

Edited by MrMontecarlo, 06 November 2012 - 14:41.


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#2 Lukin

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 21:15

I'd refer to mechanical grip as the whole cornering process. Braking, entry, mid, exit, straight line grip.

Traditionally, I would refer to traction as the exiting of the corner - both mid to exit when there is still lateral load on the car, and the straight line drive.

#3 Thekirkshop

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 23:16

F1 jargon buster: When you read of a team saying "we have good mechanical grip" this almost always translates to "We are slow and our aero is terrible"

#4 gruntguru

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 05:04

My understanding is:

"Traction" - grip available to accelerate the car
"Mechanical grip" - cornering grip levels attributable to chassis, suspension and tyre tuning/design ie excluding additional grip associated with aero downforce.

#5 Fat Boy

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 05:06

I'm with Lukin on the 'mechanical grip' side of the coin. When talking 'traction', people are usually talking about longitudinal grip/acceleration on corner exit. See 'Forward Bite' in NASCAR land.

#6 gruntguru

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 06:31

The term "mechanical grip" is often used to differentiate that portion of the grip not attributable to aero DF.

#7 Lukin

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 19:53

I'm with Lukin on the 'mechanical grip' side of the coin. When talking 'traction', people are usually talking about longitudinal grip/acceleration on corner exit. See 'Forward Bite' in NASCAR land.


Hi mate!
Forward drive is a weird term to me, I know a few drivers and engineers that use it. It's not as if you refer to braking as reverse bite?!

#8 Fat Boy

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 17:37

Hi mate!
Forward drive is a weird term to me, I know a few drivers and engineers that use it. It's not as if you refer to braking as reverse bite?!


Ya, it's a weird one to me as well. It's funny, though, it really doesn't matter what terms a driver/engineer use as long as _they_ understand it. Getting that language sorted out can be a bit of a chore at times, though, huh?

#9 WhiteBlue

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 17:57

The term "mechanical grip" is often used to differentiate that portion of the grip not attributable to aero DF.

That s my understanding as well. Although methods of improving mechanical grip will also impact - usually negatively - on the aerodynamic side. Well known measures to improve mechanical grip are wider tyres and wider tracks as the cars used to have in the 90ties. Many people would appreciate that but you would have to consider the benefits against increased drag. I would love the look of fat tyres as they used to have in the past. The current spec looks skinny. If you ask me they could well take a way some down force if we would get wider tyres again. The top speed would be reduced and slow cornering would become faster. It would probably be positive in terms of safety as well. Who needs cars that are hugely fast on the straights?


#10 Dmitriy_Guller

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 03:56

If you ask me they could well take a way some down force if we would get wider tyres again. The top speed would be reduced and slow cornering would become faster. It would probably be positive in terms of safety as well. Who needs cars that are hugely fast on the straights?

Isn't it a bit reversed? Corners are where cars usually crash, so going faster before crashing doesn't seem safer to me.

#11 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 04:00

Surely less downforce is going to lead to higher straight speeds...

#12 WhiteBlue

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 14:52

Isn't it a bit reversed? Corners are where cars usually crash, so going faster before crashing doesn't seem safer to me.

It depends of the trajectory. Generally the critical point is a straight leading into a tight turn. So brake failure would necessitate the run off to absorb the full speed of the car. In that scenario straight line speed would be critical.

Surely less downforce is going to lead to higher straight speeds...

Its all a question of balance. If you have identical power and fit fatter tyres less power and drag is available for downforce generation. Speed must not necessarily rise in such a scenario.

Edited by WhiteBlue, 14 November 2012 - 14:53.


#13 sblick

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 14:50

I have always referred to mechanical grip as the grip level of the car with out aero help. Traction I would say is what is available to the tire in a certain condition with aero help.