Lotus look to have secured an early advantage ahead of the F1 2012 season thanks to a new ride height control system

The devise, declared legal by the FIA, the sport's governing body, aims to improve the cars stability during braking and is believed to be of significant advantage.

Although details of the new system are still a little vague, the BBC reports that the Enstone-based outfit, formerly known as Lotus Renault GP, have developed a ride-height control system that is understood to operate via a hydraulic cylinder on the front suspension that reacts to breaking forces. The aim is to keep the ride height as close to constant during braking as possible as any change in the ride height of an F1 car tends to have large effects on its overall aerodynamics as the majority of an F1 car's downforce comes from under the car. As such teams are always researching ways to keep airflow as consistent as possible despite the 5+ G-forces experienced during braking.

The BBC report also adds that Ferrari is in the process of developing a similar system for their car and has been in contact with the FIA to ask about its legality.

When questioned about the technology, Ferrari team principal, Stefano Domenicali replied: "It is more related to having stability under braking, it is a system that I know there have been some documents in writing between the FIA and the teams. We are waiting for the final confirmation if this kind of device will be acceptable or not.

"But for sure we are looking around these sorts of devices to see if the contribute to a performance," he added during the Scuderia's annual Wrooom event on the slopes of Madonna di Campiglio in the Italian Dolomites.

Time will tell whether the other teams will object to the technology - or if they are developing a similar system.

by Andy Henley