FIA reportedly planning ban on FRIC suspension system

FIA reportedly planning ban on FRIC suspension system

The FIA could ban FRIC (front/rear interconnected) suspension systems from the German Grand Prix after the legality of the system was brought into question.

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According to a report by AUTOSPORT, the FIA informed teams on Tuesday that they must remove the suspension system – which links the front and rear suspension to maintain ride height – from their cars ahead of the race at Hockenheim in two weeks’ time or face being disqualified from the event.

“Having now seen and studied nearly every current design of front to rear linked suspension system [FRIC] we, the FIA, are formally of the view that the legality of all such systems could be called into question,” wrote Charlie Whiting in a note received by AUTOSPORT.

The system is though to be in breach of the regulation regarding moveable aerodynamic devices, with it deemed to influence the aerodynamics of the car whilst being non-rigidly secured to it.

Mercedes are believed to be running a highly advanced form of the system – which was first introduced by Renault in 2008 – this year.

The FIA has asked teams to consider delaying the introduction of the ban until 2015, rather than with immediate effect, although it remains to be seen whether an agreement can be reached upon, with a unanimous decision needed.

With some teams running less advanced FRIC systems, and some running without it at all, a unanimous decision from all 11 teams could prove challenging.

If a delay is not formally agreed upon then any team that attempts to run with the system in Germany in a fortnight’s time will be investigated, and possibly excluded for their noncompliance with the rules.

ALL FOR NONE AND SIX FOR ALL – LUKE SMITH

The political problems currently dogging Formula 1 have been well documented over the past year or so, but for the first time here the shoe could be on the other foot. Since the demise of FOTA last year and the formation of the ‘club of six’ F1 Strategy Group, there has been a definite divide in the sport’s politics.

0993LB1D1093 (1)In fact, the last meeting between all eleven teams reportedly ended with the F1 Strategy Group members telling the other four teams (discounting Toro Rosso) that they could form their own organisation, but it would be totally impotent.

The F1 Strategy Group has explicitly existed as a representative team association; implicitly, albeit not very subtly, it has actually been a self-interest group. F1 would benefit from a cost cap, but it would harm the big teams, so the big teams say “no dice”.

So now take this story. The FRIC systems being banned now would harm the big teams, so they will obviously say “no dice” once again – only this time, if Caterham, Marussia, Sauber or Force India say “let’s ban them”, then that’s settled. They have a bit of power that could become the defining story of this season.

Undoubtedly, the Strategy Group members will lean on the other teams to “make the right decision” or something to that effect, but after a great deal of tussling over the past nine months or so, they may decide that that their definition of “right decision” doesn’t come from the Strategy Group dictionary.

Besides the political interests though, it would require a great deal of work to sort before the race next week, and it may be that the smaller teams – even with the chance to harm the big boys – may agree that it is not practical to ban now, and instead opt to do so for the beginning of next season, which is the most logical approach.

Images courtesy of Octane Photographic.