Formula 1's FRIC suspension systems set to be banned by FIA

Formula 1's FRIC suspension systems, believed to be one of the strengths of the dominant Mercedes car, could be banned for the German Grand Prix, AUTOSPORT can reveal

Formula 1's FRIC suspension systems set to be banned by FIA

Less than a fortnight before the next race at Hockenheim, the FIA has informed F1 teams that it believes the Front-and-Rear Interconnected Suspension (FRIC) systems used by most of them are illegal.

CRAIG SCARBOROUGH: Secrets of suspension and FRIC

According to sources, the governing body wrote to teams on Tuesday to tell them that following detailed investigations into the design of the FRIC systems, it believes they are in contravention of the rules.

In the note, a copy of which has been seen by AUTOSPORT, FIA technical delegate Charlie Whiting said: "Having now seen and studied nearly every current design of front to rear linked suspension system we, the FIA, are formally of the view that the legality of all such systems could be called into question."

Whiting suggests that the way the suspension systems help control pitch and roll could be in breach of article 3.15 of F1's technical regulations.

Article 3.15 is the catch-all regulation that relates to moveable aerodynamic devices. It outlaws any part of the car that influences the aerodynamics that is not "rigidly secured to the entirely sprung part of the car (rigidly secured means not having any degree of freedom)."

The FRIC systems link the front and rear suspension to maintain a constant ride height for improved performance.

Lotus (then called Renault) was the first team to introduce the concept in 2008.

Mercedes more recently took the design to the next level and is now believed to run the most complicated system, however it is unclear which team would suffer the most from a ban.

FIA OPEN TO DELAYING BAN UNTIL 2015

With limited testing time before the next race at Hockenheim, and 2014 designs being based around FRIC, the FIA is open to delaying the ban if there is consensus among teams.

It has asked teams to vote on whether or not they will be in favour of delaying the ban until the start of 2015 rather than it coming into force for the German GP.

However, for that to happen it would require unanimous support from all the teams on the grid.

It is unclear how easy it will be to achieve unanimous support for a delay - especially if any team feels its FRIC design is not as good as a rival's, or indeed if a team is not running the system at all.

If unanimous support is not reached, then Whiting has made it clear that from the next race in Germany, any team running FRIC risks being reported to the stewards by the FIA for non-compliance with the regulations.

The fact that the FIA has indicated it believes FRIC to be illegal also opens the door for a team to protest one of its rivals from the next race.

shares
comments
Caterham Formula 1 team gives Nathanael Berthon development deal

Previous article

Caterham Formula 1 team gives Nathanael Berthon development deal

Next article

Silverstone F1 test: Williams's Felipe Massa fastest on day one

Silverstone F1 test: Williams's Felipe Massa fastest on day one
Load comments
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Plus

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding 
into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? STUART CODLING talks to the man in charge

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Plus

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers Plus

Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory Plus

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Plus

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021
Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems Plus

Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton dominated the opening day of action for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, on the Istanbul circuit’s much improved track surface. But the Black Arrows squad’s position isn’t quite what it seems. Here’s why

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021