Mercedes and Red Bull had to alter F1 suspension designs for 2017

Formula 1's suspension row is unlikely to escalate to a protest at the Australian Grand Prix, after Red Bull and Mercedes were asked to change elements of their 2017 designs

Mercedes and Red Bull had to alter F1 suspension designs for 2017

The controversy over suspension systems blew up over the winter when Ferrari sought clarification from the FIA on the legality of concepts that were pre-loaded to cleverly help a car's aerodynamic performance.

While Ferrari's original letter was based around a theoretical idea it wanted to pursue, it was widely understood that its real motivation was to challenge clever designs that Mercedes and Red Bull had been running.

Following a final clarification from the FIA ahead of testing last month that made it clear suspension systems should not be designed to deliberately help aerodynamic performance, the governing body inspected the designs of all the teams during the pre-season running in Spain.

The FIA was clear that teams had to prove that their clever suspension systems were not designed to help the car's aerodynamics, and concepts that Mercedes and Red Bull had wanted to run did not fully comply and had to be changed.

FIA race director Charlie Whiting said in a media briefing on Thursday at the Australian Grand Prix: "You are not allowed to have a suspension system that affects the aero performance of the car in anything other than an incidental way.

"We wanted to see whether the suspension is generally suspension or if it is there predominantly for the aerodynamic performance of the car.

"That is the change. We have been focusing far more on that this year.

"If a suspension system behaves asymmetrically, then there is not a very justifiable reason for behaving like that - if a suspension system goes down at one speed and comes back at a different speed.

"If they are not able to convince us then they are not able to use it."

It is unclear how much of an impact the suspension decision will have on Red Bull and Mercedes, but it is known that Mercedes did not run its trick system at every race last year so it was not essential to its performance.

With Red Bull and Mercedes having been asked to make changes ahead of the weekend, Whiting said on Thursday he was hopeful the matter had been sorted.

"Marcin [Budkowski] and Jo [Bauer] did a lot of work in Barcelona going through all the systems, and the ones we have inspected so far [in Australia] have been as we expected them to be," he said. "We don't anticipate any problems."

It is understood that every team had their suspension checked on Thursday, with all 10 complying ahead of free practice starting on Friday.

Whiting also said that checks of engine systems would take place over the Australian Grand Prix, following an issue regarding oil burn.

Red Bull had asked for a clarification on the matter amid its suspicions that Mercedes had been using the tactic in qualifying for a power boost - something the German car manufacturer strongly denied.

Whiting said: "We are certainly monitoring it. We did quite a lot of work on it in Barcelona.

"We are going to inspect all the oil systems here and we are going to randomly check oil consumption to make sure that it is not being used as fuel."

shares
comments
Australian GP: Sauber F1 driver Pascal Wehrlein cleared to race
Previous article

Australian GP: Sauber F1 driver Pascal Wehrlein cleared to race

Next article

Hamilton keen to see Red Bull's F1 Australian Grand Prix upgrades

Hamilton keen to see Red Bull's F1 Australian Grand Prix upgrades
Grading F1's 2022 drivers at half-term Plus

Grading F1's 2022 drivers at half-term

Over the first 13 races of Formula 1's new ground effects era, Max Verstappen has surged into the lead in the world championship over Charles Leclerc. But as the 2022 season prepares to roar back into life, who stacks up as the top of the class, and who must do better? We graded every driver based on their performances so far

The 10 stories to watch out for across the rest of the 2022 F1 season Plus

The 10 stories to watch out for across the rest of the 2022 F1 season

It’s 13 down, nine to go as the Formula 1 teams pause for breath in the summer break. But what can we expect to happen over the next three months from Belgium to Abu Dhabi? Here's the key storylines to keep an eye out for the rest of the 2022 season

Formula 1
Aug 18, 2022
The inconvenient truth about F1’s ‘American driver’ dream Plus

The inconvenient truth about F1’s ‘American driver’ dream

OPINION: The Formula 1 grid's wait for a new American driver looks set to continue into 2023 as the few remaining places up for grabs - most notably at McLaren - look set to go elsewhere. This is despite the Woking outfit giving tests to IndyCar aces recently, showing that the Stateside single-seater series still has some way to go to being seen as a viable feeder option for F1

Formula 1
Aug 17, 2022
How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge Plus

How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge

While creating a car that is woefully off the pace is a nightmare scenario for any team, it inadvertently generates the test any engineering department would relish: to turn it into a winner. As Mercedes takes on that challenge in Formula 1 this season, McLaren’s former head of vehicle engineering reveals how the team pulled of the feat in 2009 with Lewis Hamilton

Formula 1
Aug 15, 2022
The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future Plus

The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future

Personable, articulate 
and devoid of the usual
 racing driver airs and graces,
 Nicholas Latifi is the last Formula 1 driver you’d expect to receive death threats, but such was the toxic legacy of his part in last year’s explosive season finale. And now, as ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains, he faces a battle to keep his place on the F1 grid…

Formula 1
Aug 13, 2022
The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes Plus

The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes

Modern grand prix drivers like to think the tyres they work with are unusually difficult and temperamental. But, says  MAURICE HAMILTON, their predecessors faced many of the same challenges – and some even stranger…

Formula 1
Aug 12, 2022
The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1 Plus

The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1

Gordon Murray's Brabham BT46B 'fan car' was Formula 1 engineering at perhaps its most outlandish. Now fan technology has been successfully utilised on the McMurtry Speirling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, could it be adopted by grand prix racing once again?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold Plus

Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold

The seven-time Formula 1 world champion has been lumbered with a duff car before the 2022 Mercedes. Back in 2009, McLaren’s alchemists transformed the disastrous MP4-24 into a winning car with Lewis Hamilton at the wheel. And now it’s happening again at his current team, but can the rate of progress be matched this year?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022