Mercedes boss Brawn doesn't fear FRIC suspension tech war

Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn has played down talk that development of new ultra-sophisticated suspension systems could lead to a spending war in Formula 1

Mercedes boss Brawn doesn't fear FRIC suspension tech war

Brawn's squad and Lotus are believed to be the first F1 teams to get fully get to grips with the latest must-have technical development: front and rear interconnected suspension (FRIC).

The concept, which both teams have worked on for several seasons, uses hydraulics to connect the front and rear suspension so that the car's ride height is kept constant through braking, acceleration and cornering.

AUTOSPORT explains FRIC suspension

With a number of other outfits already believed to be testing their own FRIC suspension, there has been talk that the quest to fast-track its introduction could prove expensive at a time when teams are already juggling the switch to the 2014 regulations.

But Brawn is adamant that there is no danger of teams being priced out of the development.

Asked if a spending war was on the cards, Brawn replied: "I don't think so. Ever since F1 cars have been invented and aerodynamics were understood, the compromise between suspension and aerodynamics has always been that - a compromise.

"You want a nice softly sprung car, but you cannot do that because you compromise the aerodynamics too much.

"So every year I have been in F1 I have always tried to seek that ideal balance between suspension performance and aerodynamic performance, and it is no different today to how it has been for many years."

Although the early 1990s method of overcoming that compromise through active suspension was banned, the FRIC concept is allowed because the hydraulic system is completely passive as no on-board computers are reacting to what the car is doing.

Alongside its aerodynamic benefits, more pliable suspension should make FRIC cars better at tyre conservation.

FRIC NOT DECIDING FACTOR

After 2012's often wide-open competition, this year the frontrunning teams have jumped clear of the midfield pack, despite regulation stability.

Brawn does not think that the leaders' pursuit of FRIC suspension is a major factor in that change.

"I think it is too early to draw any conclusions," he said. "I don't know if the pecking order has been established yet and I don't know what the other teams are doing.

"I feel we have made good progress with the car compared to what we had last year but it is very difficult to judge what other people are doing, why they are doing and whether it is contributing to their performance.

"We have improved in lots of areas and that has at least given us a step forward this year. It is not enough but it is a step forward."

shares
comments
All eyes on Red Bull as Formula 1 season resumes in China

Previous article

All eyes on Red Bull as Formula 1 season resumes in China

Next article

Sebastian Vettel frustrated at reaction to Red Bull 'multi 21' row

Sebastian Vettel frustrated at reaction to Red Bull 'multi 21' row
Load comments
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Plus

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Plus

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1’s elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he’s recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton Plus

How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton

OPINION: The Italian GP clash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen followed a running theme in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight. Their close-quarters battles have often resulted in contact - and although Hamilton has shown a willingness to back off, Verstappen must learn to temper his aggression

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Two drivers produced maximum-score performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left several others ruing what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Plus

Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021