There could well be one acronym on the tips of every person’s tongue associated with F1 at this weekend’s German Grand Prix, FRIC.
The system otherwise known as ‘Front & Rear InterConnected’ is an innovation pioneered by Mercedes which sees the front and rear suspensions connected by hydraulics for better cornering stability.
However, following the British Grand Prix, FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting has deemed any car running the system is now in breach of the regulations.
While the timing of the decision is a little strange, given some teams have run the system for a couple of seasons, the directive has once again stirred up the bad blood currently between the top teams and those running at the back.
In the days following his decision, Whiting said a delay to the banning of the FRIC could be made so the systems only became illegal from 2015, however, to achieve that the teams would need unanimous support.
While it is believed a banning of FRIC would not have too big an effect on current runaway championship leaders Mercedes, despite the W05 having the most advanced system, it does appear those teams who stood up wanting greater cost cutting measures earlier in the year are uniting again with Force India in particular standing in the way of the proposed postponement in the banning of FRIC going ahead.
This has left those big teams now facing a problem, do they take the FRIC suspension off and risk losing some speed as a result or do they keep the system and hope those smaller teams do not protest the result?
Another factor is Whiting’s directive to race stewards in Germany to declare any car running the system as illegal though whether a team decides to challenge the Race Director’s view in scrutineering on Thursday will be an interesting story to follow.
One team, however, has already indicated it will run without the FRIC at Hockenheim, a McLaren spokesman confirmed to Autosport that the MP4-29 would run a more conventional set-up in Germany and expects fellow top teams to follow suit.
It is understood the decision to introduce the FRIC ban came as part of an investigation by the FIA following initial suggestions made as far back as during the Monaco GP weekend to ban the system as part of more sweeping cost cutting measures.
Moving aerodynamic device
The governing body asked those running the system to explain how they were using the FRIC and one such team explained how mostly it was used for aerodynamic purposes and could then constitute as a moving aerodynamic device - such things are banned in the regulations.
It was this that led to Whiting’s directive but because some teams may use it in other ways could become something of a grey area with some systems legal with others not.
The FIA were prepared to wait until 2015 to introduce the ban but as I mentioned it seems those without the increasingly expensive system will make this an issue that could rumble on for the rest of the season.
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