FIA ready to clamp down on FRIC suspension systems

The FIA is planning a clampdown on ‘FRIC’ or front-to-rear interconnected suspension systems, which have been in widespread use in recent seasons as a tool for controlling constant ride height.

In essence Charlie Whiting has decided that teams have been pushing the limits – and feels that systems planned for 2015, and that the FIA is already aware of, will be a step too far. He has cited the rule that outlaws moveable aerodynamic devices.

As has sometimes happened in the past with contentious technical items, Whiting’s view is that such systems can remain in use until the end of this season. However, in order to green light that approach all 11 teams have to agree – and clearly some have more to lose or gain should FRIC systems be banned immediately.

If there is no agreement, then the stewards of an upcoming event could look into the matter.

A technical directive sent from Whiting to the teams today read: “Having now seen and studied nearly every current design of front-to-rear linked suspension system, as well as reviewing future developments some teams have shared with us, we are firmly of the view that the legality of all such systems could be called into question, particularly with respect to compliance with Article 3.15 of the F1 Technical Regulations.

“As these systems, in one form or another, have been in use for some time we are inclined to permit their continued use for the remainder of the current season, however, we feel we would need the agreement of all participating teams to take this approach. We would therefore be very grateful if you could indicate whether you may be in a position to agree with such an approach.

“Failing this, we would have to consider making a report to the stewards about the non-compliance of any car fitted with a system which appears to allow the response of the suspension at either or both of the rear corners to drive the response of the suspension at either or both of the front corners (or vice versa).”

If a ban is imposed in the short term it will clearly cause problems for the teams who have most successfully optimised it, while those who hadn’t will hope to benefit.

One team insider told this writer: “We should have had clarity on this a long time ago not in the middle of the season.”

14 Comments

Filed under F1 News, Grand Prix News

14 responses to “FIA ready to clamp down on FRIC suspension systems

  1. For crying out loud, how long have they had to decide that these constitute movable aerodynamic devices? Dubious mid-season changes once again.

  2. Mick

    Systems that were designed before the start of this season shouldn’t be banned, the cars have passed scrutineering 9 times already this year. I hope the teams are sporting when they cast their vote, rather than trying to de-rail better performing rivals.

    • Brian

      > I hope the teams are sporting when they cast their vote, rather than
      > trying to de-rail better performing rivals.

      You must be new to this sport.😉

    • They won’t be. Remember how much bitching there was about RBR for years when they never had to change their cars, yet somehow the teams bitching about them cheating did. It was utterly ridiculous.

  3. ronmon

    I have long been in favor of allowing inter-active or reactive suspensions while severely limiting (simplifying) aerodynamics. However, I have also felt that FRIC violates the movable aero device and/or the inter-active suspension rule. They banned the J-damper, for crying out loud, which was much more benign than FRIC.

    Drastically cut back aero and allow suspensions to make up with mechanical grip. The racing will be much better and the cars will be more relevant.

  4. Off Track

    I wonder if this is fitted to Alonso’s car but not to the sister Ferrari ……

  5. Scotchthistle

    Dubious as Will Campbell says above is right! This is 100% because Merc is running away with the WC and Bernie has been lobbying the FIA to push this through to stop it and boost audience figures. When is Bernie going to realise that it is holding F1 races in far flung corners of the world where no one cares about F1, pay per view TV and stupid rules like double points for the final race that are causing audience figures to plummet?! I echo the other comments, why change part-way through a season when FRIC has been allowed for years, smells like Politics to me.

  6. Tony Dowe

    A few weeks ago “someone” floated a return to active suspension, and yet we now have front and rear “linked” suspension systems that are far less invasive to drivers and cars being made illegal mid season? I think its time Charlie took himself off to his Monaco redoubt and enjoy a retirment while others took over the sport and its modern approach to racing.
    Any competant technical person would have known about the front/rear systems while they were being built last year, he obviously did nothing then, and clearly encouraged them by allowing their continued use, and yet here we go again! Who is pulling who’s strings?

    • GeorgeK

      Spot on Tony. They’ve been on the cars since 2008 and now they’re “too expensive”? And they are in serious discussion to bring back active suspensions in 2017.

      What’s the ‘effing point to this move???

  7. “agreement of all participating teams”

    So, does this mean that any one team can decide whether or not the rest of the teams can or cannot use this system for the rest of the season?

    • GeorgeK

      In short yes. My understanding is to defer the change to 2015 it requires unanimous agreement. Otherwise it is effective this year starting in Germany.

  8. Stone the Crows

    Brilliant, ban FRIC, even though it’s been on the cars for years, and use the ubiquitous straw man argument ‘cost.’ Whereupon the teams will proceed to spend even more money to compensate for the lost performance. I love this sport, but often the way it is regulated and managed (i.e., manipulated behind the scenes) is just imbecilic.

  9. Zeph

    This is RBR shenanigans to end Mercedes hegemony. mcLaren play along as they have not much to lose and lots to gain.

    It used to be Ferrari pulling strings behind the curtains, now it is Mateschitz. If you provide about 20% of F1’s revenue, your voice matters.

    • Stone the Crows

      Oh, yes money talks. You can always tell when Ferrari and others are in trouble, the mid-season politics ramp up. .

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