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.”