Formula 1

All F1 teams FRIC-off for German GP

2014 British Grand Prix

If you haven’t heard the term Front-and-Rear Interconnected Suspension before, otherwise known as FRIC, you’re going to be hearing all about it this weekend during the German Grand Prix.

In very basic terms FRIC systems do exactly as they say, they link the front and rear suspension with the aim of improving stability of the car, especially under heavy braking when the car will pitch forward shifting as much as 300kg of load towards the front wheels. This load transfer increases the work of the front tyres and also affects aerodynamics underneath the car, in turn making the rear wheels light and unstable.

FRIC systems have been around in some form for decades and are designed to counter the affects of load transfer. All the teams in F1 have been using the technology to varying degrees. However, after the British Grand Prix the FIA’s Charlie Whiting issued a technical directive which questioned the legality of FRIC technology used by some of the teams. Some, not all.

So, heading into the German Grand Prix we were facing a situation whereby protests could be the order of the day. Thankfully that crisis has been averted after all teams were found to have removed their FRIC systems for this weekend’s race.

In typical F1-style this move from the teams was not agreed to in a unified meeting, rather it was discovered at the completion of pre-race scrutineering. FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer, referring to all cars, said: “I can confirm that no car is fitted with a front to rear linked suspension systems of any sort.”

It’s believed FRIC can save up to 0.4s per lap, although Fernando Alonso isn’t too concerned about the impact of altering the suspension.

“It is a system that has been on F1 cars for some years now and there is not a big implication in terms of driving style or anything that can change the behaviour of the car,” he said. “It is like changing from soft to medium tyres.

“OK, you will go a little slower and some teams will adapt maybe a bit better but we will not see a Marussia on pole position or something like that. It is just a couple of tenths for everyone.”

Championship leader Nico Rosberg, hopeful of a win in his home race, is unsure how the car will be affected.

“Everybody has it [FRIC] to some extent,” Rosberg stated. “It’s impossible to predict. For sure it can have some influence but we just need to wait and see what happens.”

Sebastian Vettel is hopeful the removal of FRIC suspension will allow the teams to close the gap to Mercedes, but says it may take more than this weekend to find out.

“I hope it brings the field closer to Mercedes but it’s difficult to say,” Vettel said. “All of the teams have been playing with it to some extent. How much it has an impact? I think it has to be seen this weekend and also probably next week in Hungary. After those two races I think you can have another judgement.”

[Source: Autosport]

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