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If you were looking to tip the cart over on a season of comprehensive domination by one team, banning their trick suspension system mid-year may be the way to do it.

According to AUTOSPORT, that is exactly what might happen if the FIA decide to ban the Front-and-Rear Interconnected Suspension (FRIC) system.

According to the report, FIA race director Charlie Whiting feels, after examining the systems used by some of the Formula 1 teams, that it may breech the regulations regarding movable aerodynamic devices in Article 3.15 demanding that all parts that impact the aerodynamics of the car must be rigidly secured to the entirely sprung part of the car.

The FRIC system effectively links the front and rear suspension in order to keep or maintain a consistent ride height. The challenge here is that no part of a F1 car is simply taken off and chucked into the bin without a big impact on the performance of the car. The cars are designed around these components and to re-design in just two weeks’ time for the German Grand Prix would be a tall ask.

Interestingly, the ban of the FRIC system could be postponed until the 2015 season according to Whiting but that would require unanimous consent from all teams and there are a few teams in the back of the grid who are not running a FRIC system so it would be hard to see them voting to postpone a competitive edge their competitors have.

This is a huge decision and oddly it has taken nine races to determine the legality of the FRIC system? No doubt that Charlie had to look at everyone’s version but the cynic in my suspects dipping TV ratings as a reason to ban the FRIC system in hopes of closing the gap between the utterly dominant Mercedes and the rest of the field.

I am assuming Mercedes boss Nikki Lauda will say this is FRIC’n bull$h*t!

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • Rapierman

    So, the question, then, would be: How much of an advantage did Merc gain from this suspension system?

    • That’s not just a question, Paul, it’s the million dollar question. I suspect quite a bit as it impact handling and ride height for aero effectiveness.

      • Or how the FIA will claim it’s being banned for safety.

    • Crikey, the FIA has had over two years to evaluate the MBZ system. I’m sorry; this just stinks. People have trouble with the assessing of driving penalties ‘after’ a race’s conclusion; well what the heck is this, then?
      Maybe I don’t need a new giant, I may need a new sport to follow.

  • So apparently F1 just wants me to just watch the sport anyone, because it keeps making a joke out of itself.

    • *just wants me to NOT watch the sport anymore…

  • jcm

    the rule changes have become a sport in itself~except that the fans are the losers.

  • Mr. Obvious

    That’s it. I’m out. Bring on the sprinklers, bring on the sparklers, perhaps add an intermission halfway thru the race featuring live pole dancing. F1 is the snake eating it’s own tail — an increasingly corrupt, contrived affair that’s clearly “all about the show” now. Changing the rules midway thru the season yet again in a desperate attempt to reign in the front runners for the sake of “the show” is a bridge too far for me. Unbelievable.

    • Rik

      This is what the FIA tried to do to Red Bull each year. No one complained then so now?

      Do we know which teams have this Fric system?

      Just like all things political there are those that have something to gain if it’s eliminated and there are those that have something to gain if its kept.

      • To what are you referring re: RBR? Blown diffusor? Front camber? One was banned prior to season start, the other was a safety issue. I *somewhat* understand FIA reigning in dominance during RBR’s tenure as the technical regs were so constricting, but Post-ratification changes mid-year are completely different.

        As far as I know, all teams running an interlinked system. I thought Caterham didn’t, but was wrong. Force India had a piecemeal system consisting of, conversationally, a fluidic proportioning valve front to rear that they’ve found intermittently effective.

        The teams’ solutions vary, but they all have it, hence the reasoning it’s an FIA cluster-mess rather than a team objection.

    • dude

      I’ll take the live pole dancing offer, bring back the tobacco money while you’re at it too.

  • offcamberm3

    Thank you, Todd, for the last sentence of the article. That’s outstanding work!

  • TK

    Was it the 2006 season the FIA banned the mass dumper midway through the season? I liked the 2006 season. So many things happened that year. I thought the ban was followed by Alonso being sent back to the back of the grid for impeding Massa’s qualifying for running
    a quarter of a mile or so in front of him. (Massa was still playing his role after these years during Austrian GP a few weeks ago saying, and this time thanking, Alonso gave him a tow during qualifying even though he was miles ahead.)

  • It’s taken longer than 9 races, which is the worst part. Merc’s had FRIC for 3-4 years. Endstone was working on interconnected physical linkages along w/ anti dive front geometry in ’09. Several teams teams adapted one form or another from 2010 on.

    I have to agree, this is a reactionary move for supposed lost viewership causes (one I disagree with), rather than a sporting issue. As mentioned in the 18″ wheel/tire thread and Paul’s thoughts in the podcast, altering such core fundamentals mid-year is disastrous for sport-legitimacy, and more importantly safety. Ridiculous.

  • Keenan

    So, radically redesign your cars suspension system. You have less than two weeks, go! Also, your last day of effective in-season testing is today. Hope you don’t mind how much this will cost you in manpower, money, and sleepless nights but we, the FIA, need to consistently hold our platform of inconsistency this season. We just don’t know how to stand behind our 2014 regulation changes.

  • Jason Paul

    ANY suspension affects how the aero pieces move or don’t move.

  • gsprings

    You can’t do this now,2015 would be the best time to ban it,give the teams time to prepare,they should be anouncing now that it is banned for next year,would’nt blame merc for walking away from f1 if they did this

  • NeilM

    I’m pretty sure the wheels impact the car’s aerodynamics. Does this mean they must now be rigidly attached to the entirely sprung part of the car, i.e. the chassis? That’s certainly going to simplify suspension design: there won’t be any suspension! Think of the cost savings!

  • gsprings

    No suspension sounds dangerous

  • jonnowoody

    It seems that Pastor Maldonado might be exempt from the ruling, as he normally removes his own suspension on lap 12.