Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2014

FIA preparing to ban FRIC suspension

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2014In the round-up: F1 teams could face having their Front Rear Inter-Connected suspension systems banned as soon as the next round of the championship.


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F1 set to ban FRIC suspension systems (Autosport)

“Less than a fortnight before the next race at Hockenheim, the FIA has informed F1 teams that it believes the Front-and-Rear Interconnected Suspension (FRIC) systems used by most of them are illegal.”

Caterham must change to survive – Kolles (Reuters)

“There will be more changes, more things to be done. I prefer to have 200 safe jobs than 300 lost jobs.”

Sainz Jr in the frame for Caterham seat (Adam Cooper’s F1 Blog)

“Carlos Sainz Jr has emerged as a possible candidate for Caterham thanks to the team’s relationship with Red Bull – and a deal has been discussed for the Spaniard to race as early as this season.”

“Nikis Kommentar nicht sehr hilfreich” (Auto Motor und Sport, German)

FIA race director Charlie Whiting describes Niki Lauda’s comments about the Silverstone red flag as “unhelpful”, saying it was wrong to claim it was not necessary to repair the barrier Kimi Raikkonen had hit because it was unlikely to be struck a second time, and that Raikkonen should have taken more care when he rejoined the track.

‘Renault changes positive’ (Sky)

“It’s in all our interests to try and close that gap down to Mercedes.”

British Grand Prix drops to eight year low (The F1 Broadcasting Blog)

“From a scheduling point of view, the decision to have the British Grand Prix on the same weekend as the Wimbledon finals and the Tour de France departing from Yorkshire was a disaster by FOM and the FIA.”


Comment of the day

@MazdaChris expects the low profile tyres Pirelli will test today would be a step forward for F1 if they were introduced.

When a car is going across the rumble strip for instance, at the moment the tyre is deforming over that surface while the suspension isn’t moving very much. On a car with low profile tyres, it’ll need to have a more pliant suspension set-up with a greater range of movement – the tyre can’t deform and remain in contact with those kind of bumps, so the suspension needs to do the job instead.

But this isn’t a drawback, it’s a benefit. Springs and dampers are a fairly precise science, and can be controlled to quite a fine degree. Whereas the squash of a tyre is dependent on a large number of factors – tyre pressure, heat, level of wear, and so on. The level of suash and deformation is not a constant; it shifts during the race (and is one of the reasons why different cars seem to work better at different points in the race and during stints). Whereas with a low profile tyre the performance level is pretty constant.

You also do lose that lateral movement, which isn’t desirable since the frequency of the lateral movement isn’t the same as the frequency of the chassis, meaning you can get a sort of disharmony between how the chassis and the tyres load up during cornering. You can end up with a weird backlash against the tyre as the suspension is put under load, which can make the car really unstable and unpredictable while changing direction. Again, this isn’t a constant and it’s not something that’s easy to predict, so it’s pot luck whether or not a car really suffers from this. And again, a low profile minimises this effect, giving a more reliable reaction no matter the application.

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On this day in F1

A huge crash brought the first start of the French Grand Prix to a halt on this day 25 years ago. Unlike today, the F1 rules at the time allowed races to be started afresh, and so the grid was reformed and the race began again.

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  • 100 comments on “FIA preparing to ban FRIC suspension”

    1. Nice to see Kolles is rapidly making Caterham into Midland/HRT#2. Can’t wait for Sakon Yamamoto to return!

      1. Don’t forget Karthikeyan…

        1. Interestingly, both have been involved with Jordan/Spyker and HRT. I guess the question should be; why not just have both and get it over with?

          1. True, that would be the easy way for them. Maybe get Liuzzi as third driver as well.

        2. Narain is biding his time in Japanese F3000… waiting for the call :P

      2. My thoughts exactly! The team is underfunded and hence, probably understaffed, so where’s the logic in his statement? He’s trying to sounds smart and sharp, but he sounds arrogant. This essentially means that the new owners have even less money than the old ones who didn’t have any money either.

        1. this makes me wonder, will marcus stay? he did bring alot of money while Kamui didnt? i guess we will see, Klien, nahrain, Yamamoto and maybe some other from gp2 with alot of money

    2. Graham (@guitargraham)
      9th July 2014, 0:13

      yeah, lets ban something integral thats been on the cars for years whilst in the middle of the season, that makes perfect sense. FIA couldnt run a **** up in a brewery

      1. Give it some time, they might just ban it for one race (blown diffusers, 2011) or re-instate in 8 years from now (traction control 1993-2001).

        I do thoroughly enjoy how the FIA tend to ‘suddenly’ realize they should ban or allow something. As a 10 year old, I never could make sense of the way and time Traction Control was back at Spain in 2001. 13 years later and I still don’t see the logic in it.

        1. As I recall traction control & all the other electronic aids were originally supposed to be introduced from the start of 2001 but not everyone was able to get there systems ready so the introduction was delayed until Spain to give the software engineer’s some time to ensure everyone had working systems.

          Those driver aids were something the FIA didn’t really want to introduce but in 2000 they found that they couldn’t police the ECU’s to say with 100% certainty that nobody was using these aids.
          So they decided (Under some pressure from BMW who wanted all the electronic aids) that allowing them was a fair solution until they could find a way to better police the teams systems.

      2. The irony is that they’re supposedly on a quest to lower costs, yet they decide to introduce the most complicated hybrid power unit in existence, they rewrite the regulations every year, they introduce changes mid-season, etc., all of which are very expensive.

        1. Exactly @ironcito
          Why they can’t see that these “moving goalposts” are Causing an increase in costs I’ll never know

    3. Is this FRIC decision for real?

      The FIA has been looking at FRIC systems for SIX YEARS and suddenly realises “oh wait this is actually illegal!”. Having passed the cars as legal at every race since?

      And teams are supposed to just remove the part of the car which connects the chassis to the wheels, and redesign the whole thing, in a week or so? Who is smoking what over there?

      A cynic would suggest that a politically well connected team who aren’t doing that well this year have engineered this. Or that someone is scared that there’ll be a 51 point lead after Brazil in the drivers’ championship.

      Some of the best racing we’ve had for years and the FIA still can’t leave well enough alone.

      1. The FIA has been looking at FRIC systems for SIX YEARS and suddenly realises “oh wait this is actually illegal!”. Having passed the cars as legal at every race since?

        The article does speak of Mercedes and other current teams having more intricate systems than the system Renault (now Lotus) pioneered in 2008, and besides the Renault that year struggled so the FIA, though unlikely, might’ve thought “well they haven’t really gained from this so no point of banning this” or the more likely reason is them not detecting the system because it was less intricate.

        We could end up having a similar situation to the one in Silverstone three years ago with the off-throttle blown diffusers, I actually can’t believe the FIA are considering making the same mistake. I’m sure the teams, if not as mistake-prone as the governing body, wouldn’t risk jeopardising the safety of their cars and drivers by rushing in less safe, untested versions of their cars, not knowing what they’re bringing to the track first Friday practice in over a week’s time.

        1. Shades of Indianapolis 2005.

          1. More darker shades of Germany 2006 with Renault’s Mass Damper system, which was banned overnight.

        2. The article does speak of Mercedes and other current teams having more intricate systems than the system Renault (now Lotus) pioneered in 2008

          Mercedes system is largely unchanged from last year, they were close to getting it right in 2012, and by now its really balanced. That is 2,5 years they are running it.

          To me this is exactly the same thing as banning exhaust blowing mid season (which was then allowed again until the end of the year), or the decision on the Mass damper or on the Michelin tyre grooves. Its the FIA rigging the championship.

      2. I’m sick and tired of FIA. I can’t understand how a sport so sophisticated is so poorly run and poorly regulated.

      3. Set the scene: A day at FIA HQ and Charlie Whiting and Jean Todt are sitting around chatting over champagne.
        CW: I’m bored
        JT: Let’s make up some new rules. Yeah, that would be fun!
        CW: OK, how about this: We add trumpets on the tail pipes of the cars so it sounds like really loud farts when they accelerate! We’ll tell everyone we’re doing it to increase engine noise and improve the show.
        JT: Yeah, but it seems a bit contrived…even by our standards. How about this: We put snipers in the trees and have them randomly shoot out tires on the track?
        CW: No, we tried that last year at Silverstone, remember? The fans started to pick up on it…but is sure was fun to watch Pirelli scramble around and explain the “blowouts”!!! LOL
        JT: Oh yeah, that was a good one indeed. OK, how about this: we take the FRIC system that everyone has been using for years and we tell them it’s suddenly illegal!
        CW: Oh come now, how would we explain it?
        JT: We’ll tell them it’s a safety issue. They’re all stupid, they’ll never figure out that we’re trying to cut into the Mercedes lead.
        CW: Yes, F1fans are like mushrooms, you keep them in the dark and shat upon and tell them they’re better off and they’ll never know we’re just screwing with them.
        JT: OK, it’s settled then. No more FRIC. But when do we implement it? It will take times for the teams to safely test it and have their car running well.
        CW: Oh no, that would take all the fun out of it! Let’s do it next week and we can watch them squirm. We’ll claim imminent danger or some such. LMAO!!!
        JT: Right. Well, that’s settled. Now about those guest drivers from WWE and the clown car for safety cars….
        CW: No, I’m bored again. Let’s go skeet shooting and kill some peasants! PULL!!!
        JT: Oh Charlie, you always know how to make me smile!

        1. Oh, I meant to dedicate the above post to the other guys who are sick of all this :)

          @jcost @bascb @hohum @younger-hamii @hairs @guitargraham @ironcito @npf1 @jaymenon10 @jerseyf1 @bascb0 and many others

    4. So 6 years after FRIC suspension was introduced into F1, only now its illegal?
      For a fast sport, F1 has some pretty slow authorities… or they’re trying to reduce Merc’s advantage / punishing them for doing a good job.

      TV audiences don’t include all the people watching on mobile devices and laptops (legally or illegally!) which is always going to get more popular.

      I’m looking forward to seeing the new rims tomorrow!

      1. “or they’re trying to reduce Merc’s advantage / punishing them for doing a good job”

        Isnt this just business as usual in F1? They quash anything innovative all time, this isnt the first.

        For a sport that brands itself as the “pinnacle of motorsport”, they appear to be more at home if teams just bolt on an Prius engine onto a go-kart with a few bits of wing here and there.

        WHAT THE FRIC?!!

      2. TV audiences don’t include all the people watching on mobile devices and laptops (legally or illegally!) which is always going to get more popular.

        This is one of the main flaws of the sport, especially Bernie, it’s behind the times (just look at WEC and sports car racing as a whole) and can’t keep track of technological development on the automotive and digital side of it. As the pinnacle of Motorsport, it should be advancing the technology to new levels (and that’s where F1 stakes its claim as a “unique” racing category), not rebuffing them completely.

      3. It is understood that moto sports demand evolving rules but the pace FIA changes regulations is harming the sport. F1 needs periods of stable rules.

    5. Friccin Hell, now keeping the chassis level is an aerodynamic device, interconnected suspensions have been, to my definite knowledge, around since the 1960s (BMC Hydroelastic) and I suspect the 1950s (Citroen DS) or earlier, Jaguar made much of their “anti-dive” front suspension geometry so long ago I can’t recall which decade it came from, the point being, none of these systems were introduced for aerodynamic benefit, keeping the chassis level has so many other benefits even for cars with 15cm/6″ ground clearance.
      Any team without a FRIC system or one that is more trouble than it is worth will want an immediate ban, who knows, Caterham might win in Germany, just what Bernie wants, but would it be good for F1s future?

      1. Friccin Hell

        I see what you did there.

      2. @hohum It looks like the FIA have decided to take the ‘moveable aerodynamic device’ rule as a device to potentially shake up the racing (or specifically to harm the leading competitor which if they have seen all of the systems they may know is gaining a significant advantage from it). The way this rule has been used in recent years is just ludicrous, it’s intention was always clear (to stop moving wings etc for safety reasons).

        Under their current interpretation surely having any suspension at all means all cars have a moveable aerodynamic device and teams should therefore be forced to race without suspension on their cars from Germany too.

      3. but would it be good for F1s future?

        Nope, not even slightly.

        Trust the FIA to try to label something as ‘illegal’ to ban it in a ‘really well thought out move that will trick the fans to believing that’s the real reason they’re doing this, rather than to try to reduce any advantage a team has to spice up the racing.’
        We aren’t stupid FIA, we can see right through you and it will not work.

    6. Wouldn’t mind seeing a list of cars without FRIC, did a quick google search and Mercedes, Lotus, Red Bull, McLaren, Williams, Force India and Ferrari all seem to have it (didn’t bother with the back runners). That’s enough to suggest to me that it wont be banned, at least not this year. Perhaps those with the most underdeveloped systems will try to remove theirs and protest, but that seems like it’d be a crap shoot as to whether they’d get any advantage.

      1. @skipgamer, no. It takes only one team to protest the legality of the current cars. Remember 2011 when HRT threatened to question the legality of the blown-diffuser cars? Colin Kolles is back in F1 just in time.

        1. The back runners all run engines from the top teams, and some of them even use some of the resources, they wouldn’t want those resources to suddenly become excessively expensive to them so I suspect they won’t fight it too much

      2. Force India have run without theirs in several races already.

      3. According to Craig Scarborough (who writes occasional technical pieces for Autosport), every single team in F1 has developed some sort of interconnected suspension system. Sharon H is right to point out that Force India have only used their system intermittently during the season, but I believe that they were planning on fitting the system later in the season.

    7. Pure insanity. Even the rule itself is stupid.

      Article 3.15 is the catch-all regulation that relates to moveable aerodynamic devices. It outlaws any part of the car that influences the aerodynamics that is not “rigidly secured to the entirely sprung part of the car (rigidly secured means not having any degree of freedom).”

      By the letter of law. the steering mechanism is against the rules. Turning the wheels has an effect on the airflow over the car, and is not rigidly secured to the car.


      1. Right, let’s ban steering !

        1. Banning steering would improve Maldonado’s racing

          ..in the same way that banning talking would improve Hamilton’s likability :)

          1. “..in the same way that banning talking would improve Hamilton’s likability :) ”

            I keep thinking this too… he just needs to stop talking !!

      2. Jack (@jackisthestig)
        9th July 2014, 1:18

        Perhaps the drivers should be outlawed too, their helmets are not ‘rigidly secured to the entirely sprung part of the car’, and they influence airflow to the rear of the car!

        1. Nah, just velcro them to the back of the cockpit.

      3. This rule is moot. Three simple letters make it so, and they are D R S. How the hell can there be one rule that says you can have a moveable device for ‘the show’ and then not have another device (which is essentially unrelated to aero anyway) which ALL the cars seem to have a version of anyway? This series must be run by complete and utter Muppets. And that is why I now love sports cars.

        1. Ryan Fairweather
          9th July 2014, 11:48

          Amen brother, amen!

          Someone needs to take F1 back to basics. *cough* Not Bernie *cough*

      4. BJ (@beejis60)
        9th July 2014, 6:01

        Well the hidden axle shaft in the suspension arm should then be banned, as well as suspension arms. And wheels. and the steering wheel. And…


        1. A DRS with zero degrees of freedom. Now that’s a system I could get on board with.

        2. The regulation the FIA are raising (article 3.15) begins thus:

          With the exception of the driver adjustable bodywork described in Article 3.18(in addition to minimal parts solely associated with its actuation)

          That’s the DRS. Observations about other, non-exempt parts like wheels, suspension, steering racks, helmets and the entire drivetrain that can be seen “influencing its aerodynamic performance” remain valid.

          1. We know – it was in a joking context.

    8. Jack (@jackisthestig)
      9th July 2014, 0:32

      The Premier League was established by the teams themselves, ‘breaking away’ from the football league. That’s why even the relegated teams get such a share of the TV revenue rather than letting most of it be siphoned-off by anonymous owners and a dodgy old man with a pudding basin haircut.

      1. Hey now, that pudding basin haircut was the height of fashion back in the ’60’s. Right around the time Bernie had his last good idea, oddly enough.

        1. Jack (@jackisthestig)
          9th July 2014, 1:05

          I’ve always thought he styles himself on Dennis Waterman. Perhaps he is a huge fan of TV’s Minder, Terry McCann’s hair-do and Arthur Daley’s business morals.

      2. Surely Bernie’s hair is a wig?!?

    9. With everything that gets banned, restricted or whatever, the FIA might as well cut the cr*p and make the F1 a spec series…

    10. The FIA thoroughly abuse enforcement of the moveable aerodynamics regulation, to the extent where it almost appears as if they have no alternative argument in any accused infringement.

      Since when did the suspension become directly an aerodynamic competent? FRIC is as much – if not significantly more – useful for chassis stability, as was Lotus’ reactive ride height device (which was also banned under that regulation).

      Even EBD’s were classified under that, which is hardly relevant as exhaust gases are not part of the car.

      Even omitting for their incompetence in stifling perfectly valid innovations under the regulations, do they not recognise the monumental costs that would be incurred if a team were required to remove such an integral part of the car mid-season? And how ludicrously unfair it is to ban something which gives the team a competitive advantage, that was ruled entirely legal at the beginning of the season?

      Mercedes – and other teams using the system- have invested a lot in refining it and should absolutely be allowed to reap the benefits, particularly considering the legality has presumably only been brought into question with the intention of “equalising the field”. By all means ban it for 2015 as I’m sure it is a great expense, but not mid season – not when it will require a huge amount of resource to redesign.

      And also, learn to loosen up a bit. The constrictiveness of the regulations is appalling, and is driving away people like Adrian Newey. And when you are wearing out the designers, then I’m afraid you have killed the spirit of F1.

      1. 2015,and 18″ wheels, a perfect time cost-wise to bring in new rules as a change to low profile tyres will require a completely new suspension anyway.

        1. That makes sense – but the proposal doesn’t @hohum

        2. yes, that would make sense. But this is F1, so I guess we will have a farce where the field is artificially mixed up when teams have to disconnect their connected systems next race before the FIA overturns its ban again.

      2. TM