Mercedes may very well be forced to remove its ‘FRIC’ (front-to-rear interconnected) suspension system from its car before next weekend’s German Grand Prix.
With several teams reportedly expected to lodge protests, only an unlikely unanimous vote from the teams may now save the ‘FRIC’ suspensions from being banned before the next race.
Earlier this week it was reported that steps may be taken towards banning ‘FRIC’ suspension systems, as the two-year-old system may now be pushing itself to the status of an illegal movable aerodynamic device.
Now, the FIA is going to let the teams vote on whether the ban should be postponed to the beginning of the 2015 season. If the vote is not unanimous, the ban will be in place beginning at Hockenheim.
With teams such as Force India rumored to be running a very simple version of ‘FRIC,’ if any at all, a unanimous veto by the teams is not expected, given that some of the teams have nothing to lose if the ban is enforced.
“The system has been used for two and a half years and all technical inspections have occurred without objection,” Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda told Auto Motor und Sport on Thursday, ”so it is difficult to understand why suddenly the perspective has changed.”
“We don’t want to invest any more in something that is against the rules. We want to know whether it is legal or illegal,” he said.
Although most of the cars on pit road are expected to be running with a form of the ‘FRIC’ suspension system, most of the talk in the paddock seemed to center around how the ban would hurt the dominant Mercedes F1 W05 Hybrid.
“After what the FIA has said,” Red Bull Racing’s Sebastian Vettel is quoted by Speed Week, “I can surmise that some cars will be more affected than others if there are any possible changes.”
“I hear the Mercedes system is very complicated,” Marussia driver Max Chilton told Britain’s Sky at Silverstone, “so it could affect them more.”
As for his Marussia ride, Chilton reported his car as handling not too different when he tested at Silverstone without the ‘FRIC’ system on Wednesday.
“Mercedes may have to give up some of its advantage,” reported Schmidt, “but the gap to the chasing pack is so big that the Silver Arrows is not in trouble. Especially as Red Bull has a similarly-good system.”Formula 1, Max Chilton, Mercedes, Red Bull Racing