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What! The Fric? Merc F1 suspension illegal?

2014-07-10 15:48

MERC SUSPENSION ILLEGAL? Dominant Mercedes could be in trouble at the 2014 German GP as it removes its complex suspension. Image: AP/Darko Bandic

LONDON, England - Mercedes will remove its complex Fric (Front to Rear InterConnected) suspension from its dominant Formula 1 cars ahead of the 2014 German GP.

The International Automobile Federation surprised the F1 world by informing teams that it regarded the innovation, which mimics outlawed active suspension, as potentially illegal.

The technical directive issued by F1 race director Charlie Whiting opened the door for some teams to lodge protests in Hockenheim that could be upheld by race stewards.

TEAMS TO PROTEST

On Thursday (July 10) Germany's Auto Motor and Sport reported that the teams most likely to lodge protests were McLaren, Ferrari and Caterham. The technology, linking the four suspension corners hydraulically, has been around for many years since being pioneered by Lotus so it was a surprise to most F1 figures that the FIA believed it contravened the catch-all regulations against moveable aerodynamic devices.

Most cars in 2014 have some version of Fric but it is widely believed that Mercedes and Red Bull have developed the most complex and effective systems.

'THE PERSPECTIVE HAS CHANGED'

Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda said: "The system has been used for two-and-a-half years and all technical inspections have occurred without objection.

"It is difficult to understand why suddenly the perspective has changed."

Lauda called on the federation to take a precise position on the legality of the system. "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."

Schmdit said he expected Red Bull would also remove its version of Fric from its cars ahead of Hockenheim.
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