FIA preparing to ban FRIC suspension

F1 Fanatic Round-up

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.”

Tweets

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.
@MazdaChris

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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.

When it did Ayrton Senna dropped out immediately with a broken differential, leaving pole sitter Alain Prost to win ahead of Nigel Mansell and Riccardo Patrese.

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100 comments on FIA preparing to ban FRIC suspension

  1. Nick (@npf1) said on 9th July 2014, 0:06

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

  2. Graham (@guitargraham) said on 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

    • Nick (@npf1) said on 9th July 2014, 0:17

      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.

      • GT Racer (@gt-racer) said on 9th July 2014, 12:38

        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.

    • Diego (@ironcito) said on 9th July 2014, 4:46

      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.

  3. Hairs (@hairs) said on 9th July 2014, 0:15

    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.

    • Younger Hamii (@younger-hamii) said on 9th July 2014, 0:50

      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.

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 9th July 2014, 1:19

        Shades of Indianapolis 2005.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 9th July 2014, 6:19

        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.

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 9th July 2014, 8:32

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

    • DaveD (@daved) said on 9th July 2014, 17:00

      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!

  4. Michael C said on 9th July 2014, 0:24

    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!

    • Jay Menon (@jaymenon10) said on 9th July 2014, 0:40

      “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?!!

    • Younger Hamii (@younger-hamii) said on 9th July 2014, 1:01

      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.

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 9th July 2014, 8:38

      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. HoHum (@hohum) said on 9th July 2014, 0:27

    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?

    • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 9th July 2014, 1:28

      Friccin Hell

      I see what you did there.

    • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 9th July 2014, 10:40

      @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.

    • PhilEReid (@philereid) said on 9th July 2014, 10:43

      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. skipgamer (@skipgamer) said on 9th July 2014, 0:31

    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.

    • AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 9th July 2014, 5:35

      @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.

      • manu said on 9th July 2014, 9:56

        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

    • Sharon H (@sharoncom) said on 9th July 2014, 8:23

      Force India have run without theirs in several races already.

    • anon said on 9th July 2014, 17:34

      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. Adam Hardwick (@fluxsource) said on 9th July 2014, 0:32

    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.

    Lunacy.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 9th July 2014, 0:59

      Right, let’s ban steering !

      • Fletch said on 9th July 2014, 4:54

        Banning steering would improve Maldonado’s racing

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

    • Jack (@jackisthestig) said on 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!

    • D Kelly said on 9th July 2014, 5:40

      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.

      • Ryan Fairweather said on 9th July 2014, 11:48

        Amen brother, amen!

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

    • BJ (@beejis60) said on 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…

      DRS

      • John H (@john-h) said on 9th July 2014, 7:55

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

      • 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.

  8. Jack (@jackisthestig) said on 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.

  9. David-A (@david-a) said on 9th July 2014, 0:41

    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. Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 9th July 2014, 0:44

    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.

  11. Deej92 (@deej92) said on 9th July 2014, 0:49

    Caterham seem to be increasingly turning into Red Bull’s 3rd team. Regarding Sainz though, I seem to remember Kolles did likewise with a certain Daniel Ricciardo at HRT. If it happens, good on him for going with youth again (OK, and the money!).

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 9th July 2014, 6:29

      If he replaces Ericcson that would probably be an overall improvement of the line-up.

      • Iestyn Davies (@fastiesty) said on 9th July 2014, 14:34

        Ericsson brings more money… plus it’ll look good for Sainz Jr to be beating him. A shame for Kamui though… even with a worse car, he’s been beating Chilton regularly and taking it to Bianchi. If his Japanese sponsorship has run out, where can Kamui go? WEC with Toyota?

        Hopefully Kamui can race up to Japan or Russia at least. RB want Sainz to win FR3.5 most of all before moving into F1, perhaps debuting at COTA like Kvyat did. But that depends on the money.. Caterham are becoming the Red Bull ‘C’ team, as only those teams will use Renault in 2015.. Kolles is doing it to maintain survival, as he stated above.

    • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 9th July 2014, 8:37

      @deej92 – For me this Sainz link confirms the already likely prospect of Red Bull money being in the midst of Caterham’s new ownership. The Red Bull Junior Programme is fast becoming a victim of it own success, having essentially found too many talents and having too few seats on offer. A Red Bull “C team” in the shape of Caterham would help that, and also recoup Red Bull’s losses over unpaid gearboxes entrusted to the Leafield outfit.

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 9th July 2014, 8:56

      My question is, why not Felix da Costa?

      • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 9th July 2014, 9:39

        @jcost – It’s a very good question, and last year, when has was passed over for Kvyat, the answer was “he’s underperforming in FR3.5″. And yet, we now know a) that was thanks to Arden struggling (the Caterham backed team had a fraction of the budget of rivals DAMS and Fortec) not Da Costa struggling, and b) his impressive qualifying performances in the first three rounds of his DTM career serve as a litmus test of his phenomenal speed. Furthermore, whilst Sainz and Lynn are admittedly dominating their respected series, they are racing against perhaps the poorer grids FR3.5 and GP3 has fielded in a while, whereas Da Costa is comparing well against perhaps the grid that can hold a candle to F1 in terms of breadth of talent. Put simply, there is no reasonable answer to the question: “why not Felix da Costa?”.

  12. bigwilk said on 9th July 2014, 0:50

    It was only a matter of time before they found something on the Merc to ban (assuming they have the best system). Doing it now is a terrible and potentially dangerous move though.

  13. HoHum (@hohum) said on 9th July 2014, 0:55

    TV viewing numbers going down, what a surprise, even down here in the antipodies it was obvious that Wimbledon was going to draw a lot of viewers away from F1, and add the world cup and tour de france to the mix, how many hours of extra TV viewing does Bernie think people can do.

    Looked like a good crowd though, any figures for that?

    • JamieFranklinF1 (@jamiefranklinf1) said on 9th July 2014, 7:49

      @Hohum – I was there, and after the race they announced that they had record figures for both Friday and Saturday, and 120,000 people there for Sunday, so not a bad turnout at all, considering how pricey it is.

      • Keith Campbell (@keithedin) said on 9th July 2014, 9:35

        @jamiefranklinf1 Kind of disproving the theory that viewing numbers have anything to do with the lack of engine noise – if it did that it would affect attendance numbers rather than TV viewing figures. Although I admit at Silverstone there was likely to be a good turnout anyway with a British title contender.

        • paulguitar said on 9th July 2014, 11:32

          Mmm……..But the viewers, of course, only got to hear the lack of noise once they actually got to the event, don’t forget. I went to Barcelona, heard the pathetic engine sound, and won’t be attending again, after over 30 GP’s. Loving this year on the TV though.

          • lauren2013 said on 9th July 2014, 12:44

            I was at Silverstone, Liked the new engine sound & will continue to attend more races & continue watching F1 on the TV.

            Apart from Abu Dhabi, Boycotting that due to the silly double points.

  14. JackySteeg (@jackysteeg) said on 9th July 2014, 1:14

    Interesting news regarding Sainz. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Red Bull do it after they did the same with Ricciardo at HRT. To be honest I think it can only be a good thing and I’d like to see more of the same. It brings some income to a smaller team while also ensuring there is genuine talent on the grid.

    I just think it’s a shame that Red Bull didn’t strike up this sort of deal with Caterham at the start of the season to field Antonio Felix Da Costa. He was a talent that I and a lot of other people were pretty excited about and now that he’s in the DTM it’s unlikely we’ll ever see him race in F1.

    • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 9th July 2014, 5:56

      Racing in DTM didn’t harm Paul di Resta’s hopes of getting into F1 @jackysteeg.

    • WilliamB (@william-brierty) said on 9th July 2014, 8:31

      @jackysteeg – I disagree about Da Costa. If he was utterly anonymous in DTM then yes, perhaps he would have no chance of an F1 promotion, but he hasn’t been anonymous, and has been very fast at every race other than the Norisring. And what’s more he’s probably racing against the only grid in the world that can, in terms of breadth of quality, hold a candle to F1, whereas Sainz and Lynn are competing perhaps the poorest list of rivals FR3.5 and GP3 has fielded for a while. If Red Bull money is in the midst of Caterham’s new investors, which I think is likely owing to the fact that Red Bull need a “C team” (because they have found more junior talents than they have seats) and it would serve as payment for Caterham’s gearbox debt’s to Red Bull, then I think there is an excellent chance of a Sainz-Da Costa line up.

  15. Breno (@austus) said on 9th July 2014, 2:05

    So to delay the ban, the teams must agree unanimously. While in stupid decisions they do agree, I’m afraid someone might pull the mat. If Caterham can redesign the suspension, I can see them do it in a desperate move to score points (with everyone else failing). Red Bull or Ferrari might pull that as well, with their huge resources, for a chance to slow down Mercedes.

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