What the FRIC is happening with F1 suspension rule change this weekend?
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Posted By: James Allen  |  17 Jul 2014   |  9:37 am GMT  |  139 comments

One of the talking points going into this weekend has been the threatened ban on front to rear interconnected suspension (FRIC).

The FIA’s Charlie Whiting has proposed that it be banned from the end of the season, unless everyone could agree now to run it for the rest of this year.

Predicatably it was not possible to find agreement between teams. If there was no agreement, he said that it was possible that any team continuing to run the system could be protested.

And so this weekend everyone is waiting to see how the F1 teams will react and whether we will get bogged down in messy protests or whether everyone will quietly stop using it.

The FRIC concept, which links front and rear suspension to maintain the ride height of the car and keep the aerodynamics on an optimal level, is not new, indeed versions of it have been running for over five years.

Whiting was recently persuaded that some team’s solutions were now so extreme that they violate the catch all technical regulation outlawing anything that constitutes a “moveable aerodynamic device”. Hence the technical directive which went out to teams last week.

It seems that McLaren was a key protagonist in the process of getting it outlawed and, not surprisingly they were one of the first to say that they will not run it this weekend. Toro Rosso and Red Bull have also written to Whiting to indicate similar intentions.

Lotus and Mercedes are two teams which have the most developed systems and it will be interesting to see whether they decide to play along with the rest, on the basis that it is the same for everyone, or continue to run the FRIC system and risk a protest.

Common sense and experience suggests it’s likely that all teams will opt to run without it on the basis that it is the same for everyone, but this is F1, so you never know. More details will emerge over the next 24 hours.

It is still regrettable that the sport finds a way to change rules mid-way through the season, as it did with the ban on exhaust blowing a few years ago, or Michelin wide contact patch tyres or Mass dampers.

F1 teams are devious and always push things to extremes, but in big picture terms, for fans and the public it adds a level of additional confusion which is not helpful.

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139 Comments
  1. Olli says:

    Loving the headline.

    1. Phil says:

      Indeed. It made me chuckle and sums up the frustration, nay despair even the most ardent F1 supporter is feeling at the shambolic way this sport, nay business is run.

      1. Steve Zodiac says:

        I’ll tell you what is happening. The F1 teams don’t know whether their” Axe Holes Are Punched Or Bored” that’s what!

      2. simo says:

        That’s it I’ve had enough of f1 squashing advancement or we’ll thought out ideas in the sport! Time to have a good hard look at you self! As a supporter &love of motor sport that it!

    2. Random 79 says:

      +1 :)

      1. Sebee says:

        FIA confirms, teams will be FRICkin’ FRICless in Germany.

        Is BMW’s FRICkenstein attending this weekend?

        Wonder if there is going to be any FRICtion between Lewis and Nico this weekend?

        Yeah yeah yeah..I know, that joke’s boat sailed 12 hours ago, and I just killed it to death. Yup…killed it. To death.

      2. Random 79 says:

        Yes you did Sebee and we thank you for it :)

        Now, hopefully that will be the last of the fricin’ puns.

    3. ferggsa says:

      Yeah, wonder how it got past the (mod) guy

      1. Random 79 says:

        Lol – He must have been sleeping on the job ;)

      2. luqa says:

        I used it a few times in the past without any problems. So not really an issue.

        What IS an issue is the flip-flopping of F1 from one artificial crisis to another, none related to safety (last year’s tire issue being the exception).

        With the current FRIC issue, can someone – I’m looking at you Charlie, man up and take responsibility and simply say ‘yay or nay’ to FRIC, at least until the end of the year. The current situation is complete and utter artificial Bull-Feces. People are abdicating responsibility left., right and centre!

    4. BluesPaul says:

      I can’t get my Welsh [hereditary] tongue round it unless I put it like this

      “What The Bloody Fric Is Going On Here Then …. with suspension rule changes for this weekend?”

      1. Phil says:

        Is it?

    5. Rich C says:

      Absolutely! Best Headline of the Year Award Goes to …

  2. Nator says:

    All I can say is, Germany is gonna be fantastic.

  3. Dmitry says:

    Honestly I do not understand why on Earth FIA and Whiting decided to declare FRIC suspension illegal midseason… I do not believe they didn’t know how the F1 world will react and what controversy it might bring. At such moments I always think they are just looking for another PR stunt, when everything calmed down a bit after new F1 sound and fuel economy talks – bang! We have a new controversial talking point.
    If McLaren came up with idea of FRIC being illegal – they could always make an official inquiry on this – and FIA\Whiting (be they a bit wiser) could have just outlawed it from the next year – without declaring its “possible illegality” now.
    What if someone finds some loophole in regulations and comes up now and tells that, I don’t know, Front Wings must be outlawed because of points 1,2,3….

    1. aezy_doc says:

      They should outlaw the whole car. It moves and is an aerodynamic device.

      1. Brent says:

        That’s a little radical. How about no springs, solid rubber tires and wings must be made of feathers?

      2. ferggsa says:

        Agree completely, well except for Saubers and Caterhams this year

      3. PeterF says:

        It’s not the whole car, it’s the moving parts in the engine and the gearbox. You could draw a graph that would directly correlate the effectiveness of the wings, diffuser etc, in relation to the rate of movement of the moving parts in these two items. Its terrible how this blatant illegality is allowed.

        [mod]

    2. cartwheel says:

      I think the issue isn’t that FRIC is illegal, it is that there is evidence that some teams are using it to actively level the car. I can imagine the issue is that some teams have this (Merc) and other teams are just using a more traditional FRIC (McLaren). I would suspect that all teams with FRIC are doing some sort of car leveling with it- just some are better than others.

      It is the reason the FIA hasn’t banned it- they are just looking at its “legality”. If it actively levels the car it is obviously illegal, if it is a more traditional system it is legal. Who will take that chance??? Seems nobody.

      1. Nigel says:

        there is evidence that some teams are using it to actively level the car

        There is ?

        The whole point about FRIC systems is that they operate passively.

        There is no principled argument to ban them in this manner, halfway through the season.

      2. Matías says:

        @nigel the Fduct in Mclaren was quite passive in my opinion, and got banned anyway

      3. KRB says:

        @Matias, you’re right that F-duct got banned. But it was banned for the following season, not mid-season. It’s a big difference. One is logical; the other illogical.

      4. RichyS says:

        @Matías: the f-duct was only banned for the new season after a rule change. There is no rule change here — just the interpretation of the existing rule.

  4. AuraF1 says:

    It’s hard not to change the rules though isn’t it? If the cars were spec series from start to finish it would be easy but when you are basically entering a new car every few months from a technological development standpoint – I guess it gets harder for the rule makers to keep up. Also remember the teams have a say in this – it isn’t a power mad Charlie Whiting just randomly decreeing outbursts from FIA mountain – the teams need to highlight problems and protest and then agree on solutions.

    1. Sebee says:

      As James highlights, mid season rule change of some sort seems to be an MO for F1. I wanted to make a list to see what years it has nit happened since 2000. But don’t remember some seasons. I think in some seasons it wasn’t a rule change but a scandal – which had an impact on a team’s performance.

      1. AuraF1 says:

        In most seasons it’s been one or two teams build something, someone else (often Ferrari) protest and then mutterings behind the scenes end up with Charlie Whiting going ‘ok it sounds like they’ve gone too far – what do you want to do about it?’

        The problem is essentially Charlie and the delegates are not always as technically proficient as many of the teams – people forget that the FIA is basically relying on the teams to shop each other’s technical innovations and these are built by smarter engineers than work at the FIA. If there was a top flight engineering genius they’d make a lot more money being a technical director at a team than as a scrutineer.

        It’s just part of the sport. It doesn’t confuse me as a viewer. I think the claim that it’s a bit embarrassing that the rules are effectively dictated by the teams with most political clout is a fair one – but I don’t really see how we can prevent it in a development sport. Other than to say the car you start with is the car you end the season with. No upgrades, no modifications. As soon as you have development built in – you open up the prospect of teams pushing the rules and then a clarification/rules change/outright scandal will happen.

      2. Ben Zard says:

        Has the rule been changed??????

  5. Dai Dactic says:

    As a fan I’m not ‘additionally confused’ – just dismayed.

    F1 is fast becoming a farce with more ‘innovation’ centred on unnecessary rule changes rather than the underlying technology itself. Weak leadership must be to blame – just passing the buck to ensure needless conflict ensues.

    Pinnacle of motorsport? What a joke.

    1. Mike Clarke says:

      My sentiments exactly.

    2. Kit says:

      F1 is turning into a fric show

    3. Opa says:

      And this makes me wonder if it is worth to watch a race that we don’t know if the result will be valid.

    4. mitchw says:

      “It is still regrettable that the sport finds a way to change rules mid-way through the season….”

      Charlie’s mid-season maneuver here might be the one that breaks my interest in this so called Formula1 competition. How many times does today’s leadership get to mess up before a fan can’t be bothered anymore? Somebody please call me when Ross Brawn replaces Charlie Whiting. Until then, I’m too busy. to take these guys driving around in circles.

      1. Joe Sixpack says:

        This blatantly political manipulation of the rules is too much to take; I’m done with EffWun for the year, any who-know how far beyond. Without integrity in the governing body, there can be no true sport. All that’s left is empty ‘spectacle,’ which can be found anywhere.

        FRIC EffWun! I’m done!

      2. RacingFanatic says:

        Absolutely my thoughts as well !!

    5. Rich C says:

      +1000

  6. Mocho_Pikuain says:

    Two thing to comment/ask:

    1- Best title ever.

    2-It clearly will take out some of Mercedes advantage,but what about the rest? Will it push Ferrari upwards, will Williams be able to fight the Mercs? And what about Red Bull, how advanced was their system compared to the rest? With Adrian Newey’s perfect aero obsession I would be surprised if the team hadn’t developed it more than others.

  7. JakobusVdL says:

    It does seem pretty heavy handed. The FIA have painted themselves into a corner, Its a pity they and the teams can never sort things out ‘for the good of the sport’.

    I guess there is no point in Mercedes running they Fric-in’ system this weekend, if they lose 0.4sec a lap, they remain at least that ahead of the next quickest contenders.

    1. kenneth chapman says:

      if they all drop it then the status quo between mercedes and the rest will remain the same! around a minimum of 1sec per lap.

  8. RobertS says:

    Agree completely with you James, F1 always finds a way of taking the attention away from the track even when we have good quality racing.

    There are plenty of talks going on behind the scenes of where F1 is heading, are there talks about stopping rule changes mid season which make the sport look confusing and unfair?? Surely for the bigger picture it is not worth these changes mid season

  9. Grant H says:

    Why cant they make a sensible rule that any ‘design concepts’ not recognised to be ilegal after race 1 cant be deemed ilegal until end of season…in the spirit of cost cutting this should be obvious, rule changes mid season do no favours for the sport in general and cost control

    1. W Johnson says:

      “It is still regrettable that the sport finds a way to change rules mid-way through the season, as it did with the ban on exhaust blowing a few years ago, or Michelin wide contact patch tyres or Mass dampers”

      You mean like the way FIA retrospectively changed the over taking rules to deny the Spa 2008 win from Lewis Hamilton and McLaren? Inventing a retrospective rule for the race that denies a re overtaking until after the next bend. From that decision I figured it out that F1 is not really a sport but a Bernie Ecclestone show!

  10. George says:

    I love that F1 is an innovator and people keep finding new areas of development, another one is the Honda torque transfer device that came and went a few years ago.
    How can the sport get the tech into the public domain? I love the concept of a presumably passive system to trim the ride height; yet who the heck knew it even existed till 10 days ago? For me the technical aspect is one of the appeals and attraction of the sport, in the future how can the new media being developed bring the various technologies into the public arena, even if most of it is veiled and secreted away; there must be some overlap with teams working on similar concepts.

    How about a tight cost cap and opening up the regulations to let people find the speed where ever they want, promoting innovation and efficiency?

    1. Stephen Flynn says:

      F1 isn’t that much of an innovation machine – the bulk of the “interesting” stuff that you see on cars (both road-going and Forumla 1) comes from Endurance Racing. Turbos, carbon fibre brakes, , ABS, power steering, KERS, Battery energy storage and so forth – all from Endurance racing originally.

      1. aveli says:

        none from endurance racing. it already existed on road cars. motor racing simply optimise existing technologies to solve their problems. they do not have time to invent technologies.

    2. Matías says:

      People from Citroen knew it for almost 60 years. Ask’em about the Citroën DS :D

  11. Vincent says:

    Interested to see if McClaren gain anything this weekend if Ron is behind the protest, or if it doesn’t change anything at all.

    1. Frobisher says:

      I would be interested in who actually gains this weekend, Red Bull per chance? Oh, by the way dear boy, did you mean McLaren?

  12. DB says:

    These suspensions sound like a FRICing good idea to me, which could go on to improve road car stability and shouldn’t be banned.

    1. Grant H says:

      The point of FRIC in F1 is to give more consistent ride height/aero through corners, dont see how it would benefit road cars from that angle

      1. DB says:

        See those wheels in the air? http://www.deepthrottle.com/Photo/runoffs05/run05_ssc_lifting.jpg

        As I understand it, FRIC could prevent that and keep all wheels on the ground, making the car stabler.

        In a less extreme case, it could also keep rear wheels down when the car is pitching due to braking, which would also improve braking and stability.

        (Note: I just googled “car turning rear wheel lift” to illustrate my point. I hope there’s no rule against linking here.)

      2. Matías says:

        If you can distribute the weight on the car more evenly to the four wheels, you’ll got a mor estable braking and cornering, making the car safer, right?

      3. grat says:

        FRIC is useless on road cars, because road cars already have active suspension.

        FRIC is a desperate attempt by the teams to claw back performance taken away from the cars, and comply with rules written by a committee which thinks it’s trying to balance speed, safety and cost… by making the cars less safe to drive, more expensive to design, and only marginally slower.

    2. J N H says:

      These systems already exist in various forms on road cars, not so much for aero reasons but to keep the car level and comfortable over potholes and the like.

    3. Drgraham lewis says:

      They have been frequently used even in low cost cars since the early 60,s!!

      This is road applicable technology and current active car systems still use aspects of the designs!

      In other words this ban goes against everything that the new F1 is supposed to stand for.

      Total hypocracy

  13. FormulaEDiary (Anil Parmar) says:

    Really frustrated by this. I met up with a few friends the other day and we all used to watch Formula 1 together during our first year of University. I asked them if they watched now and only one person out of 8 did. They have all been completely put off by the tyres, some of the recent race tracks and the silly mid-season rule changes. I did ask if the engine sound put them off but they all said that the sound is barely an issue, it’s everything else.

    F1 keeps shooting itself in the foot and it really is frustrating. The sport needs to be attracting young fans, not chucking them away.

    1. eric morman says:

      you might like to check this site out it has all the info on how FRIC works in great detail,

      http://www.formula1.com/news/features/2014/7/16087.html

  14. Stephen Flynn says:

    I was under the impression that at the start of each season, every car design is checked to make sure it’s within rules – is that correct?

    Why then, are we faffing about with changing the rules on linked suspension mid-season, when presumably all of the teams have been using this kind of tech for 5 years. It’s not new, it’s not horrifically expensive for the smaller teams and it rewards those who build the best system. I fail to see what this rule-change is supposed to achieve EXCEPT causing expensive re-design for all teams, which hurts the smaller teams more.

    Sadly, it’s another reason to stop watching this circus and spend my money on Endurance racing, where this kind of mid-season pantomime doesn’t seem to happen.

    1. kenneth chapman says:

      it would help a great deal if we were all taken into the confidence of the FIA as to why this move was made.the current explanation is decidedly blurry and hard to understand.

      to suddenly drop a bombshell like this without any detail as to why the system was legal one minute and ‘illegal’ [protestable] the next defies common sense. maybe then we would all have more to contemplate and understand. ATM, the action appears to have a certain smell about it.

      1. C63 says:

        @Kenneth Chapman
        Once again, I feel compelled to remind you of your previously rigid stance in matters involving the authorities overseeing F1. They, as you have often reminded me, have all the information and you, as a mere armchair observer, have access to none of this information. Yet, astonishingly, you are in disagreement with their expertly informed opinions/decisions. At least when I watch an incident on the track I can see what happened – in this instance you have no access to any sort of information on which to base your argument other than a suspicion that it ‘smells’ ;-)

        Still, looking on the bright side, if the cars are harder to drive (less stable without FRIC) then Vettels in trouble – he can’t drive what he’s got 8-)

      2. forestial says:

        Seems possible that some team (McLaren was mentioned in JA’s article) thinks that Mercedes is getting a bigger advantage from FRIC than others, and wants to reign them in. And Charlie/Bernie/whomever grabs the opportunity to reduce Merc’s gap to the rest of the field because some people are griping about one team’s domination.

        It probably won’t be enough, Merc is consistently a second or more faster than all comers at all circuits. And it is silly and unfair to mess with the rules in the middle of the season. At least last year’s tyre shenanigans had a possible safety justification.

    2. aezy_doc says:

      It’s fricing obvious – some of the teams have added to the car that they started the season with.

    3. Dai Dactic says:

      You forgot to mention that the alternative encourages substantially more true innovation as well.

      Where’s the F1 equivalent of the Nissan ZEOD? Hopefully people like Newey will leave this farce and move to where creativity is appreciated and not labelled ‘cheating’.

      1. grat says:

        Probably designed by someone working for Panoz. ;)

    4. JOS says:

      my understanding is that cars are scrutineered at every race, not just at the first. I dont think they are checked before the first Free Practice session, unless a team voluntarily gives a deisgn to the FIA for comment. e.g. brawn double diffuser in 2009

      1. Stephen Flynn says:

        Right back before the first race, the technical regs stated:

        10.2.2 Any powered device which is capable of altering the configuration or affecting the performance of any part of the suspension system is forbidden.

        10.2.3 No adjustment may be made to the suspension system while the car is in motion.

        I took this from the 2013 tech regs, and the 2014 regs are exactly the same. If FRICS was deemed to be within these requirements at the start of the year, and last year, and the year before, why is any attention being paid to it now? How was FRICS acceptable prior to race 1 and not now?

        This kind of messing around, coupled with drivel like double points at the last race, random rule interpretations like the “undertaking under a red is ok… er… sometimes” nonsense we had at Silverstone, the “zero tolerance for track limit violations” lip-service we also had at Silverstone and so on, does nothing to make the sport look good – it makes it look like a circus act.

    5. Steve S says:

      “Why then, are we faffing about with changing the rules on linked suspension mid-season, when presumably all of the teams have been using this kind of tech for 5 years.”

      You can’t make that assumption. Like any technology FRIC exists on a continuum from primitive and limited to ever more sophisticated and powerful. If all the teams actually were running the same old standard FRIC then there would be no issue. There is an issue precisely because some teams are not running that 5 year old tech, they are running 2014 tech which does something different.

  15. Crom says:

    Engine homologation is the big own goal that ruined the season for me, no-one will really care about FRIC unless it becomes a game changer.

    1. warley says:

      +1 had renault and Ferrari been able to replace their rubbish turbos the racing would be closer by now. It does not save money as they are already doing it to be ready for next season. A clear FIA own goal !

  16. Ben Z says:

    Adds to the excitement. I’ve go a feeling that Merc will be most effected if the team also discontinues to run FRIC.

    1. grat says:

      I doubt it. I suspect FRIC is partly why the other teams have been able to close the gap to Mercedes.

      Mercedes will lose performance, sure… but I suspect other teams will as well.

    2. forestial says:

      It won’t be enough. The Merc advantage is too big. And adding to the excitement is not justification for doing something so arbitrary and unfair as changing rules in mid-season.

  17. John says:

    so will this affect stability during the braking and harvesting phase, will we see more lock ups coming into corners?

  18. Gaz Boy says:

    Dear Charlie Whiting,
    If you read this forum (who knows?) then if you want to ban a certain technical issue, why not wait until the end of the season and give the teams a few months notice eh?
    If a change is mandated on safety grounds – like the Pirelli tyre pressures last year – fair enough, I’ll agree with that, but making an arbitrary rule change mid season – the first season of a brand new formula! – smacks of unnecessary political interference from the chaps at the FIA.
    Shades of Renault damper gate 2006, also mid season……………
    Come on Charlie, just let the racers get on with racing!

    Yours Sincerely,
    Gaz Boy

    1. Steve S says:

      Shades of completely rewriting the rules on engine mapping midway through the 2012 season.

    2. RobertS says:

      Agree! Good point, it is only the first season of the new formula, just leave it alone and see how it works out.

      I really do hope someone in the teams r management read this!

  19. C Boy says:

    I hate it when F1 move the goal posts mid season, any team not happy with their situation should just suck it up.
    Rules and Regs should only be altered between seasons unless there is a safety risk.

    …and now for all the fric’in’ puns.

  20. JamesW says:

    Mercedes have enough of a lead to risk running with it, and force a decision from on high. It’s a bit of a stretch to call this a moveable aerodynamic device (as it was for mass dampers). It looks more like very good, and very complex suspension. How do you draw the line on suspension trickiness? Apart from just making it up FIA style.

  21. Pkara says:

    Mercedes on Sky F1 website state that Mercs will not run with FRIC at Hockenhiem.
    Still cannot believe the F.I.A are creating such an upheaval. Talk about more cost being put on teams to change the configuration of their cars. Then the added cost of getting the designers to create something else to bring the cars back up to pace.
    Am surprised tha it was Mclaren who instigated this upheavel.
    Think the milk is turning sour with Metcedes.
    Looks like a long term marriage to Mercedes has lost its sparkle. Hugo Boss has gone to Mercedes (like a child in the middle).
    Looks familiar Lib Dem & Conservatives will be doing the same in 6months time too:-D
    Judge Judy where are you :-D

    1. warley says:

      They do seem to be burning their bridges! They had better hope that Honda do a better job than Renault and Ferrari or Ron’s boys will be fighting marussia and caterham. The last Honda motor was no great shakes so they have a lot of eggs in one basket !

      1. Pkara says:

        Its going to one big omelette if the Honda engine falls flat on performance.
        Just not Cricket.
        Think Mclaren might have gone about FRICGATE with abit of style rather than chucking their Mercedes connections in large Black Bin Bags & leaving it for the refuse collectors.
        Being a fan of Mclaren & Mercedes I’m finding it rather odd how Mclaren are going about this break up.
        Funny old world :-D

  22. Iwan says:

    Again, a technology that can and have made it’s way to road cars gets banned AFTER all the money has been spent and the FIA signed it off year after year after.

    1. F430-Fox says:

      As far as I know, FRIC is a passive system. Road cars use (as F1 cars have in the past) far more sophisticated active suspension.
      So FRIC is not really destined for road cars. In my opinion, It’s one of those technologies that gives a minimal benefit (car handling and tyre management), which does not justify the high development costs.
      So I don’t think its absence will be greatly missed.

      However, why we have to endure yet again rule changes mid-season is a very different topic.

      1. Matías says:

        quite the contrary, look at the citroen ds, 60 years ago. With th interconected, passive hidraulic system, it was both confortable and safe. If your car doesn’t pitch under braking, the braking power is distributed mor evenly, and your four wheels kept in contact with the road at all the times. It may be an extreme example, but did you ever see a Citroen 2cv flipping over? even when you take a deep turn, all four wheels kept in contact with the road, making it safer and more under control. So no, it’s not a minimal benefit, it’s such a good idea, and so road relevant, that those french geniuses figured out more than half a century ago!

  23. Salvatore says:

    I inherited my love for F1 from my dad. But this dosen’t feel
    Like F1 anymore. Let’s be honest the new engines are terrible
    They sound like hovers. Fric take it or leave it the FIA at as they please
    Except when mansel is driver steward. I don’t worry about missing
    A race anymore. Ratings are down. Even when red bull were dominate
    Fan or not the car sounded and looked amazing. Now every
    Car looks bad and there’s no sound. What is F1 with out its Heart
    And it’s heart has always been it’s engine.

    1. C63 says:

      They sound like hovers….

      What does a hover sound like?

    2. Peter says:

      So not a true F1 fan then? Granted there has been a lot to complain about in the last few years but the noise and the looks would be far from the top of my list.

  24. Paul D says:

    Unless it’s a safety issue – they should not be able to change rules / technical guidelines mid-season.

  25. Paul D says:

    If Ferrari decide to risk it and keep it on the cars (for a net gain) it will be an interesting test of the FIA to see if they rule in their favour.

    1. Peter says:

      Indeed no mention yet if Ferrari are removing theirs. I do hope that one team at least doesn’t and forces an actual FIA investigation to clarify the legality. Ferrari might as well try, its not like they’ve got much too lose.

      1. Frobisher says:

        It’s not like Ferrari will: A) be accused of cheating. or B) Face a monetary or otherwise fine for using an illegal system anyway.
        One only has to look at Silverstone in 2011 and the diffuser issue to see the clout that this team has, only “win” of the season, a more hollow win i have never seen!

  26. Nick says:

    Doesnt this just sum up the terrible way the FIA governs the sport? If the FIA believes it breaches the rules, it should ban it. Otherwise shut up. Instead they take the ridiculous approach of saying that if all teams can agree they’ll let them off, otherwise they may listen to protests. How utterly gutless, what a joke.

  27. andrew says:

    So McLaren cant improve their car and decides to focus on restricting the other teams. I just lost a lot of respect for McLaren now.

  28. tshifaro says:

    James

    how can an average fan tell if a car is running without FRIC or not?

    1. James Allen says:

      You can’t

      I think none of them will carry FRIC this weekend

      1. Paul Jarman says:

        Hey James

        As Charlie has obviously been happy with previous versions of the system, do you think the teams will go back to less technically advanced FRIC systems? Will they even be allowed to or is the system now a dead duck?

  29. Jonno says:

    I believe Charlie Whiting’s contract with the FIA is coming to an end this year. If so, is he attempting to prove he’s indispensible to F1 or just doing a lot of poo stirring before going to work as Bernie’s butler?

    1. Matías says:

      i can imagine Ross Brown with a pen, ready to sign a contract filling Charlie’s shoes…

    2. C63 says:

      before going to work as Bernie’s butler….

      I am pretty sure he never stopped being Bernies butler ;-)

  30. JF says:

    A quote from the article: ” for fans and the public it adds a level of additional confusion which is not helpful.”

    I see this mentioned many times by many people in the sport. Why is this such a concern? I would think most fans enjoy the tech stuff, I certainly do, otherwise I would probably watch NASCAR and Indy more. The racing alone would have no spice whatsoever without technical and driver rivalry.

    1. grat says:

      ‘cuz, duh, we’re stupid, and can’t follow simple diagrams.

      At least, that’s what I hear everytime an F1 VIP (Montezemelo) says “F1 has become too confusing”.

      If I can explain the technology to my mother, it’s not too confusing for the average fan.

      I think the fans understand very well what’s going on in F1 these days, and we don’t like it.

      1. Peter says:

        Exactly – Luca needs to give us fans a bit more credit – not only do we understand plenty, we know damn well the real reason for this mid season FRIC ban.

  31. Richard Bernecker says:

    Cute headline. I must take exception to the article’s categorization of the negative feedback amongst the F1 fan base as representing ‘additional confusion’. I’m a critic of the technical overregulation of F1, but that doesn’t imply that I’m confused by the current FIA actions. I just think that the FIA has lost the plot with regard to what makes F1 a true spectacle, and is losing fan base as a result.

    It almost feels like there’s a perception that if the fan’s don’t agree with F1′s current direction, it must mean that they’re simply ignorant or confused. I hope that’s not the case.

  32. Rich says:

    Am I the only one who thinks the FIA are doing the right thing?

    They are the rules/guidelines creators and administrators. Teams always go beyond the limit in order to maximise performance, always been the case and always will be. The FIA are saying the function is no longer primarily suspension (which I accept could be argued in court) and it’s now an aerodynamic aid for the car and as it’s moveable it falls into the bracket of illegal.

    The main issue should be with McLaren, by protesting they have forced the hand of the FIA who have to act now rather than at the end of the season. Rather than moaning they should be looking at themselves and trying to figure out why they took so long to get working on it. Lotus had it working well from early last season, if not the season before.

    I also enjoy all this techincal talk, it’s what F1 is all about, innovation and pushing the boundaries both of the driver and the car. It’s not turned me off at all. Unlike all this talk of Rosberg’s helmet ;)

    1. JakobusVdL says:

      l’11 back you on this Rich, if the FIA become aware that some of the teams are using a system in an illegal way they need to act.
      The teams were given the option of agreeing to keep the system until the end of the year, but couldn’t agree to do so.
      You put the ‘blame’ with Mclaren for raising the issue because they couldn’t get maximum benefit from it, what about the teams who are pushing the bounds of the fric system to gain an ‘illegal’ advantage – do you think they also bear some responsibility?

      1. grat says:

        But they’re not using it in an illegal way, any more than the Double Diffuser was illegal, or the F-Duct. As the regulations are written, it complies with all rules and technical directives the FIA has released.

        Personally, I find the idea that the “top level of motorsport” isn’t allowed to dynamically balance their car going through corners is asinine.

        What next? Ban the upper and lower wishbones because they’re adjusting the ride height of the cars?

      2. KRB says:

        Okay, so then regulate what is acceptable, and what isn’t. Write it down, in unambiguous language. Obviously some FRIC systems were deemed to be ok at the start of this year, and in years past. So if things were ok then, they issue a directive saying “if you do this, this and this, and make sure you don’t do that, then your FRIC system will be deemed legal”.

        But they just can’t be bothered. They’d much rather just come off as imbeciles. It’s garage league stuff, but with the current players in the positions they’re in, you sort of know this garbage will happen, so I guess you build in contingencies for such “inconsistent rules governance”.

      3. JakobusVdL says:

        Problem Solved the teams are dropping FRIC voluntarily
        @Grat -I thought the point was that its being used illegally, I like where you are going with banning those wishbones ;-)
        @KRB – I’m sure if they could define the rules in an unambiguous way , they would have been doing it all along

      4. Rich says:

        Agree re the FIA but have to say McLaren only protesting because they’ve not done it as well as Merc, Lotus and even Marussia. Do you think if they had got it working well they would protest? As mentioned above they where pretty keen to keep the ‘F duct’.

        Teams will always push the limits and the FIA were happy to ‘ignore’ this until the end of the season, as all teams where running it, had to act because McLaren protested. All part of the game and part of the reason I love F1.

  33. Rudy says:

    Some months ago there was an issue with a Technical Directive. At the time they said it was seen as a “recommendation” not a ruling per se. Again, this time around it is labelled a “Technical Directive”. Maybe they changed the process in which a TD is imposed or put forward. In any case this issue doesn’t help with cost cutting, stability or hooking new followers.
    It is a FiA crisis where there are also these kind of knee-jerk reactions in WRC.

    In my understanding it won’t harm Mercedes or Red Bull. The status quo will prevail, at the front and at the back of the grid. We will still witness Mercedes 1-2, perhaps, for the rest of the season.

  34. Roberto says:

    “……………….for fans and the public it adds a level of additional confusion which is not helpful.”

    You could say that or you could say it adds a bit of excitement to a sport which desperately needs some kind of excitement at the moment. Wondering who is going to be “best of the rest” isn’t a very good way to watch a race.

    As Humpy Wheeler would say, “Mercedes is stinking up the show”.

    1. Peter says:

      In need of excitement? I haven’t been this excited about F1 in years! Not only am i interested in the “best of the rest” but I’m I actually uncertain who’s going to win the race or the drivers championship. Unfortunately the only thing that’s certain is the constructors but that’s about the only thing that takes away from the excitement.

  35. BenM says:

    If FRIC systems are considered moveable aero devices why is there talk about bringing back active suspension which does exactly the same thing?

    Where is the consistency?

    1. Stephen Flynn says:

      This is F1, where the only consistent thing is that there will be no consistency.

      Overtaking under a red is not allowed, except sometimes, where it’s ok.
      Track limits shall not be exceeded, except sometimes, repeatedly, at some tracks.
      FRICS is legal, except sometimes where it’s not, but only if everyone agrees.

      About the only thing that stays the same from race to race is that Maldonado will either cause a crash or be involved in one.

  36. Steve S says:

    “Whiting was recently persuaded that some team’s solutions were now so extreme that they violate the catch all technical regulation outlawing anything that constitutes a “moveable aerodynamic device”. Hence the technical directive which went out to teams last week.”

    Maybe I’m missing something here, but surely the sensible thing to do in that case would be to issue a directive banning those “extreme” FRIC’s while leaving the old ones as they were?

    If some teams were found to be running illegal floors on their cars Whiting would not ban all floors, would he? I remain perplexed by what’s happening here.

    1. C63 says:

      Maybe I’m missing something here…

      So what’s new, why are you suddenly worrying about it now?

  37. Lee G says:

    Can I just point out that there hasn’t been a rule change, Charlie has just pointed out that some FRIC systems maybe illegal, and if protested teams could be disqualified.

    1. Matías says:

      IF they find them doing anything wrong. What if someone (Force India) protest the FRIC on Mercedes (ok, that’ll be shooting his own foot, but, let’s take it as a suposition), and after scrutining the car, it’s within the rules? what would all the teams who took away the FRIC do? If they choose not to use it, maybe because they know they’re in a grey area of the rules, and won’t take a chance, but if they’re sure they’re within the rules, why would they take it off?

  38. Jeff says:

    Question for James; how does a team just “turn it off,” or just not run it? How simple it is I’m sure depends on the team, but, how simple is it?

  39. Moog says:

    Surely this is road relevant which is an argument used for technology in F1 these days?

    My question however for the technical people here is, will we be able to tell if it’s run or not? Is it something we can see? I know we can see the cars height to some degree, and the ultra-slow-motion shots might highlight it, but will Brundle or Coulthard be able to walk up to a car on the grid and point to it?

    /Moog

    1. Steve Flynn says:

      Absolutely not, in no way shape or form.

      You’d have no idea even if I were to stand you beside the car, point to the master cylinders and the pipelines and say “this squirts hydraulic fluid up that pipe to make the rear end balance the front end”.

  40. BluesPaul says:

    I’m trying to ask the right questions here…

    Why scrap Fric altogether because some teams have gone too far with it?

    Why not force those who ‘went too far’ to come back into line?

    Is that about right, or am I missing the point

    1. Rich C says:

      The Point is, like ALL these kinds of discussions in F1, that certain teams cannot make it work and so elect to lobby against it and protest.
      This is what F1 is truly the “pinnacle” of: whining because “we can’t make it work.”

  41. Carlos Marques says:

    F1 is a simple sport; 22 cars drive around for 2 hours (without FRIC) and at the end, Mercedes wins.

    1. Matías says:

      i guess any sport resumes into that, an equal set of rules for everyone, and then, Germany wins!

  42. Mircea says:

    Good job Ron. Please destroy Mercedes by all you means.

  43. Kevin Irwin says:

    Magne ride suspension next year then , easy enough to make a twin chambered shock able to control compression and extension with a simple transducer on each shock to vary the current.

  44. Duncan says:

    There’s clearly been a mix-up over the proposed ban on Fracing.

  45. F1fletch says:

    Rant:

    This seriously cheeses me off. Things are pretty cool these days with some great racing and close chases for 2nd on down. Then McLaren Whines to Whiting because their system sucks ( and perhaps many others as well). Obviously Merc has got it right and I am sure this is no trivial flick of a switch to simply deactivate for all the teams. I hope I am wrong but this seems totally Fric-in ridiculous.

    Simple Solution:

    Ban all variations of it for next year and leave them be to race this year.

    Rant Off

  46. Rich C says:

    My friend, El Predicto the Psychic Armadillo, says Mercedes will run the FRIC anyway and dare somebody to protest.
    Being so far ahead in every category they have plenty of points to “give” and will opt to force the issue.

  47. Kris says:

    “It is still regrettable that the sport finds a way to change rules mid-way through the season, as it did with the ban on exhaust blowing a few years ago, or Michelin wide contact patch tyres or Mass dampers.

    F1 teams are devious and always push things to extremes, but in big picture terms, for fans and the public it adds a level of additional confusion which is not helpful.”

    Captures the situation perfectly. I love F1 but can’t help but feel embarrassed by developments like this. How on earth are we supposed to be able to share our passion for the sport and encourage others to get involved when it seems to be the only sport on the planet that seems to have such a malleable rule structure and be capable and unashamed of moving the goalposts with no warning.

    Isn’t scrutineering at the beginning of the season supposed to address issues like this?

  48. Jason says:

    F1 — where they moan about cost-cutting yet make the teams change the cars mid-season.

    I hope Mercedes dominate and triple lap the entire field this weekend. Maybe I am being a cynic here but I feel this was done in a hope to reel Mercedes back in. I’d love it if the Mercedes system was actually rubbish and only worth a tenth while the Red Bull and Ferrari version was worth over a second. Unlikely for sure but I would love it.

    I just think moving the goal posts mid-season is dumb. I don’t know how much it costs to remove it from the car and maybe to the big teams it is a few grand but to a struggling little team, a few grand is a few wages. The FIA are really dumb.

    Thank god we have epic engineers and wonderful journalists in F1.

  49. Stu says:

    James,
    For the second last paragraph: Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  50. Torchwood Five says:

    a) Great headline, and yes, how did that get past the moderator?! :P

    b) This, “if the teams don’t make a unanimous decision, we will ban FRIC immediately” idea is the way forwards with the cost cap debacle.

    Instead of saying the teams have to unanimously agree to the cap, flip it like the FIA have shown they were willing to do above – if the teams cannot unanimously agree to spend as much wonga as they can get their hands on, we are knocking everyone’s budget down to £nn mil’.

  51. Steve Rogers says:

    I don’t agree that these rule-tightenings cause confusion. They highlight the technical development, cut-throat competition and brinkmanship with regard to the rules which are all vital aspects of F1. The only reason Whiting has taken McLaren seriously is that he considers the rule has been sidled up to and nudged. Fun, I say.

  52. Howard P says:

    “It is still regrettable that the sport finds a way to change rules mid-way through the season, ”

    I would not have put it in such a polite way…. i

    1. aveli says:

      read any story, watch any film and you will notice a crisis and the scramble to find a resolution before the end. it is a standard component of story telling.

  53. aveli says:

    mercedes, and williams will be thrown out of the championships in November because their fuel and lubricants contain product from fracking.

  54. Wombat says:

    Well there goes my chance of entering a Morris 1100 in F1.

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