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.