The F1 cars rolled out for practice today in Germany and the FIA has indicated that all the F1 teams have opted to run without the Front and rear interconnected suspension systems (FRIC), following the technical directive from Charlie Whiting last week.
“I can confirm that no car is fitted with a front to rear linked suspension system of any sort,” said F1 Technical Delegate Jo Bauer.
So what effect will this have on the performance of the cars? Most teams were able to do a day of testing at Silverstone last week without FRIC, so they have a sense of where they are likely to stand.
Speaking to many teams in the Hockenheim paddock, the feeling is that the difference will not show up as much here this weekend in Germany as it will in Hungary next weekend. That is because FRIC is most useful in mid-speed corners and on certain types of traction events, which are more common at the Hungaroring than at Hockenheim.
As for lap time impact, it will probably cost teams with the most sophisticated systems like Mercedes between two and three tenths of a second per lap, with other teams who have less advanced systems losing slightly less. Marussia also has quite a radical solution, so it will be interesting to see how they are affected.
One clarification from yesterday postings, which said that McLaren was a protagonist in this process –
Their role was more in the aftermath of Whiting’s technical directive, seeing to remove the systems now rather than seek agreement of all teams to continue until the end of the season, rather than initiating the technical directive itself.
Whiting was persuaded by general lobbying and by close inspection of the FRIC systems as they were evolving and decided to call the legality of the systems into question.
Although cost is definitely a factor, as these systems are expensive to develop with some teams employing up to six engineers working on FRIC, regrettably there does seem to be a dimension to this change, which is aimed at closing the field up a bit.
We will get more of an idea of the effect of the change after the Hungarian Grand Prix next week, but it is unlikely to make a significant difference to the pecking order.