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9 Jul 2014

FRIC (Front-to-Rear-Inter-Connected) suspension is not new to Formula One and even pre dates the 'Active Suspension' era of the early 90's but over the last few years the systems have become more an more complex.  The teams desire for both suspension compliance and a consistent aerodynamic platform has led to vast improvements in the area.

This is where the FIA has decided to step in, with an imminent ban on inter-connected systems looming as early as the German GP in just over a weeks time.  After the British GP the teams were issued with a technical directive by Charlie Whiting, an extract of which follows:

"Having now seen and studied nearly every current design of front to rear linked suspension system we, the FIA, are formally of the view that the legality of all such systems could be called into question."

They're insisting that such suspension systems could be seen as a breach of article 3.15 of the technical regulations, pertaining to moveable aerodynamic devices.

I briefly looked at FRIC early last year: Interlinked suspension and FRIC as it was a hot topic at the time, with Mercedes having seemingly made the most of their iteration. 

A unanimous vote from the teams is all that will stave off the ban until the end of the season, with FRIC/Inter-connected suspension systems on the chopping block for 2015.  With ALL teams running some form of inter-connected suspension (some much more mature than others) it's clear that it will have a dramatic effect on the grid as a whole if the ban came in immediately.  However I think we can clearly see that this is the FIA flexing their muscles ahead of 2015, so as the teams can plan in advance for its ban, before even more advance systems become the construct of their design programmes.

It's also pertinent to remember the latest draft of the 2015 ratified by the WMSC also calls for some re-designs in terms of how the plank and skids are used going forward.  FRIC suspensions allow for a much more aggressive rake than would be viable without such systems and so a redesign of both the plank/skids and banning of FRIC suspensions seems to tie everything up in a nice little bow, without dramatically affecting next years designs, of which the FIA will have been privy to and have likely taken this action because of.



  1. i want to know, is the FRIC suspension system works like all-wheel steering seen like in audi's concept cars?

  2. Could you please list the teams that are running FRIC systems this season ?? And also how much of impact will it be to change the suspension system mid season with minimal testing ??

    1. Hi Harsha

      All of the teams are running some form of interlinked suspension, FRIC wise you have to look at Mercedes, Red Bull, Lotus, McLaren, Ferrari, Marussia. Force India have tried it with varying affects and a few of the teams I'm unaware of their current status. However what I can say is that all teams would have a performance drop, making it all relative, Merc would clearly lose out slightly more than most though.

  3. DISCLAIMER: Following comment may contain unfounded conspiracy theories.

    As facts are brought to the surface extremely slowly and we know almost nothing about the trigger that has led FIA to this shortsighted move, dozens of conspiracy theories traded with moments of what-if-someone-came-too-far-with-his-design comes to my mind. However this article raised up completely new theory.

    We obviously know that FRIC (in its simplest form) theoretically allows to preserve perfectly consistent ride height thus preventing vehicle from bottoming and wearing out the plank.

    We also know that some people would like to see fancy sparks, which were not very evident when FIA tested titanium skid blocks on state-of-art FRIC equipped W05 Hybrid.

    Following your string of thoughts and reading between the lines... does the last paragraph suggest that FIA wants the cars to bottom out more? Maybe just because of few fancy sparks?

    Anyway, whatever the truth is (hope we will know sooner or later), this 'what-the-FRIC-gate' just shows how the lack of transparency is hurting the sport. FIA does its best to make itself secret hated organization distant from the rest of the world.

    1. Hey Mario

      Thanks for swinging by and leaving your comments, the Technical Directive was a shot across the bow by the FIA to the teams. With the 2015 regulations now worded very differently in concerns to the skid block (now Plank and Skids) the FIA are clearly trying to stop the teams from running the cars with extreme rake. A move to prohibit FRIC further cements this as, as we know it allows the teams to run with a much more consistent and extreme suspension angle than they could get without it.

      Sparks will be genereted by the mandated titanium skids as the teams have been using the more durable Tungsten ones over the last few seasons, this will just be a visceral signal of them bottoming the car out. The same 1mm wear rule will apply so the teams will have to take serious steps back in how they rake their cars.

      This of course all leads to a loss in downforce and more importantly an ethos shift in how the teams use aero.

      The FIA's plan therefore was not to ban the use of FRIC instantly but warn the teams not to incorporate FRIC and anything aero wise that requires it in their 2015 plans, as it won't be tolerated.

  4. I don't have a problem with announcing now a FRIC ban for next year. I do, however, question changing the rules mid season on non safety grounds. This smacks of manipulation of a sporting event and confers on F1 and the FIA all the stature of professional wrestling. If there are two ways to do something, F1 and the FIA seem determined to take the option most likely to leave egg on their face.



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