Formula 1 teams fail to reach FRIC agreement
15 July 2014 – Formula 1 teams have failed to unanimously agree to delay a ban on FRIC suspension until the 2015 season, meaning any outfit that uses the system at the German Grand Prix will face the risk of protests.
FIA Technical Delegate Charlie Whiting wrote a letter to teams last week informing them that front-and-rear-interconnected suspension designs could be challenged from this weekend's Hockenheim round.
There have since been attempts to put together a pact, whereby the entire field would agree not to protest the use of FRIC for the remainder of the current campaign, but this plan ultimately failed to come to fruition.
Teams must now choose whether or not to keep FRIC on their cars; if a squad opts to continue with the system, it risks being disqualified, should a rival protest and the race stewards agree that there is a regulation breach.
McLaren is the first and so far only team to confirm its stance ahead of the German Grand Prix, stating that it "does not currently intend" to run its own version, with others expected to announce the same decision.
The main question moving forward is how much of a performance hit teams will suffer. Mercedes' iteration is widely believed to be the most advanced, while some have only tentatively explored the benefits of FRIC.
Force India COO Otmar Szafnauer, whose team has sporadically used it, reckons the order could be shaken up.
"It can make a significant difference," Szafnauer explained to Sky Sports. "It can be half-second a lap, if not more, depending on whether you develop the entire car around it over the winter and in the wind tunnel."