There are few fields in the world where you'll find engineers working as feverishly as they do in Formula One. With races sometimes won and lost by fractions of a second, every little bit counts, so each team retains legions of engineers, all dedicated to finding the tiniest performance edge... without running afoul of the ever-constricting regulations.

This season, one of the most controversial advances has been known as FRIC, and while it's been effectively sidelined for the last few races, reports from the motorsport press indicate that is has now officially been banned by the FIA.

So just what is FRIC? It stands for Front and Rear Inter-Connected suspension. Now, if you're thinking that independent suspensions are the most advanced form available, you're right, but F1 teams have been toying for years with ways to interlink the suspensions at each wheel. Why, you ask? For a number of reasons. For one, it allows for redistribution of suspension dive at the front or rear, which means that under hard braking or acceleration – when the car would either pitch back or forward – the car can be kept more stable. That, in turn, means not only are all four tires loaded evenly and optimally, but the team can also run a more aggressive aero package. It also means that the car can be set up with a softer suspension, allowing the driver to attack the curbs more aggressively, without sacrificing underbody aerodynamics.

Several teams had been running FRIC systems that move hydraulic fluid between the front and rear suspensions, but voluntarily agreed to cease using them for the last two races at Hockenheim and Budapest. Now, the FIA, having apparently deemed FRIC an unfair advantage in contravention of the sporting regulations, has reportedly banned the system altogether. So while those cars may not be running on an even keel any more, at least they'll all be on an even playing field.


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  • 19 Comments
      Kimithechamp
      • 4 Months Ago

      F1, where innovation comes to be murdered by bureaucrats

      Muttons
      • 4 Months Ago

      I want a no holds barred racing series.  Anything goes within the realm of proper safety.  Any performance enhancement is just fine.


      ChrisD
      • 4 Months Ago

      F1 is so far removed from the "cutting edge" of automotive technology that Nascar can been seen in the side mirror pod's! The FIA will next get rid of the Turbo v6 motor and make a sub 7500 rpm V8 motor with 4-6-8 cylinder deactivation and an energizer battery cell the next F1 spec.

      Evan Patipa
      • 4 Months Ago

      *Sighs* this all makes me very sad.  F1 used to be the most innovative form of motorsport and now it is just a sea of regulations.  Next year everyone has to have the same nose and the number of modifications made to the power units between seasons are going to be controlled by a token system.  It is ridiculous


      Even a great like Adrian Newey is leaving the sport because all of the innovation is being taken away by the FIA.  F1 is supposed to be the pinnacle of motorsport and the governing bodies are trying to turn it into a single make series.  It is almost enough to make me not want to watch...almost

      Echelon Bob
      • 4 Months Ago

      This is sad. I can't fathom how they interpreted the rule book to come up with this ban.  

      If someone says "movable aerodynamic device" one more time... well, then, let's take it to its logical conclusion and immobilize the driver's head and ban the wheels from turning.

      Bernard
      • 4 Months Ago

      This is why Formula E is the future. F1 is all about regulations and crazy rules forcing cars to use the oddest and least sensible of technological solutions just to jump through all the random hoops.

        PatrickH
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Bernard

        LOL, because Formula E isn't those things?  (it is).  You have fun watching cars that can't top 130 mph or race for more than 30 minutes.  Even as a shadow of it's former greatness F1 >>> FE.

      Groagun
      • 4 Months Ago

      So be careful what you wish for! That is the warning to all of you that want, almost, no regulations.

      Having said that I am with you. I think the rules should be simple. The car must fit into a box, giving maximum dimensions. Tires should all be the same size, not make. Fuel is a set amount per race and qualifying. Engine tech will be based on that meter and you can have any configuration you want, you can only use that set amount of fuel. Finally safety: all cars still must go through FIA safety tests and pass before taking to the race track. 

      The warning from earlier referred to the possible fact the one team may be so dominant that watching may be so boring that no one will care. I think the innovation would be fantastic and could carry the story but it's a double edged sword. Still I would like to see it tried.

        Echelon Bob
        • 4 Months Ago
        @Groagun

        Simple is good.  Agree on the dimensioned box, agree on the total fuel amount allowed, and agree on safety testing. Add one driver only, who must be in the car, and the only person controlling anything on the car.

        After that, it should be open book.

        So don't agree on the same tire size, nor on mandatory pit stops or tire use.  I want to see six wheelers again and teams that go without stopping.

          Groagun
          • 3 Months Ago
          @Echelon Bob

          The one tire size was a bone to Michelin, Dunlop and whom ever else would like to step back into F1. Standardizing the size would level the playing field and should keep costs down, maybe.

      PatrickH
      • 3 Months Ago

      Does the FIA ever remove themselves a bit from the F1 series and realize how much they are ruining it?

      _I_I_II_I_I_
      • 4 Months Ago

      laaaaame… let's hope they just ban it for the rest of this year and announce soon it will be legal for next year.  Then the playing field remains level and technology advances.

      1TallTXn
      • 3 Months Ago
      So you punish the teams that have better engineers?
      FRIC wasn't against the rules (till just now) so why ban it?
      Not like it was a secret.
      Dean Hammond
      • 4 Months Ago

      huh? this news is about 2 months old.....

      jon on autoblog
      • 4 Months Ago

      ever closer to a spec series...

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