The word on everyone's lips ahead of the German grand prix weekend is 'FRIC'. In the days before scrutineering on Thursday, the biggest questions are: will teams continue to use the newly-controversial technology, and will their rivals lodge protests?
The issue arose after Silverstone, when Charlie Whiting wrote a letter warning that the 'front and rear interconnected' suspension systems may in fact be illegal. It has not been banned, but the FIA official said some teams may choose to lodge protests which could be upheld by the stewards.
In a move to calm the situation, efforts have been made to circulate an agreement to stave off the protest threat in 2014 before a ban is put in place for next year. But Germany's Auto Motor und Sport reports that Whiting's efforts to get all eleven team principals to sign the document have failed.
Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari, Lotus and Williams reportedly committed orally to postponing the ban until 2015, but that is all. The report said the team most likely to lodge a protest is Caterham. "Let's see if anyone has the courage by Thursday to protest FRIC," an FIA source is quoted as saying, referring to the preferred deadline for a race weekend protest.
In reality, however, the lack of unanimity on the issue leaves teams running sophisticated Fric systems little choice but to remove the technology immediately. The first to show its hand is McLaren. "McLaren does not currently intend to run a Fric suspension system at the German grand prix," said a spokesman for the Woking based team. (GMM)