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FRIC ban would not be a 'game changer' - Boullier

ESPN Staff
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The FIA looks set to tighten regulations surrounding Front and Rear Interconnected [FRIC] suspension systems at the next grand prix in Germany.

FRIC systems link the front and rear suspension to help control the pitch of the car under braking and maintain its ride height for aerodynamic advantage. They have been run by several teams in recent years, but were first developed in F1 by the Lotus team.

An FIA technical directive was issued to the teams following the British Grand Prix warning that cars running such systems may be reported to the stewards from the German Grand Prix onwards if they are believed to be in breach of a rule that outlaws moveable aerodynamic devices. However, if the teams agree unanimously to run their current systems until the end of the season, the FIA will allow FRIC systems to remain on the cars.

Different teams have developed the technology to different extents, with Mercedes believed to have one of the most effective systems. But McLaren racing director Eric Boullier does not think a ban will be a "game-changer" this season.

"I don't know the secret of the designs of the other team," he told a McLaren phone-in with journalists. "I think most of the team it would not be a game-changer, but there are maybe a couple of teams that have been extreme and would find it difficult to switch it back to a non-connected system. But for most I don't think it would be a game-changer."

Boullier said the technical directive had come as a surprise but would not cause major headaches for McLaren.

"Yes it came as a surprise. It was not based on any team's action, it was an FIA action. We had been warned at the weekend that something could come out of this, and then we got this letter from Charlie Whiting - actually its not a letter, it's a technical directive.

"I think most of the teams, if not all the teams on the grid, are using this kind of suspension system, which connects the vehicle dynamics better. Some teams may have been extreme [with their design], this is maybe why the FIA is questioning the legality of the system.

"In the case of McLaren, we are quite relaxed. We don't see any issue with this for us. I don't think it will be too much disturbance for the rest of the season. We don't like it when there is a technical change in the season, but maybe there is a reason behind why the FIA wants to do it."