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"Zero chance" of FRIC agreement says Szafnauer

NEWS STORY
15/07/2014

Force India COO Otmar Szafnauer has dismissed the idea of all eleven teams agreeing to stop using FRIC suspension systems.

Last week, the FIA's Technical Delegate Charlie Whiting, wrote to the teams advising that following investigations into the systems - which are designed to transfer suspension load from front to rear as well as diagonally across the car as they attempt to control the car's pitch and roll - it is believed the systems contravene Article 3.15 of the Technical Regulations which states that the primary function of suspension designs must be to improving ride quality, with any aerodynamic benefit purely incidental.

Whilst some feared that this was another move by the powers that be to amend the rules mid-season and thereby influence the championship, Whiting said that teams could retain the systems for the remainder of the season providing there was unilateral agreement between them... an absolute rarity in the sport.

Consequently it is feared that some of the underperforming teams might opt to remove their systems thereby forcing the FIA's hand into banning them completely, a move which could impact some much more than others.

Revealing that his team is willing to remove the system in time for this weekend's German Grand Prix, Szafnauer argues that it is naive to believe that all eleven teams will agree to the move.

"We'll do what the majority want, but it's not about majority, it's about unanimity," he told Sky Sports F1 Show. "I think the likelihood of a unanimous agreement is zero quite frankly. I think there will be people out there who say 'if the FIA think it should be banned then let's do that'.

"We have run it in the past, but we don't always run it," he admitted. "Ironically, we spent two days at Silverstone developing it even further. So we will see what the future brings, but if we're allowed to run we will and if not we won't. We can take ours off.

"What the sport needs is clarity," he continued. "As long as we know what the rules are I think everybody will follow and then we can go racing again."

Asked about how big an impact removing the system would have on some teams, he said: "It can make a significant difference. 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. If that's the case it can make a significant difference. For some teams it might mean more if they take it off than others."

Chris Balfe

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