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Whiting doubts Melbourne suspension protest

NEWS STORY
23/03/2017

Speaking at a special media briefing today aimed at clarifying the 2017 regulation changes, FIA race director Charlie Whiting dismissed fears that a row over the suspension systems used by Mercedes and Red Bull will overshadow the season opener as rivals lodge protests over their legality.

The fear has been an ever-present throughout the winter, ever since Ferrari, claiming it was intending to use a similar system, asked the FIA for clarity, a commonly used ruse.

The FIA subsequently reiterated that suspension systems are not allowed to aid aerodynamic performance and called on both Mercedes and Red Bull to make the necessary changes.

Speaking at today's briefing, Whiting said he was confident the issue had been resolved, the systems having been checked over the course of the Barcelona tests.

"We wanted to see whether the suspension is generally suspension or if it is there predominantly for the aerodynamic performance of the car," he told reporters.

"If a suspension system behaves asymmetrically, then there is not a very justifiable reason for behaving like that," he continued. "So if a suspension system goes down at one speed and comes back at a different speed then really there shouldn't be any reason for that. And if they are not able to convince us of that then they are not able to use it.

"Marcin Budkowski and Jo Bauer did a lot of work in Barcelona going through all the systems, and the ones we have inspected so far have been as we expected them to be. We don't anticipate any problems."

Indeed, it's understood that the systems of six teams were checked in Barcelona, and further examinations have been carried out in Melbourne ahead of this weekend's season opener.

Asked about the other issue that has been causing concern in recent months, that of oil burning, which, like the suspension system mainly involves Mercedes, he said: "We are monitoring it.

"We did quite a lot of work on it in Barcelona," he continued. "We are going to inspect all the oil systems here and we are going to randomly check oil consumption to make sure that it is not being used as fuel."

Check out our Thursday gallery from Melbourne, here.

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