The war between (some) teams, over the legality of certain suspension systems, rages on. I reported earlier in February, that there might be uncertainty over the upcoming Australian GP results. Ferrari considered protest against said results. That is why the FIA have issued a clarification of the current rules.
As we know, the systems under protest are those of both Mercedes and Red Bull. Ferrari is still lobbying against them behind closed doors. Now the FIA has taken it upon them to end this witch hunt. Charlie Whiting has informed all teams, by mail, on Friday the 17th of February, what is and (more importantly) isn’t allowed by their regulations.
The teams are being reminded of all the rules (for the suspension) that are in state since 1993. The suspension system can only be used for suspension purposes. Any aerodynamic influence can only be by coincidence. The new directive consists out of five guidelines.
- Any system that changes its characteristics in response to an acceleration of the masses, in all three dimensions, is not permitted.
- There can’t be any direct connection between the third damper element to adjust the ground clearance, the steering and/or the brakes.
- There can’t be any active ground clearance control.
- There can’t be any storage of energy in the chassis, for later usage in the dampers or springs.
- There can’t be any direct connection between the elements that control ground clearance and those that control the rolling behavior of the vehicle.
Ferrari believes that it corners their two main rivals with these clarifications. They believe both Mercedes and Red Bull have developed systems that, after input of certain parameters, change the front height of the car and limit the roll of the car, through the corners.
Meanwhile at Mercedes the mood is relaxed. “When Arrivabene wants to make a fool of himself, he can go ahead.” says Toto Wolf.“Our system has always been legal. These latest clarification don’t hurts us.” However, the Mercedes people, who are confident in their system, do feel like there might be a problem for Red Bull. They believe Red Bull’s system is more mature than their system, which might not make them up to date for the new rules.
Red Bull, naturally, disagrees. But Christian Horner did feel happy about the clarifications. The tightening of the rules is something they are not against: “We are spending too much money in that area. For the fans there are no benefits there. They don’t see, nor understand, the technical side of it.”
What we, the fans, do understand Mr. Horner, is that this war seems to be unfinished. For us, it seems that the end isn’t near. And the FIA thinks the same. As a new measure they overhauled their normal procedures. From now on the teams wil have to prove to the FIA that their suspension systems are legal. Up until now teams were granted certain securities towards their system, until there was a protest. Only then, they had to show their true colors.
To be continued…