Your essential F1 briefing #6: FRIC
No, of course not.
Name Front and Rear Interconnected Suspension
Age About six years old Appearance Still there if you look closely enough
Do you really want to know?
Well, they do say that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.
If that Joni Mitchell reference goes any further, you’ll be getting a yellow card. But I digress. Just before the German GP, all the teams decided to run without their Front and Rear Interconnected Suspension systems. Well, not quite hole-y – the plumbing is all still there, since it’s pretty well entwined with all the other cabling and piping in the monocoque. They just capped off the hydraulics.
Ah, you can never find a plumber when you need one. Did they try Checkatrade?
Well, they finally managed to get hold of some bloke from Lewisham who used to work for the council, but he didn’t turn up until after the cars had gone into parc fermé.
Why hadn’t I heard of these things anyway?
They were one of those open secrets that weren’t an issue until they became an issue. Renault introduced the technology in 2008, linking each corner of the car via hydraulics to stabilise its mechanical and aerodynamic platform as it reacted to bumps, kerbs, braking and acceleration. You could, for instance, run the suspension softer to increase mechanical grip.
Sounds like the Hydragas system I had on my Austin Allegro, and the wretched thing was always listing to starboard…
Quite. Most teams went through quite a lot of pain and expense to get it right. But it seems that some of them have been too successful…
The old “We can’t make it work as well as the next team, so we’ll get it banned” gambit, eh?
Perhaps they should have rescued your old Allegro from the scrapheap!
Do say: FRIC or unique?
Don’t say: I’m heading for a FRIC out
What the FRIC?