The Formula 1 circus has descended on Hockenheim for the 2014 running of the German Grand Prix – and the word of the weekend is FRIC. FRIC stands for “Front/Rear Inter-Connected”, and describes a complicated suspension system that works to keep a Formula 1 car’s chassis level to the ground under braking, acceleration, and cornering. FRIC looks like this …
… helps the cars to generate aerodynamic downforce, while giving drivers a degree of control over how the car changes attitude at speed as the downforce increases.
Or, rather, it did do those things.
As of this weekend, FRIC suspensions have been banned in Formula 1, and it looks like the hitherto dominant Mercedes/AMG Hybrid team has suffered worst for it. Granted, they’re still the fastest cars in the field by virtue of their innovative “split” turbocharged engine, but their cars are much harder to drive – just ask 2008 World Drivers’ Champion Lewis Hamilton, who lost control of his Benz under braking in Q1, bringing out a red flag and putting himself, more or less, out of contention for the overall win in tomorrow’s race.
One team that seems to have greatly improved its odds of winning FRIC-free is McLaren, who managed to put rookie driver Kevin Magnussen into P4, just ahead of Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull. The Williams duo of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas, too, seem to be nipping at the heals of would-be champion Rosberg – but do they have the race pace to keep the pressure on him?
We’ll find out tomorrow. Until then, you can see how Hockenheim’s qualifying sessions played out for everyone else, below. Enjoy!
|Driver No.||Driver||Team||Grid Pos.|
|3||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull Racing-Renault||5|
|1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||6|
|27||Nico Hulkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||9|
|11||Sergio Perez||Force India-Mercedes||10|