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F1: FRIC protests up to the teams
Formula 1 teams may have to decide for themselves if they wish to protest rivals over FRIC suspension systems, with the FIA unlikely to step in on their behalf.
Efforts are ongoing to try to reach a unanimous agreement for teams not to protest each other for running FRIC, after the FIA ruled last week that the devices could be in breach of the rules. But with it appearing unlikely that everyone will support such a move, teams face the choice of either ditching FRIC or running it in Germany and risking the possibility of a protest or FIA-prompted stewards' investigation.
In last week's letter to the teams notifying them that FRIC could be viewed as an illegal moveable aerodynamic device, F1 technical delegate Charlie Whiting suggested the governing body could take action itself.
If teams did not all agree to allow FRIC to remain in F1 this year, Whiting said: "We would have to consider making a report to the stewards about the non-compliance of any car fitted with a system which appears to allow the response of the suspension at either or both of the rear corners to drive the response of the suspension at either or both of the front corners (or vice versa)."
However, high level sources have suggested that the governing body is eager to avoid taking a confrontational approach over the matter, and would be unlikely to step in itself at this stage.
An FIA source said: "Making a report to the stewards is an option that is open to us, but we would prefer a sensible approach. So we might continue with it, even if we don't get everyone to sign [the agreement not to protest]."
The FIA's position means FRIC would only get challenged if an official protest was lodged against a team that was running it. Although a protest can theoretically be lodged at any point over a grand prix weekend, there is a longstanding agreement among teams that such technical rule challenges should be done on the Thursday before an event. It means that the FRIC situation should be cleared up before opening practice begins for the German Grand Prix.