Not that I’m expecting this news to put an end to the trick suspension storyline, but apparently the FIA, via fax (really, it can’t even get with the 21st Century when it comes to communication with the teams?), has let the Formula 1 teams know that any device that alters car ride heights would be illegal.
Didn’t we already know that?
Here’s what Autosport has learned:
“Any system device or procedure, the purpose and/or effect of which is to change the set-up of the suspension, while the car is under parc ferme conditions will be deemed to contravene art 34.5* of the sporting regulations,” read the communication.
“Furthermore we believe that any self levelling damper system is likely to contravene 3.15** of the technical regulations.”
That second part sounds like it is directly aimed at Red Bull, at least if what its rivals are saying about its dampers is true.
Autosport also helpfully offers up the relevant regulations, and we’ll follow suit here so you don’t have to go searching:
Article 34.5: If a competitor modifies any part on the car or makes changes to the set up of the suspension whilst the car is being held under parc fermÃ© conditions the relevant driver must start the race from the pit lane and follow the procedures laid out in Article 38.2.
Article 3.15: Aerodynamic influence :
With the exception of the cover described in Article 6.5.2 (when used in the pit lane), the driver adjustable bodywork described in Article 3.18 and the ducts described in Article 11.4, any specific part of the car influencing its aerodynamic performance:
* must comply with the rules relating to bodywork
* must be rigidly secured to the entirely sprung part of the car (rigidly secured means not having any degree of freedom) ;
* must remain immobile in relation to the sprung part of the car.
Any device or construction that is designed to bridge the gap between the sprung part of the car and the ground is prohibited under all circumstances.
No part having an aerodynamic influence and no part of the bodywork, with the exception of the skid block in 3.13 above, may under any circumstances be located below the reference plane.
Among side mirrors, F-ducts and suspensions, we are having more action than we did over the double diffuser in 2009. We’ll just have to see where it goes from here.