Ferrari has enquired into the legality of its rivals' suspension technology by offering a similar version in a letter to FIA race director Charlie Whiting who has outlined it as illegal, sparking a row on the parts used on other teams.
In a letter from Ferrari's chief designer Simone Resta to Whiting, the Italian team explained its own suspension designs for 2017 to get around the banned FRIC (Front and Rear Inter-Connected) suspension systems that were outlawed in 2014.
Currently, both Red Bull and Mercedes use their own unique suspension systems to gain the most useful ride height and produce additional downforce while cornering, which is believed to have been a vital part in the development race between the top three teams.
The suspension details explained in Resta's letter were judged by Whiting to be illegal, and copied Ferrari's letter and his response to all F1 teams, which has sparked up the potential banning of similar systems applied to rival cars by the FIA race stewards.
“We are considering a family of suspension devices that we believe could offer a performance improvement through a response that is a more complex function of the load at the wheels than would be obtained through a simple combination of springs, dampers and inerters,” Resta wrote, as published on jamesallenonf1.com
. “In all cases they would be installed between some combination of the sprung part of the car and the two suspension rockers on a single axle.
“It would achieve an effect similar to that of a FRIC system without requiring any connection between the front and rear of the car.
“Their contribution to the primary purpose of the sprung suspension – the attachment of the wheels to the car in a manner which isolates the sprung part from road disturbances – is small, while their effect on ride height and hence aerodynamic performance is much larger, to the extent that we believe it could justify the additional weight and design.
“We would therefore question the legality of these systems under Art. 3.15 and its interpretation in TD/002-11, whether certain details are 'wholly incidental to the main purpose of the suspension system' or 'have been contrived to directly affect the aerodynamic performance of the car'.”
Get ready for the new season: 2017 F1 team and car launch dates
Whiting responded by asking for clarification on two key points to the proposed suspension system but clarified: “In our view any suspension system which was capable of altering the response of a cars' suspension system in the way you describe would be likely to contravene article 3.15 of the F1 technical regulations.”
This move by Ferrari is expected to put current suspension set-ups by rival teams under the spotlight and it is believed talks are set to begin with the FIA.
In 2017, F1 is preparing for a radical change in car designs due to an opening in aerodynamic regulations, while Pirelli is introducing wider and fatter tyres, in a bid to lower lap times.
Latest Tweets from Crash.net & GPF1rst