Max Chilton believes an outlawing of FRIC suspension could hurt Mercedes the most

Briton pleased with how Marussia felt without system at Silverstone

By William Esler at Silverstone.   Last Updated: 10/07/14 8:42am

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Marussia driver Max Chilton believes an outlawing of front and rear interconnected (FRIC) suspension could hurt Mercedes more than any other team.

A leaked letter to the teams on Tuesday revealed that the FIA have decided that the systems are in breach of Article 3.15 of F1’s Technical Regulations as they could be considered moveable aerodynamic devices.

The governing body's directive overshadowed the final day of testing at Silverstone, and the Marussia driver told Sky Sports News: “I hear the Mercedes system is very complicated so it could affect them more.”

Chilton dedicated much of his test day at Silverstone to running without the FRIC system on the Marussia in case it is banned ahead of next week's German GP.

“We had new parts to take off because the FRIC system is under investigation and we thought we might as well try the car and see what we could do without it in case it goes that way,” the Briton later informed Sky Sports Online. 

“We did lots of different set up changes and I think we learnt a lot.”

The 23-year-old admitted he was worried about how the car’s balance would be affected by the change, but he was pleasantly surprised by how the MR03 handled without FRIC.

“It didn’t feel as bad as I thought,” he added. “It will depend on what circuit you are at. At Silverstone it didn’t seem to take a huge amount of balance away from the car and by the end of the day we kind of got it back to where it was so it was actually quite an encouraging sign.”

Whilst much of the talk around the change has centred on how much it will hurt performance, Chilton feels it could actually be a benefit on some tracks.

“It will have an effect, some circuits it will have others not so much. In simulation it can be anything from seven tenths to maybe a couple of tenths, so you won’t really know until you get to the circuit and try it out, but it has its gains by not running it as well,” he revealed. 

“It is mainly to do with the straight line speed and the type of corners because it moves depending on what speed you are doing to give you the optimum speed in a straight line, so I guess it will affect the higher speed circuits more than the slow speed. 

“It has its gains as the car is lighter without it and you can run higher, which isn’t best for the downforce, but it is better for kerbs so if there is a particular circuit where you want to run wide over kerbs then this is better.”

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