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F1 Technique: 'Fric' system explained

‘Fric’ suspension systems are a major concern as we are just hours away from the technical inspection of the Formula 1 cars at the German Grand Prix.

‘Fric’ means Front-and-Rear Interconnected Suspension systems that have been around for several years. The system is designed to control the movement of the suspensions to increase the performance of the car and set faster lap times.

In other words, this hydraulics-operated technology links the front and rear suspension.

F1 Mercedes W05
On this photo, we clearly see the front end of the Mercedes W05 dives under braking while the rear end goes up in thre air. (Photo: René Fagnan)

When an F1 cars brakes, it generates up to 6Gs of force, resulting in a load transfer of about 300 kg from the rear to the front of the car. This makes the rear end of the car quite unstable under braking and on corner entry – a critical phase in a lap.

The other problem with this weight transfer from a performance point of view is the aerodynamic changes that take place when the car changes attitude.

This major weight transfer causes the front of the car to get closer to the ground and the rear to get further away and, with normal aero maps, this will increase front downforce and decrease rear downforce, adding to instability.

‘Fric’ systems use fluid to control the body movement during the braking phase, minimizing mass transfers. It results in increased overall aerodynamic grip and stability. In very simple words, it can be qualified as a sort of active suspension without a computer.

F1 Red Bull RB10
Look at the difference between the front and the end of the Red Bull RB10. (Photo: René Fagnan)