HOCKENHEIM, July 17, 2014 (F1plus/Graham Keilloh).- After a surprise technical directive from Charlie Whiting following the British Grand Prix stating that in his view ‘FRIC’ suspension systems, used reportedly by all teams on the grid, are illegal, Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn hinted that the Swiss team may not change its suspension for the German Grand Prix running as it believes that its existing system is legal.
She also had some strong words to say about the matter of the sport’s technical governance more generally.
It had appeared to be the case that all teams would agree not to run such FRIC systems at Hockenheim so as not to risk a protest from a rival. But that consensus appeared to be challenged by Kaltenborn, as she suggested that the Sauber C33’s current system is within the regulations.
“We’ve not changed anything on that” said Kaltenborn today, “we were fine before we’ll be fine now and if some people feel they need to protest they should go ahead.”
Kaltenborn was coy on the matter of whether anything the car would change for this weekend. When asked whether the suspension system had changed since the last round at Silverstone she said “not that I’m aware of”, and when asked if that meant the suspension would still be the same during Hockenheim running she said, ”I never said that.”
Kaltenborn also suggested that she believes the Sauber’s current suspension system is within the rules as it has no aerodynamic influence; upon being asked to clarify if it had such an aero influence she replied “of course not as otherwise I’d be breaching the article (of the regulations).”
She added “I’m not going to take any risk on this – I have no need to (take a risk) as I am legal.”
Kaltenborn added that Sauber has a clarification from Charlie Whiting that its system is legal, but only from before the latest post-Silverstone technical directive: “we did that clarification before (the technical directive came out).”
When asked if this meant a team might protest the Saubers this weekend she said “Let’s find out, I don’t know.”
Kaltenborn also insisted that this was not being done as a result of the team seeking to benefit competitively: “I would not take such an unnecessary risk to think that just with this I can get now miraculously how many tenths of a second; that would be a bit foolish to do, or short-sighted.”
On the matter of other teams removing their own FRIC systems for the Hockenheim Kaltenborn said: “That’s a question for their risk assessments, I can’t judge that.”
Kaltenborn more generally had very harsh words to say on the sport’s technical governance as well as how her rival F1 teams operate within it. Kaltenborn cited a “lack of clarity and stability” on the matter, as well as that the sport was giving out the wrong image.