Friday, 18 July 2014 | MYT 3:37 AM

Mercedes unfazed by suspension rule change

HOCKENHEIM Germany (Reuters) - Mercedes are unlikely to suffer any significant setback from a decision to ban a suspension system from this weekend's German Grand Prix, according to their title contender Lewis Hamilton.

"I don't think much at all," the Briton told reporters at Hockenheim when asked about the possible impact on his dominant team of the removal of the front and rear interconnected suspension (FRIC) system.

"We may lose some time this weekend but if everyone is taking it off then everyone will lose the same pretty much. I don't think the order should generally change much," added the 2008 champion.

Formula One technical delegate Jo Bauer said after scrutineering on Thursday that he could confirm "no car is fitted with a front to rear linked suspension system of any sort."

The teams did so out of concern that they could otherwise be challenged by rivals and subsequently disqualified in Sunday's race.

The systems, which stabilise the car through corners, have been in use for several years but the governing FIA believes they have now been developed to the point where they are an aerodynamic aid and contravene the rules.

Teams were given the option of using them for the rest of the year, before a ban starting in 2015, but that required unanimous agreement which proved impossible to reach.

Nico Rosberg, Hamilton's team mate who leads the championship by four points, felt there would be some effect but it was too early to say what it might be.

Rivals agreed but still hoped the change could narrow the gap between them and Mercedes.

"I hope it brings the field closer to Mercedes but it's difficult to say," declared Red Bull's quadruple champion Sebastian Vettel, last year's winner in Germany but without a victory so far in 2014.

"All of the teams have been playing with it to some extent. How much it has an impact? I think it has to be seen this weekend and also probably next week in Hungary. After those two races, I think you can have another judgement."

Sauber principal Monisha Kaltenborn questioned whether it was correct to change the rules midway through the season, however.

"It just another point where we have a very unnecessary discussion right in the middle of the season," she told reporters. "It doesn't create a good image for Formula One."

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)


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