Motor Racing: Active suspension ban: Fisa limits technology

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The Independent Online
FORMULA ONE'S governing body, Fisa, reaffirmed yesterday its decision to ban active suspension and traction control, and indicated its intention to enforce the ruling from next month's Hungarian Grand Prix.

The tedious saga over regulations lurched through another episode when Fisa's world council, meeting in Paris, accepted an edict first issued at the Canadian Grand Prix last month, which stated that all but the Lola BMS-Ferrari cars were illegal. The teams involved were reprimanded.

Although the ruling takes immediate effect, teams have the right of appeal, which will buy them time to compete in Germany, on Sunday week, but what happens after that remains to be seen. Many teams, including Williams, the championship leaders, say their cars are built specifically to incorporate active suspension and that they require several weeks or even months to produce cars to the new requirements. Traction control can simply be switched off.

Fisa also announced anti-lock brakes contravened the ruling on 'driver aids', although semi-automatic gearboxes would be permitted.

Behind all the squabbling is a confrontation between Fisa and the two most successful teams of the past decade, Williams and McLaren. Most teams support moves to reduce costs and are prepared to make the changes from next season.

Williams and McLaren, however, resisted new regulations for 1994 and Fisa's president, Max Mosley, decided to wield the big stick. He also admitted he was acting in response to threats of legal proceedings from some quarters. It is reasonable to assume Williams will again be consulting their lawyers if their participation in Budapest is genuinely in jeopardy.

Fisa said: 'From now on, and subject to any appeal, regulations will be rigorously enforced and cars which do not comply will not be allowed to take part in an event.'

Williams can expect to come under more pressure today when the world council considers allegations of fuel irregularities. Williams are again one of the teams in the dock and could lose points.