Mercedes 'still fast' even without Fric

Even with no car running the technology at Hockenheim, 'Fric' was the buzzword at the scene of the German grand prix.

Some see the end of the 'front and rear interconnected' suspension systems as a chance for dominant Mercedes' rivals to close the gap.

Indeed, Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo looked closer than ever to the pace on Friday.

"It seems to be one of the smallest gaps in a while," the Australian is quoted by Spain's Marca sports newspaper.

But at the end of the day, complex suspension is not the only secret to the silver team's success, as confirmed by Ferrari's Fernando Alonso.

"A Marussia is not going to be on pole," he smiled. "That's for sure."

Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg agreed: "It seems that we are still fast, which is the most important thing."

The Brackley based team is undoubtedly unhappy, however, that what is effectively a mid-season 'ban' has fallen on a crucial piece of its 2014 package.

But Ferrari technical director James Allison made clear he supports the removal of Fric.

The Maranello based team is fighting hard to convince Fernando Alonso to stick with Ferrari rather than look around for a new team.

It is rumoured at Hockenheim that, last week, the Spaniard was shown the plan for a major improvement in 2015, including a bigger turbo unit for the underpowered V6 engine.

"Kimi (Raikkonen) is quite new to our team," said Allison, "Fernando has had some years with Ferrari but has not yet achieved the goals he wanted.

"I hope the presentation I put his way impressed him, but you should ask him that!" he added.

(GMM)

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