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5 things to know before the German Grand Prix

Published on NewsOK Modified: July 17, 2014 at 5:09 am •  Published: July 17, 2014
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HOCKENHEIM, Germany (AP) — The 10th round of the Formula 1 season takes place at the Hockenheimring on Sunday. It's the 61st German Grand Prix, the 34th at Hockenheim. Ferrari has the most wins at 21 but finds itself third in the constructors' championship behind Red Bull and runaway leader Mercedes. Here are five things to know ahead of the weekend's practice sessions:

MID-SEASON GAME CHANGER?

The FIA's technical directive that FRIC (front and rear interconnected suspension) used on most cars might be illegal has thrown a spanner in the works for most teams ahead of the German Grand Prix.

The suspension systems, used to generate more underbody downforce for more control at speed and when braking, have been implemented to varying degrees by different teams, meaning some benefit from FRIC more than others.

The FIA indicated that it would tolerate its use for the rest of the season if all manufacturers agreed to a ban delay until 2015, but unanimous agreement was always likely to be a tall order.

McLaren, Red Bull, Force India and Caterham have indicated they won't be racing with FRIC at Hockenheim, while runaway championship leader Mercedes, Williams, Lotus and Marussia are reportedly eager to keep it.

They run the risk of docked points if they use FRIC and another team protests.

THE TRACK

Hockenheim was built in 1932, a 6.7-kilometer track on which Mercedes-Benz tested its road and racing cars. A stadium section was added after World War 2 and chicanes were added in 1968 following world champion Jim Clark's death in a Formula 2 race.

It became part of the Formula 1 calendar in 1970 and remained largely unchanged. It has hosted the German Grand Prix on a biennial basis since 2007, sharing with the Nurburgring.

The Hockenheimring was re-profiled after the 2001 Grand Prix - it's now 2.3 kilometers shorter at 4.574 kilometers (2.842 miles), the average speed is significantly lower and the asphalt is very smooth.

"The redesigned circuit could never be as mighty as the old Hockenheim but it's a fun little track and it's been purposely designed to encourage racing," said McLaren's Jenson Button, who finished second on his previous visit in 2012.

"It's a race that often throws up a surprise of two so I'm looking forward to the weekend."

Qualifying is important. Nobody has won from outside the top three since the track was re-profiled.

MERCEDES' INTERNAL RIVALRY

Mercedes' dominance means it is running away with the constructors' championship - after nine races the team leads with 326 points ahead of Red Bull on 168. Either Nico Rosberg or Lewis Hamilton have claimed victory in every race so far, with the exception of the Canadian Grand Prix, where Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo notched his maiden win.

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