In the world of Formula 1, there’s no such thing as a small aerodynamic advantage. In a series where qualifying times can be separated by mere hundredths of a second, any performance gain is significant, particularly for non-dominant teams.

That’s one reason why Lotus was optimistic over its reactive suspension system, which uses brake torque to adjust the ride height. As anything that lowers front ride height can yield substantial benefits in lap times, Lotus saw its system as contributing to the competitiveness of its upcoming 2012 F1 chassis.

Now comes word from ESPN F1 that the FIA has banned reactive ride height systems, which were also under development at Williams and under consideration at Ferrari. Ferrari considered the devices legal, as they activated by braking torque and not directly by the driver.

How much of an impact this will have on Lotus for the 2012 season remains to be seen. Lotus is set to debut its 2012 F1 car on February 5, in conjunction with the launch of the team’s new website.

Kimi Raikkonen, back from a two-year vacation in WRC competition, will take the first laps in pre-season shakedown testing for Lotus before turning the car over to his teammate, Romain Grosjean.