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FIA ICA Declare Brawn, Williams & Toyota Diffusers Legal

FIA ICA Declare Brawn, Williams & Toyota Diffusers Legal

After months of speculation surrounding the legality of the diffusers affixed to the Brawn, Toyota and Williams cars, the FIA International Court of Appeal have now found them to be legal and within the rules. The news comes as a blow to the remaining seven teams who have not developed a ‘double-diffuser’ and undoubtedly they will now have to invest a fair amount of their budgets in redesigning the rear of their cars in order to improve their performance.

The diffusers mounted on the Brawn, Williams and Toyota cars came under scrutiny in Australia and three teams (Ferrari, Red Bull Racing and Renault) lodged a complaint with the stewards. The stewards in Melbourne judged the offending diffusers as legal and the trio then lodged an appeal. The same process occurred in Malaysia as a formality and the trio became a quartet as BMW joined the appeal, which was heard yesterday in Paris and deliberated yesterday evening and this morning.

The FIA International Court of Appeal has decided to deny the appeals submitted against decisions numbered 16 to 24 taken by the Panel of the Stewards on 26th March at the 2009 Grand Prix of Australia and counting towards the 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Based on the arguments heard and evidence before it, the Court has concluded that the Stewards were correct to find that the cars in question comply with the applicable regulations. FIA ICA Statement.

With the diffusers now deemed legal, the other teams will almost certainly have to redevelop the rear of their cars to accommodate this part, the advantage gained from it is too great for the teams not to change. However, the rear of a Formula One car is very complex and Red Bull have already stated that fitting a ‘double-diffuser’ to the RB5 will be far from easy. According to the Milton Keynes team, the rear suspension is going to have to change which brings its own problems to whole area.

This means that the points gained by the three teams using the ‘double-diffuser’ will remain, and Jenson Button is still leading the the driver’s championship with Brawn heading the constructors. Toyota have also welcomed the decision as their TF109 car has so far looked to be a pretty good motor, powering Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock to a third place each in the first and only two rounds of the championship so far.

Brawn look set to continue their dominating pace for now, although Ferrari are said to be already implementing several new parts in Shanghai this weekend, and also at the Spanish Grand Prix at the beginning of May. The race now between the non-offending teams isn’t necessarily one of track position, but rather one of getting the rear end sorted.

Oliver White

7 comments

  • Well, the FIA would certainly have looked pretty stupid to “contradict” two sets of stewards

    I wouldn’t have been surprised if the FIA did do that! But then, the FIA can do very little these days that I would find genuinely surprising.

  • Back to racing!

    Hope those of you who believe the FIA always pleases Ferrari will have taken notice 😉

    But no doubt these will forget as quickly as they forgot the Kimi’s penalty in Monaco for this terrible thing: Wheels not ready 3mn before the start… What a fantastic advantage that situation would have given him… Fortunately enough he was punished with a well deserved drive-through!

  • So, since all the confusions about the diffusers are cleared today, it’s time to concentrate on racing again. There will be another race at the factories between seven teams that don’t have DDD and It will be interesting to see who will bring their new car first. But one thing which is obvious is when everybody has DDD and KERS, there will be no difference in overtaking to last year. Cars will have more downforce and corner speeds and all the regulation changes that have been made on behalf of overtaking will be wasted.

  • There isn’t yet a single shred of evidence that the DD diffusers actually make it harder to overtake; nobody has come close enough to overtake one yet.

    The rules do not mandate what the air flow behind the car has to be like; yet that is precisely what governs how easy it is to get close enough to overtake. As far as I understand, DD diffusers do not intrinsically produce more turbulence behind the car than single diffusers, each particular car leaves its own “aero wake” and this is quite a bit more complicated than just what kind of diffuser you are running.

    On the other hand, overtaking a KERS car in a non-KERS car is obviously much harder. Given that it looks likely that some cars will continue to be fitted with KERS while other won’t be that might just produce more problems for overtaking than the rear aero.

    Right now it’s the slower KERS runners blocking the faster DD diffuser runners..

    On balance, however, it is more the stewards that govern how much overtaking there is than the technical regulations. As long as you can expect protracted legal proceedings every time there is a crash during overtaking, there won’t be much of it.

    The Overtaking Working Group should just have said: “Let the guys race and treat crashes as racing incidents”.

  • It may have been stupid to have over-ruled two lots of scrutineers but with the Renault mass damper was passed by 20 plus sets of scrutineers and still got banned.

    The reason for the 3 minute time limit is safety not performance. It was introduced after an Arrows mechanic jumped the wall to re-start Ricardo Patrese’s engine. The cars left the grid while he was crouched behind the car and while most of them missed him he was hit by Sigfried Stohr in the other Arrows. Ferrari are not the first team to be caught out with it. Williams had a car up on jacks at Spa one year when they had to clear the grid. It is a good sensible safety rule.

    A lot of us predicted that the diffusers would be declared legal specifically to annoy Ferrari. Ferrari have stepped out of line with the FIA and Bernie so all their normal privileges have been withdrawn.

  • I am glad that sanity has prevailed (did I just say that?) But with the ban on in season testing, exactly how easy is it going to be to retrofit the cars with the difuser?

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