So the FIA International Court of Appeal has ruled that the diffusers, as used by the diffuser trio Brawn GP, Toyota and Williams, is legal. Finally a decision that makes sense: the diffuser was cleared by the FIA on several occasions, and also ...
So the FIA International Court of Appeal has ruled that the diffusers, as used by the diffuser trio Brawn GP, Toyota and Williams, is legal. Finally a decision that makes sense: the diffuser was cleared by the FIA on several occasions, and also passed the scrutineering of the Australian and Malaysian Grand Prix. The details and motivation of this decision will be made public at the end of the week.
The opposing teams now have no other option than to come up with their own version of the double-decker diffuser, but don't worry, some teams (although they were sure the diffuser was illegal) have already shipped their new diffusers to China -- even before the FIA decision was made public.
Ross Brawn was aware of the loophole in the regulations, and early March 2008 he warned the other the teams they needed to fix this in the new 2009 regulations, but they didn't think it was necessary to change or tighten the regulations, something they now might regret. Of course Brawn, Toyota and Williams are delighted with the FIA decision, but we will probably see an avalanche of press releases from the other teams, and it is very likely they will question the decision of the FIA, saying the FIA is wrong, the technical regulations should have been more clear, and now they have to spend a lot of money to catch up with the diffuser clan.
A few of these reactions have already emerged: BMW-Sauber team principal Mario Theissen said that they will respect the FIA decision, and stated that the opposing seven teams now have to invest heavily in the modification of the car, and feels the diffuser will not help to solve the overtaking "problem".
Ferrari's team principal Stefano Domenicali: "We are waiting to hear the reasons the ICA rejected the appeal, unfortunately this decision forces us to intervene on fundamental areas of the car's design in order to be able to compete on an equal footing with some of the teams from a point of view of the technical regulations, and that will take time and money. We will now double our efforts to get the team back to the highest level of competitivity."
Red Bull Racing's team principal Christian Horner: "Obviously we're disappointed with today's announcement, but we accept it. This means we will now have to develop our own double diffuser solution, which will inevitably incur significant costs."
Ferrari didn't score one single point in the first two races of the year, McLaren did a little bit better, but lost 6 precious championship points in the still ongoing Hamilton-gate affair. Renault didn't impress either. Sofar these team have excused themselves by claiming the diffuser clan was the cause of their bad results, they used an illegal diffuser and therefore had an unfair advantage. They also exaggerated the time advantage of the double-decker diffuser, some claimed it was one second per lap, but 0.4 second per lap would probably be more realistic.
Teams like McLaren, Ferrari, Renault and Red Bull pay their designers many millions of dollars a year. They should ask themselves why their highly paid designers didn't come up with the idea of a double-decker diffuser in the first place. The designers of the diffuser clan, did come up with that idea.
And I should emphasize they did that independently of each other, I mention this because some people have suggested there is a conspiracy going on, that's of course rubbish. Ross Brawn didn't call Frank Williams on a Sunday afternoon and said to him: "Look Frank, we have this magic diffuser, I'll tell you how it works if you join us, and if you do, we can make Ferrari and McLaren look like silly asses, because with this magic diffuser they can't keep up with us and we will win all races this year. Max already gave us his blessing. What do you say Frank, are you in?".
But seriously, the FIA concluded the diffusers are legal, end of story, it is now time to stop talking about it and get things done. The opposing teams should start building a diffuser, and show us that it is really the diffuser that makes the difference as they so far have claimed, and if they don't do it or if they are not faster with the magic diffuser, they will indeed look very silly. I expect the other teams will catch up with the diffuser clan and hopefully will give us a good show for the rest of the season, but it will take some time.
And I think we will be surprised by how many magic diffusers will turn up in China this weekend...