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Diffuser Protests

At the moment there is a row about the design of the diffusers on Brawn GP, Williams and Toyota’s cars. All of the other 7 teams think that their designs are illegal.

This kind of thing regularly happens at the start of a F1 season. Teams try to find hidden loopholes in order to extract more performance from their car. This is what the 3 teams in this case have gone. In 2006 we had the issue over flexi-wings which were banned. In 2007 the moving floor was banned.

The 3 teams involved in this diffuser row have been quite innovative. It could just be that the other teams are jealous that they didn’t discover the idea.

I think it’s Brawn GP that the protesting teams are most frightened of. Rumour has it their diffuser system gives them 0.5 seconds per lap. That is a huge chunk of time in Formula 1.

In scrutineering earlier these systems all passed.Red Bull, Ferrari and Renault have now lodged protests. Now the stewards decision is being awaited. However I think there is a very good chance that they will clear the systems and deem them legal too.

There is a chance that this could well end up going to the courts of arbitration (whatever verdict the stewards give). This certainly wouldn’t take place until after Malaysia. So we will have this “are they legal or not question” lasting for a few weeks yet.

The worse case scenario is the 3 teams involved losing race results (if the court of arbitration goes against the 3 teams). Hopefully it shouldn’t go that far. In the past when a car part has been made illegal, the guilty teams have to ensure that they have made the neccessary changes before the next race.

I think in particular Ferrari will be hoping that they win their case. Brawn GP are currently around 6 or 7 tenths quicker than them. You can imagine that Brawn GP losing 0.5 seconds of performance would make a huge difference to them. Other key rivals Toyota would also lose performance. You can being to see why Ferrari are so desperate for these systems to be banned. Winning races would then become easier.

It’s interesting to note that Mclaren weren’t one of the teams that were protesting. Obviously Brawn GP is a customer so they probably want to stay out of it. On the other hand Mclaren would surely not mind the likes of Brawn GP and Toyota taking points off Ferrari, whilst their own car isn’t quite up to scratch.

**UPDATE** Stewards have now declared that the diffusers on Brawn GP, Toyota and Williams are legal. Lets wait and see if the protesting teams take this to the court of arbitration.


March 26, 2009 - Posted by | News articles

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