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Rear diffusers cause issues - The FIA look closer at new designs on 2009 F1 cars

Published by Christine

This article was originally written for BellaOnline, but is republished here for posterity.

As soon as the Williams and Toyota cars were launched, it was obvious that they had taken the regulations and interpreted them in a different way to the majority of the rest of the field. When the Brawn GP car was released into the wild, it was one of the most extreme examples.

Max Mosley held a lunch for journalists and when questioned over the differences, he said it was just a case of some teams being particularly clever with the wording of the rules. The issue seemed to die down until the Brawn car was launched and rocketed to the top of the testing timesheets.

Now, with the first race of the season rapidly approaching, the problem is escalating. Red Bull have threatened to protest against Brawn in Australia, as they believe the rear diffuser could mean a difference of half a second out on track.

The stewards will look over the cars before the racing gets underway, in scrutineering, and seven of the teams are determined to launch protests if their three rivals are passed as legal to race. Within the paddock, it looks like the general feeling is not that it is a protest against any one team in particular, but merely the only way of getting clarification from the FIA over the regulations.

There are two big repercussions to any protests that do occur. Firstly, it will overshadow the start of the season, and whatever results happen in Australia will not be valid until this issue is sorted. It could take months to be resolved, and it will certainly not make watching the races particularly fun. Secondly, it is the first roadblock that FOTA have stumbled across. The teams association have pulled together recently to rally against the FIA, but this could be something that starts to crack their determined alliance.

For now, we will have to keep our eyes and ears open, and see what happens in Australia. The three teams in question, Brawn, Williams and Toyota, have not made a contingency plan for if their device is ruled illegal, so if they do not pass scrutineering, we will be three teams down. If they do pass the test, it could be even worse, though.