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Rear diffusers declared legal - The FIA conclude the new designs are allowed to race

Published by Christine

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

The FIA International Court of Appeal met on Tuesday of this week to discuss the issues regarding the rear diffusers of the Brawn GP, Williams and Toyota cars. Since before the season started, the other teams have protested against these three designs, suggesting they are exploiting a loophole in the regulations that is not in the spirit of the rules. The stewards at both races have ruled in favour of the diffusers, so the matter had to go to the Court of Appeal.

Now, the FIA have ruled the diffusers legal, after deliberating the decision overnight.

The official FIA statement reads: "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."

It is a relief that the decision has now been made, and therefore the results of the previous two races no longer hang in the balance. All the points allocated so far remain as they are (pending any sanctions McLaren may pick up in their hearing later this month). Now it falls to the teams who do not have the diffuser to decide whether to build their own.

There is clearly a performance advantage to the device, although that won't explain the outright pace that Brawn GP have over their rivals. For some teams, it will be tricky. For example, Red Bull's suspension design has meant that incorporating the new diffuser would be very tricky. However, the Red Bull has shown some decent pace over the last few weeks, anyway, and may not feel it necessary to play catchup to the three teams with the now-legal diffuser.

It is only a matter of time before we see the new parts on the cars, though, with many teams suggesting they will have new diffusers ready in time for the Spanish Grand Prix, whilst some who were working on the design already could even bring them to this weekend's race in China.

It will be very interesting to see how much difference the diffuser actually makes to the cars, and whether the complaints of the other teams were founded or not.