FIA: Double diffuser is legal

The FIA International Court of Appeal released their decision today deeming the controversial Double-decker Diffuser used by Williams, Toyota and Brawn GP as legal. This support the Stewards decision as porclaimed at the season opening Australian Grand Prix. The FIA statement said:

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 26 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.

Full reasons for this decision will be provided in due course.

No surprise to F1B as we felt the decision would be upheld because the results that have come from the teams that use the device so far this year are desirable to the FIA’s overall plan of shaking up the series through regulation changes and allowing fo other teams to become more competitive. What remains to be seen is the effect this decision will have on F1 as the teams currently not using the device deploy their version of it in the weeks to come.

Ferrari said:

“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,” said Domenicali.

“We will now double our efforts to get the team back to the highest level of competitivity.”

While the teams without the device are understandbly disenchanted with the decision, Brawn GP and Toyota are delighted to have their results from the first two races stand and feel the decision is correct. Team Principle Ross Brawn said:

“We are pleased with the decision reached by the International Court of Appeal today,” said Brawn. “We respect the right of our competitors to query any design or concept used on our cars through the channels available to them.

“The FIA Technical Department, the Stewards at the Australian and Malaysian Grands Prix and now five judges at the International Court of Appeal have confirmed our belief that our cars have always strictly complied with the 2009 Technical Regulations.

“The decision of the International Court of Appeal brings this matter to its conclusion and we look forward to continuing on the track the challenge of what has been a very exciting start to the 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship.”

And Toyota’s Tadashi Yamashina says:

“I was confident the Court of Appeal would reach this verdict and I am satisfied with it,” he said. “It is important to stress we studied the technical regulations in precise detail, consulting the FIA in our process, and never doubted our car complied with them.

“This has been a challenging period for Formula 1 and I am pleased this issue is now in the past and we can focus on an exciting season on the track.”

In the end I was confident it would be deemed legal. Max Mosley, FIA President, wanted a shake up from normal proceedings in F1 which usually centered around Ferrari and MCLaren battling for top honors. He wants the teams to operate on a much smaller budget as well and the regulations have allowed for Brawn GP to win the first two races, unseating Ferrari and MCLaren as the dominant forces in F1, and set a good example of a lower budget team still producing competitive racing. Unfortunately that is a misnomer as the Braw GP car was developed using Honda’s enormous resources during 2008. Williams would be the only litmus test on how a team can be competitive without the large budget of the top teams and while they have the diffuser design, they are not on par with Brawn GP or Toyota.

All eyes are now on BMW, Renault, McLaren, Ferrari and Red Bull to see what will become of their re-designs and if the diffuser will immediately launch them to the front of the field.

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