As mentioned, but not exclusively revealed, at F1B, Williams engineers have taken full advantage of the regulations for the 2009 car as set forth by our friends at the FIA. It seems Williams and partners Toyota have developed a diffuser that is unlike all other teams. A stacked diffuser which some teams feel violates the regulations while Sam Michael feels that it is an obvious design and well within the regulations.
Max Mosley weighed in on the issues a few weeks ago calling it a ‘clever’ design and left the door wide open yet again by suggesting that he sees no issue with it but race stewards might have a different opinion. This week in Barcelona the FIA’s Chief Gray-matter Officer Charlie Whiting inspected three teams cars; BMW, Toyota and Williams. One must conclude that Charlie was scrutinizing the diffuser again because it seems that our lovable and Cityspeak talker (yes, it is a Blade Runner reference so hold all hate email) Flavio Briatore has cried foul on the whole diffuser issue.:
“It’s not right that some diffusers are made in a certain way while others in a different way, because I don’t think it fair that everyone has his own rule book,” he was quoted as saying by Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Looks like there are two sets of regulations: the one that allows some teams to have the diffuser built in a certain way that is forbidden to others because it’s considered illegal. That’s not what we expect. We want black or white rules but equal to everyone.”
And as for a formal complaint?
“We’ll see, because at least three teams don’t respect the regulations,” said Briatore.
Now as much as I would normally take a large wooden, heavy nail-spiked club to a statement like this; I must say that Renault have been trenchant in their approach to the regulations; to a fault actually. last year the followed the ‘no new engine development’ regulation to the letter fo the law and got caught out by other teams making ‘reliability’ modifications approved by the FIA throughout the year. Well these ‘reliability’ modifications just also happened to improve performance and Renault found themselves unable to stay int he same postal code as the top teams during a race. When the issue came to light, Renault were allowed to make the improvements and quickly found their driver the most improved and highest points scoring driver on the grid in the second half of the season. Funny how that worked.
The plot thinnens! This years engine freeze regulations included verbiage about allowing Renault to still add more performance parts to the 2009 spec because they were still, presumably, low in power or performance. I am guessing that is the reason. the diffuser issue seems to have snowballed and I am not sure I can fault Flavio for wanting the other teams to not exploit the regulations by only considering the spirit of the law and not the letter of the law but then again, Flavio has to know that Max and the FIA exist for one reason…their ambiguity in designing their regulations have kept their head off the chopping block so many times it isn’t funny. They can vacillate any direction they choose to in any given season or race without the scrutiny of others as the ambiguity allows for one, maybe two major cock up’s before having to be held to a stringent ‘clarification’ as the FIA calls it.
I assume the FIA are still doing what they’ve done before; pull the wool over our eyes for a season or more. Flavio is asking for something that should have been done a long time ago. The FIA know these cars and the designers who design them. They could easily make the regulations more airtight and allow for creativity at the same time. However, I am amused that Flavio chose to call his three FOTA friends disrespectful of the regulations. But hey, it’s Flavor Flav and he’s always good for a smack down and clownin’ his peeps.
In the end game, is Flav right? Is he hinting at a discontent with other teams or the FIA. If it’s the latter, well perhaps FOTA can be of assistance.