The upcoming ruling by the FIA Court of Appeals could be more crucial to the World Championship than some suggest. According to Ferrari pilot Kimi Raikkonen the diffuser design currently deployed by Williams, Brawn GP and Toyota is such a significant advantage that it will decide the World Championship.
“The FIA’s Court of Appeal will decide about the diffuser and this decision will have an enormous impact on the championship,” Raikkonen said.
“We’re missing grip and downforce. You just need to analyse the performance in the three sectors at Sepang to understand that we’re losing a lot compared to the best cars. You could see it especially in the middle sector where downforce is really crucial.
“We need more downforce and we’re working very hard on it. We still don’t have any points after two races and this is a very difficult moment. We’ve seen other moments like this, but we know how to react and we’ll do it already at Shanghai.”
The jury is out for many pundits as Red Bull seems to be able to remain in the exhaust fumes of the Brawn GP cars but other better funded teams such as Ferrari and McLaren have struggled to even advance to Q3 on a race weekend. While Brawn GP have been quick to marginalize the advantage and have defended its design; other teams feel it is adding such a huge advantage that it is impossible to stay within reach of the three teams using the double-decker diffuser design.
Some have suggested that BMW, also a protesting team against the diffuser design, may show up in China with their version of the design. The Court of Appeal date is still a few days away and teams do not have the luxury of waiting any longer to know if it is legal or not. Teams such as Ferrari, BMW and McLaren have lost crucial points in the first two Grands Prix and are rumored to have been working on a double-decker diffuser of their own since the first race in Australia.
It is hard to discount the pace of Brawn GP, Williams and Toyota and these teams are not running the KERS program on their cars. Our hunch here at F1B is that the design will be deemed legal and the rush for exploitation of this area of the car will be on. Scraping for the last exploitable location of downforce is the chess match of F1.