After months of speculation surrounding the legality of the diffusers affixed to the Brawn, Toyota and Williams cars, the FIA International Court of Appeal have now found them to be legal and within the rules. The news comes as a blow to the remaining seven teams who have not developed a ‘double-diffuser’ and undoubtedly they will now have to invest a fair amount of their budgets in redesigning the rear of their cars in order to improve their performance.
The diffusers mounted on the Brawn, Williams and Toyota cars came under scrutiny in Australia and three teams (Ferrari, Red Bull Racing and Renault) lodged a complaint with the stewards. The stewards in Melbourne judged the offending diffusers as legal and the trio then lodged an appeal. The same process occurred in Malaysia as a formality and the trio became a quartet as BMW joined the appeal, which was heard yesterday in Paris and deliberated yesterday evening and this morning.
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 26th 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. FIA ICA Statement.
With the diffusers now deemed legal, the other teams will almost certainly have to redevelop the rear of their cars to accommodate this part, the advantage gained from it is too great for the teams not to change. However, the rear of a Formula One car is very complex and Red Bull have already stated that fitting a ‘double-diffuser’ to the RB5 will be far from easy. According to the Milton Keynes team, the rear suspension is going to have to change which brings its own problems to whole area.
This means that the points gained by the three teams using the ‘double-diffuser’ will remain, and Jenson Button is still leading the the driver’s championship with Brawn heading the constructors. Toyota have also welcomed the decision as their TF109 car has so far looked to be a pretty good motor, powering Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock to a third place each in the first and only two rounds of the championship so far.
Brawn look set to continue their dominating pace for now, although Ferrari are said to be already implementing several new parts in Shanghai this weekend, and also at the Spanish Grand Prix at the beginning of May. The race now between the non-offending teams isn’t necessarily one of track position, but rather one of getting the rear end sorted.