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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Diffusers legal

The FIA International Court of Appeal has declared the Brawn, Toyota and Williams diffusers to be legal, denying the protest of the BMW Sauber, Ferrari, Red Bull and Renault teams.

Press Release
International Court of Appeal - Decision
15/04/2009

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.

F1 Mar 2009


Following the ruling, the Brawn GP team released a statement saying it was obviously pleased with the decision:

“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.”

Toyota made a similar statement:

Chairman and Team Principal Tadashi Yamashina said: "I was confident the Court of Appeal would reach this verdict and I am satisfied with it. 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."

Ferrari and the rest of the protest crew were understandably disappointed, stressing the added cost of adapting their cars to make them competitive (development that certainly was not already taking place, right?)

“We are waiting to hear the reasons the ICA rejected the appeal,” said Ferrari's Stefano Domenicali, on the team Web site. “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. We will now double our efforts to get the team back to the highest level of competitivity.”

BMW Sauber's Dr. Mario Theissen echoed the cost complaint, but also pointed out the decision basically threw out all gains in the reduction of downforce and cornering speeds the new regulation were aimed at attaining.

"We will accept the decision of the International Court of Appeal. This ruling means we now have clarity regarding the application of the regulations. However, it does not achieve the reduction in downforce and cornering speed intended by the Overtaking Working Group when the new regulations were drawn up. At the same time, this decision means that seven teams will have to invest heavily in carrying out the necessary modifications to their cars."

In the end, this was a good decision for Formula 1, from the standpoint that more points were not thrown out, the field has been shaken up, and a poorly written reg was exposed for what it was. This sport is about innovation, and exploiting those advantages available to you.

Additionally, race stewards twice ruled the cars legal, and the FIA would have been hard pressed to go back on that.

Complaints about added development costs are moot, because that added investment does not begin today, the day of the ruling. It began weeks ago. If we do not see the fruits of the labors in China, we surely will by Bahrain.

The argument here never seemed to be about the letter of the rule, but the "spirit." Not necessarily the building blocks of a defensible position. The bits and pieces coming out of the often heated hearing yesterday, especially those of a personal nature, seem to expose the weakness in the protesting teams' case.

So now, it is done. Let's go racing. Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six

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