• Apr 14, 2009
Formula 1 so far this year has probably provided a lot more excitement than anyone expected, and in a change from the usual, this time a lot of it is good. The two races so far have seen a heap of on-track passing – and not just of backmarkers – as well as an inversion of the standings: McLaren and Ferrari near at the bottom, Brawn (née Honda) and Toyota are at the top.

Much of that has been credited to the diffusers that the Brawn (above) and Toyota teams are using, which, along with the Williams diffuser, have been challenged as illegal by the other teams. Today, the FIA Court of Appeal will hear arguments for and against the diffuser design and a decision is due Wednesday. It is being reported already by The Daily Mail, however, that the court of appeal will declare the diffusers legal, not wanting to contradict the FIA stewards in Australia and Malaysia, as well as the FIA race director Charlie Whiting.

Ross Brawn has been called out specifically by both Bernie Ecclestone and Renault's Flavio Briatore because he is the technical representative for the Formula One Teams Alliance. Both accused him in a roundabout way of using the rules to his advantage from his privileged position and leaving the others in the dust. In reply, Brawn said "I did explain that I felt we should have a different set of rules to simplify what needed to be done. I offered them, and they were rejected. We needed to clean the rules up, but nobody was interested. They're interested now."

[Source: The Daily Mail]


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  • 17 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yeah Ross Brawn's a king among men.

      • 5 Years Ago
      While I don't think the FIA has the balls to take away Brawn GP's (deserved IMO) success, the only thorn in Brawn's side will be the fact that Renault sought to use a similar diffuser and when they questioned the FIA about the legality of such a part, they were told flat out that it was illegal. Personally, I'm all for the shakeup Brawn is causing, and I do hope the diffusers get ruled as legal because any other outcome will just further alienate fans & be bad for the sport... and this is from a McLaren fan. But it's in instances like these you realize just how disjointed the FIA is when it comes to matters of rules and opinions. One set of stewards/officials say something is legal and then another set turn right around and ban it, and vice versa, and the fact that races were allowed to be run before clarifying critical issues. Things like these should not be allowed to happen in the first place.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ Tom:

        That Renault's diffuser was deemed illegal & Brawn, Toyota & Wiliiams' weren't doesn't mean that Renault's was illegal by default. Different officials gave different rulings, and that's exactly the problem that there is with the FIA today. It wasn't that everybody else was dumb & didn't think of doing it. It's no coincidence that Brawn, Toyota and Williams were the only teams that did not field a member for the Overtaking Working Group meeting where the teams agreed the design wasn't legal. They are the only ones who thought running this diffuser was within the rules: the other teams debated the issue and concluded that it was outside the scope of what was allowed.
        This is why I'm trying to enforce the point that the rules need to be clearer. I already said I'm quite pleased with Brawn GP's success, but the state of affairs when it comes to the rules and their interpretation is ridiculous. It's the same thing every time, just different versions: last year with the McLaren issue at Spa, they asked Charlie Whiting if the move on Kimi was legal, he said yes, and then Lewis was stripped of his win. What's the point of a race director if he can't clarify a race incident? It happened again in Malaysia this year: McLaren again tried to find out if Lewis passing Trulli was legal but got no response from race control. Of course they managed to f*ck it all up by themselves in the end, but if they had gotten clarification when they needed it, Dave Ryan & company wouldn't have felt the need to be dishonest (as stupid as that was).
        Rules are supposed to be clear. They're the ones touting the need for reduced costs & all that, but all the teams on the grid except for the "diffuser three" will be forced to carry out costly upgrades... in some cases re-engineering the entire rear suspension, just to remain competitive. That cannot be a good thing for the sport. It's refreshing that someone else is winning rather than the usual suspects (McLaren, Ferrari) but a monopoly on race wins is boring no matter who it is that does the winning.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "the only thorn in Brawn's side will be the fact that Renault sought to use a similar diffuser and when they questioned the FIA about the legality of such a part, they were told flat out that it was illegal."

        That means nothing. Renault's diffuser may have been similar, but obviously it had something that stood out as illegal that the Brawn, Williams, and Toyota diffusers do not have. If there is some ambiguity to the rules that leaves room for different interpretations, as the article states, Brawn himself said it best,

        "Brawn said "I did explain that I felt we should have a different set of rules to simplify what needed to be done. I offered them, and they were rejected. We needed to clean the rules up, but nobody was interested. They're interested now."

        I love seeing Brawn and Button winning. And I love seeing the greater level of competition this season.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Definitely agree with Franz...

        The F1 needs to get it together in regard to who's in charge of what. As it stands, race stewards already have way too much authority and dish out stupid penalties willy-nilly. Ultimately, there has to be one person or group who oversea all race incidents and can reverse/reinforce rulings by the stewards.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Tom is completely right of course, but Franz you do make a good point about rules being clear. Sporting rules need to be absolutely clear and consistent, but the vagueness of the technical rules IMHO lead to innovation, and it is something F1 has always excelled at.
      • 5 Years Ago
      New rules, new season, a new kind of awesome. I still think the cars look a bit ugly...
      • 5 Years Ago
      I am stunned to learn anyone in F1 would use his (privileged) position to take advantage of a situation for the purpose of putting his opponents at a disadvantage. All this time I thought F1 has been using the Boy Scout handbook as their souce of inspiration and co-operation. There is something new to be learned each and every day.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If Brawn and Button win both championships it will become my life goal to put an AMG V8 in the back of a white NSX.


      Matching diffuser of course.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Hells yes that would be a sight to see.

        I commend Brawn for his comments because the FIA definately over-regulates F1. It needs to be simplified but what I see is this.

        Why not give Everyone who doesn't have the diffuser....the freakin Diffuser. It's clear that everyone who doesn't have the diffuser are almost risking their lives at a higher margin with the rear end willing to go at a moments notice. They need that rear downforce.

        Jesus now I'm just thinking they should just put slicks on the '09 and left everything the freakin same.
        • 5 Years Ago
        And another objection to that is that it will turn it a bit more to the "stock car racing" category. BAAAAD
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ Jsams4131

        It so simple as just changing the diffuser... it forms part of the rear suspension and other things apparently. Not a quick fix that other teams can change quickly...
      • 5 Years Ago
      If the ruling is as expected, expect Ferrari to start whining about the $20M they claim they will need to redesign their cars to take advantage of the now legal diffuser.
      • 5 Years Ago
      @Franz

      I couldn't agree more. I've been following F1 and other series controlled by the FIA since 1961 and can't count the number of times the FIA has made a mess of things by failing to clarify rules, by making up new ones in season when they wanted to take away an advantage someone had or, as in these times, constantly making new rules; qualifying, aero packages, tires, KERS, points etc. or having wildly different interpretations of the racing rules and the penalties for breaking them from one race to another in the same season, fining some teams for breaking them, and taking wins away from from others.

      My deepest hope is that FOTA goes it's own way after the current contract expires and either forces Max and Bernie out, or leaves them to run the spec series they really want and hand out all the gold medals they can carry.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I wish racing series would allow for more innovation like this, and not stop it when the losers who didn't come up with the idea complain. Some people think that racing should only be about the drivers (and to some extent the pit crews), with all the cars being equal. I would rather see manufacturers and creativity in teams get rewarded too. Put rules on engine size, car weight, etc. etc., but let more teams figure out the best way to win. If their competitors don't like it, then they should go back to the drawing board and come up with a better engine, aerodynamics, brakes, suspension, etc. No offense, but seeing identical cars race is kind of boring to me. Once in a while it's nice, but not in every race and not in every series.
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