Red Bull will protest Brawn GP diffuser

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

Brawn GP face a protest threat at the Australian Grand Prix
Brawn GP face a protest threat at the Australian Grand Prix

Red Bull have confirmed they will protest against Brawn GP’s BGP001 if it is passed legal to race.

The cars will be scrutineered by the Australian Grand Prix stewards in Melbourne on Thursday.

Williams and Toyota’s diffuser designs have also been called into question. But Red Bull’s Helmut Marko focused his claim on Brawn’s diffuser which Marko claims makes the car half a second faster per lap:

It’s illegal: we’ll make a protest on Thursday if the component isn’t modified to conform to the regulations, because that diffuser guarantees a five-tenths-advantage per lap. Seven teams are certain it’s illegal.

Marko claims seven teams support the protest, which presumably include both the Red Bull-backed outfits.

As Toby Bushby pointed out in the comments here earlier today the FIA have failed to clarify the diffuser regulations and missed chances to prevent the row dragging into the first race of the year:

February 5th, Max Mosley: ??The current FIA view is that Williams and Toyota have been clever and have exploited the wording of the rules in a clever way??.?? and ????.The view of our technical people is that it is okay, we will wait and see if someone challenges it.??

March 18th, Amendment to technical regulations states: ??One of the purposes of the regulations under Article 3 below is to minimize the detrimental effect that the wake of a car may have on a following car.

Furthermore, infinite precision can be assumed on certain dimensions provided it is clear that such an assumption is not being made in order to circumvent or subvert the intention of the relevant regulation.??

March 21st, Max Mosley: ??And so probably what will happen is it will end up going to the stewards, who will make a decision. That will almost certainly be appealed by whichever side is disadvantaged. And then that will go to our Court of Appeal and be hammered out.??

And most importantly ??I have an open mind on it at the moment – I can see it going either way. I really can. But somebody has to make their mind up and fortunately it?s not my job.??

Although the FIA could have cleared up the regulations sooner they may have been caught out by the late debut of the Brawn GP car.

But it’s frustrating to see a new F1 season begin under fresh controversy that might have been avoided. Once again we have to think of the FIA’s radical budget caps proposal, which would involve F1 cars running to two different sets of technical regulations, and marvel at how the governing body thinks they could get two sets of rules right when they can’t handle one.

For more on this read John Beamer’s excellent piece on the new diffuser regulations and how different teams have interpreted them: F1 2009 Technology: Rear wings, diffusers – and the inevitable controversy.

You can also find the full 2009 technical regulations on the F1 Fanatic

82 comments on “Red Bull will protest Brawn GP diffuser”

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  1. hitchcockm00
    24th March 2009, 19:57

    As I said in the forum, this feels like another attempt to undermine FOTA by dividing the teams.

  2. It’s just sour grapes from Red Bull I’m afraid. The three teams in question have not broken any rules, Helmut Marko is merely jealous that his boffins didn’t think of it as well. Anyway, this issue has been up in the air for about six weeks, so as far as I’m concerned the FIA has missed its chance to rule against the diffusers – If there was a problem, they should have dealt with it ASAP.

  3. Not to open the conspiracy floodgates….

    But do you think it’s possible the FIA and Formula One may be allowing Brawn to run a questionable diffuser to help them achieve success and sponsorship and stay on the F1 grid?

    I don’t think it’s the case. Ultimately, this sounds like sour grapes from a team getting left in the dust.

  4. You gotta love Max “Pain in the @$$” Mosley.

    Well part of me thinks Red Bull should have just copied what the others were doing but yeah it has been completely avoidable which begs the question did the FIA really want to avoid it?

  5. Macademianut
    24th March 2009, 20:27

    Whoever is going to succeed Max has a heck a lot of things to undo and establish that they higher-ups indeed care for the sport; and not politics.

    Max has proved that he has absolutely no concern for the sport! I think it’s time for him to go.

  6. That diffuser must really work, Jenson Button is the favorite to win on bodog.

  7. Toby Thwaites 93
    24th March 2009, 20:36

    WELL DONE RED BULL, although you could follow it up and protest Toyota’s and Williams’ diffusers aswell.

    The thing i find funny is that Mclaren have just adopted this “illegal diffuser” idea to make up for the lost time on their crappy car, haha :)

    1. No, it’s still below the critical line I think. Just a different shape.

  8. theRoswellite
    24th March 2009, 20:43

    Keith: Can clear up the most probable scenario: (or add your own)

    1) Protest takes place at/after the pre-race check, and BGP can’t run with “the” diffuser.

    2) Race is run, protest takes place, BGP us disqualified, results don’t count.

    3) Race is run, protest takes place, BGP can’t run same set up in the next race. (with possible fine or points loss…but, not victory loss??????????)

    4) Other……

    Thanks, I haven’t heard anyone really spell out HOW a protest will take place and what the FIA options are.

  9. I hope not… I’ve already probably lost money backing Lewis Hamilton and McLaren at the TAB. Please don’t take the money I’ve put on Toyota and Brawn GP to get race wins as well :(

  10. Sush Meerkat
    24th March 2009, 21:02

    Funny that, andrian newey stated the diffusser was perfectly legal.

    1. where did you read that? i’d be interested in reading that interview, newey is smarter and knows more about it than redbull ‘management’

    2. Sush Meerkat
      25th March 2009, 8:13

      Q: What is your opinion about Toyota’s interpretation of the diffuser?

      AN: I haven’t seen any pictures that are detailed enough to know exactly how they’ve done it, but if what they’ve done is what I think they’ve done then that’s completely legal.

      Q: Because the spirit of the regulations…

      AN: There’s no such thing as the spirit of the regulations, luckily


  11. Toby Thwaites 93
    24th March 2009, 21:10

    Well seen as though it gives Brawn GP a half second advantage it should be illegal.
    Its just down to where the FIA will draw the line between illegal and legal
    Hopefully right under Brawn GP, Toyota and Williams, so that there is a more even grid
    I mean thats what this seasons about right?

    1. If something is worth half a seconds advantage that doesn’t automatically make it illegal, it is a competitive sport or so I’m led to believe. Some might even find it refreshing to see Toyota, Williams and Brawn fighting it out for the championship instead of Ferrari and McLaren.

    2. Toby Thwaites 93
      24th March 2009, 21:38

      Well read my comment below, the FIA need the rules to be clearer. BECAUSE every single team has interpreted the rules differently, and it WILL give teams like Brawn GP unfair advantages. Now they can either say its legal and other teams will follow suit or its illegal and Brawn GP/others will have to get rid of their diffuser

    3. So because something makes them faster you think it should be illegal? Think your logic’s gone awry there, mon ami.

    4. @ Toby Thwaites 93

      So if a team works hard to come up with a unique solution that makes their car in this sport where the idea is to build the fastest car then it gives them an unfair advantage?

      If it’s legal then it’s legal. The only unfair thing is that this whole row threatens to overshadow what should be a fantastic weekend of racing…

    5. My technical knowledge is very limited – I dont know whether or not the thing is illegal just by looking – I’m lucky if i even know what to be looking at – but to me the fact the three teams chose to go the same way suggests that it is possibly not illegal, just a different interpretation of the rules – although that is based on assumption.

      Also, i read another team or two is trying to copy the design – so does that not contradict the ‘seven teams are against it’ comment from Red Bull – if they were so sure it was illegal – other teams would not be copying no?

      If it gives the teams with it an advantage then great – its what it is all about, building the better car then your rivals – the fact that three of them have found something that gives them that much of an advatage should be commendable should it prove legal.

      I sincerely hope all three cars are legal – it would be nice to see them all doing well this year.

      Whichever way though i wish they would sort it out – you dont want a race where six people are taken out afterwards – should they all finish and in the points, you could have the guys placed down to fourteenth then scoring points. You could, theoretically, have someone from say fifth or sixth eventually taking the win – as if F1 needs anything else to make it look like a joke at the minute!

  12. eh? a development isn’t illegal because it gives advantage!

  13. Toby Thwaites 93
    24th March 2009, 21:33

    Tts not a development though, its just an abnormal diffuser that the rules should have clearly outlawed before this controversy started

    1. yep. Should have been outlawed when the toyota was released, not hailed (as described on the official website) as a clever interpretation of the rules.

      I’m all for innovation in F1, but these bits are clearly acting as part of the diffuser – it’s seems pretty clear IMHO.

  14. I was hoping to see a race to the chequered flag, not the court of appeal.

  15. If the rules were written better, this loophole would not have existed. But if scrutinnering recognises the car as legal – then the result should count.

    Fair enough that the other teams protest and get the rule changed, but whatever results the concerned teams get at Melbourne and probably Malaysia as well should stay valid.

  16. Toby Thwaites 93
    24th March 2009, 21:55

    Yeah the rules should of been written better, but Brawn GP is the main culprit and because they started testing late their car wasnt properly looked over, well thats what Bernie said.

    How exactly are Redbull and the 7 other teams going to protest if the diffusers are passed as legal?

  17. Two thoughts.
    The more strict, nailed-down and precise they write the rules, the more that creative engineers will try to circumvent them.
    And wouldn’t it be funny if Brawn turned up to scrutineering in Australia with a perfectly vanilla diffuser and still wiped the floor with everyone.

  18. Finding a little loophole or something like it is what F1 is and was about, got to love it!
    And if you can defend it you are allowed to use it untill it’s banned. That’s how F1 works!

    Or they say it’s legal, let’s copy it.
    Or they say it will become illegal from Barcelona, and the 3teams need to get it fixed by then.

    That are the only options I think.

  19. Toby Thwaites 93
    24th March 2009, 22:07

    haha yeah. I definatly think its more than the diffuser that makes the Brawn car so quick, i mean its one of the better looking 09 cars. HOWEVER i said that about the Mclaren and its absolutly rubbish :)

    1. haha yeah congrats too everyone who said the mclaren looks the quickest when they launched it. *claps*

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