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 drop.io.