Red Bull will protest Brawn GP diffuser

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: ?σΤιΌ?τThe current FIA view is that Williams and Toyota have been clever and have exploited the wording of the rules in a clever way?σΤιΌ?ͺ.?σΤιΌ?Ψ and ?σΤιΌ?τ?σΤιΌ?ͺ.The view of our technical people is that it is okay, we will wait and see if someone challenges it.?σΤιΌ?Ψ

March 18th, Amendment to technical regulations states: ?σΤιΌ?τOne 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.?σΤιΌ?Ψ

March 21st, Max Mosley: ?σΤιΌ?τAnd 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.?σΤιΌ?Ψ

And most importantly ?σΤιΌ?τI 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?σΤιΌΤδσs not my job.?σΤιΌ?Ψ

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.

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82 comments on Red Bull will protest Brawn GP diffuser

  1. Smitty said on 24th March 2009, 21:46

    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.

  2. Toby Thwaites 93 said on 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?

  3. Hounslow said on 24th March 2009, 22:03

    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.

  4. SoLiD said on 24th March 2009, 22:06

    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.

  5. Toby Thwaites 93 said on 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 :)

    • todd said on 25th March 2009, 2:18

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

  6. BNK Racing said on 24th March 2009, 22:11

    were any of the best lap test times set with the use of KERS? (ferrari, bmw etc). i mean if all the times for all teams were set with no use of KERS then once teams do use them in a race that 1/2 sec margin will be closed.

    • todd said on 25th March 2009, 2:18

      hard to know, but i did remember reading that massa’s ferrari was 8kmph faster over the start finish (on hot laps) than brawngp because of KERS.

  7. BNK Racing said on 24th March 2009, 22:15

    BTW….i would design Brawn’s livery for FREE! i would prefer to see anything (besides that ING garbage) on the grid march 29th! given their lack of sponsors is acceptable….but a black and creamy yellow stripe on an off white body? come onnnnnn! please donate to the Brawn livery fund so they can come up with something better

  8. Hallard said on 24th March 2009, 22:16

    Rules have to be written in black and white, clearly. Anything that falls within the letter of the rules should be allowed. Do people honestly think that the world’s best automotive engineers arent going to exploit grey areas? Applying a rule by its intent is totally subjective. The only “intent” that matters to an F1 competitor is the intent to win. Good on them for pushing the development envelope, I certainly wont complain if Toyota, Williams, or Brawn beat Ferrari (my favorite team actually) due to exploiting loopholes. All this controversy is ridiculous.

  9. all cars are illegal anyway,
    look at all those little spoilers in front of the side pods…all against the spirit of the new rules of cleaning up these cars in aid of overtaking…
    talking about cleaning up,
    has Max and co ever made a aerodynamic rule without loop holes?
    there should be a,no stupid bits rule!

  10. Oliver said on 24th March 2009, 22:27

    France has a law that says a motorcyclist must be with his helmet. What that means is, he may have it hanging on his wrist while driving or his back. The law doesn’t say it must be on his head.

    Loop holes have always existed in rules and laws. Its left for the rule writers to be explicit in their interpretation to prevent ambiguity.
    The cars cannot be found illegal until they have amended the rules.

    • Gman said on 24th March 2009, 22:41

      Never knew about the French helmet law- there was a flap for years about that here in Pennsylvania until it was changed a few years ago. Not exactly F1, but thanks for the insight :)

    • todd said on 25th March 2009, 2:15

      yeah but no one likes the french.

  11. Dr Jones said on 24th March 2009, 22:36

    Looks like everybody will be bringing another set of different diffusers after Thursday. ;)

  12. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 24th March 2009, 22:50

    Bernie Ecclestone’s been stirring things up even more. Here’s what he said to The Times:

    Can I put something in your mind. Ross Brawn is the guy that runs the teams’ technical committee and probably knows what’s going to happen before other people, or is in a position to guide things. There’s a massive conflict of interest.

    • Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 25th March 2009, 0:25

      Well, like him or not, Bernie is right – he may actually have a point there.

    • I love the:

      “Can I put something in you mind”

      “Yes Bernie what were you thinking of”

      “A poison enema filled with rancid rectal fluid”

      Ross Brawn isn’t the only team member in the Technical Working Group and I’m sure the so called “Ring Master” wasn’t complaining when he was appointed as it’s head. Strange that the official F1 web site’s main picture is of the BGP 001 and carries the headline 2009… A Year For Dark Horses. Funny that I could have sworn I just heard the sound of a cash register.

  13. Jay Menon said on 25th March 2009, 0:46

    I dont get this fracas. Like John Beamer stated in his article, the rules state how the diffuser must look from ground level, anything behind that, it not in the rule book. So if you’re a smart designer, its place to exploit, which they did of course.

    I think the rest of the teams are just bitter that they didn’t think about it. It’s not in the rule book, so how can it be illegal? I think the FIA should stand by their rule book. They should just lay the matter to rest and change the rules for next season or something. If they deem that the diffusers on these 3 teams are illegal, what are they going to do? There is no in-season testing, so how are they going to fit a re-designed part to part and get it to work well? Just put it together and hope it goes well?

    And what the heck to the stewards know? They’re probably the biggest pricks in the sport, in my experience, they’ve rarely made any good calls. I will be ****** if they deem the diffuser to be illegal in Melbourne…@#$%!

  14. todd said on 25th March 2009, 2:14

    the problem with the argument redbull is posing is that it gives them 5 tenths per lap.

    that’s really not an issue, that’s an advantage by intelligent design, anyone can have that advantage.

    the rules regarding the diffuser were in place for 2 reasons, A) to ensure the rear crash structure remains in tact and B) to allow car chasing to come close enough without losing down force to enable an overtaking maneuver. (correct me if i’m wrong please).

    IF their diffuser doesn’t disrupt the air any worse than another standard diffuser, than the time gained by their better design is a non issue.

  15. todd said on 25th March 2009, 2:24

    for anyone interested, there’s great photos of the RBR and BGP rear diffusers and forum topic over at f1technical

    http://www.f1technical.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6321&start=60

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