Williams makes point with protest

Williams' protest was a reaction to the diffuser appeal

Williams' protest was a reaction to the diffuser appeal

Williams has withdrawn a protest against Ferrari and Red Bull Racing “in the interests of the sport”.

It had protested that the pod wings on the front of the F60 and RB5 contravened the rules. After cancelling the protest it issued a statement saying (emphasis added):

The AT&T Williams team confirmed that following today?s qualifying session, it submitted protests against two competitor teams under the 2009 Technical Regulations.

After further detailed consideration, Williams has withdrawn both protests in the interests of
the sport.

Williams recognises the possibility that in this area there could be more than one interpretation of the rules and therefore does not feel it appropriate to continue with the protests.

Williams, along with Toyota and Brawn GP, are subject to an appeal brought by Ferrari, Red Bull and Renault about the legality of its diffusers.

It looks as though Williams’ protest was the team’s way of making a point: that its diffusers are no less legal than Ferrari or Red Bull’s pod wings.

I have every sympathy with Williams’ argument. There are always going to be disputes about designs that stick to the letter of the rules but contravene the ‘spirit’ of the regulations, whatever that is.

But perhaps not everyone agrees with how they made their point. Autosport’s Jonathan Noble noted in his news story (emphasis added):

Despite hours of deliberation by the Australian Grand Prix race stewards following Williams’ complaints, and media and other officials being forced to remain at work in the paddock until the matter was resolved, the Grove-based outfit chose to call a halt to its complaints shortly before midnight.

Still, I hope the diffuser appeal gets thrown out. Or, better yet, the three teams see sense and withdraw the diffuser protest. But seeing what Renault’s Flavio Briatore has to say about it, it seems unlikely:

The interpretation of the regulations was very clear in the past – the cars need less downforce for safety reasons. Correct? Every time we build a new car it was to be two to three seconds slower than the previous car. Correct? That was always the intention of the [FIA] What happened here is that the three teams are going pretty clearly in the direction of downforce. And as we all knew that we will run on slick tyres from ’09 on, it was the intention of FIA president Max Mosley and the Federation to impose new rules to reduce downforce.

He says that now, but you can be sure if the FIA rules the diffusers legal at the appeal meeting on April 14th, Renault will have one on their R29 as soon as they possibly can.

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32 comments on Williams makes point with protest

  1. Oliver said on 28th March 2009, 22:41

    Done with absolute class.

  2. Cameron said on 28th March 2009, 23:09

    I would much rather see the rest of the grid develop their own similar diffusers, than see BrawnGP, Toyota, and Williams forced to take them off.

    This whole protest is just stupid. The FIA had better throw it out the window.

  3. Paige said on 29th March 2009, 2:24

    Briatore should croak. If he had his way, F1 would be a fashion show.

  4. Deem the double decker diffuser as legal.

    And add an extra testing window of 3-4 days sometime before the European leg starts. Everybody will copy it; and the play field will be even.

    Its a simple solution. Please don’t change the results of the Australian GP 3 weeks after it is over.

    • MacademiaNut said on 29th March 2009, 4:21

      I agree. I would like to have one year of Racing where the stewards or the court doesn’t decide the winner. Let’s decide the WDC & WCC on the track pls!

  5. MacademiaNut said on 29th March 2009, 4:18

    The three teams were not represented in *some* meeting when the rules were discussed (read it somewhere, will try to dig up the link) — Toyota, Honda (Brawn), and Williams.

    So, Flavio could be correct that the intent of the rule is to reduce the downforce. But, the problem is that the rule does not say “the downforce should be lower than last year”, it says that this is how the structure should be (which we are sure will lead to a lower downforce). But, it turns out that’s not the case.

    Ferrari, of all teams, should not be complaining about these “interpretations”. When clearly all movable parts were not allowed, their side pods were moving say to much last year. This year, the side mirrors have the same issue.

    I think Williams made a great point here.

  6. Achilles said on 29th March 2009, 15:22

    Flavio has more faces than an 8 sided clock, he is just mad that his guys did’nt come up with the same ideas, if(or when) Renault pull out of F1 the only way he will go up in my estimation is if he dips in his pockets and OWNS a team rather than running one, then we’ll see if he has the kind of cojones that Braun has shown….

  7. DGR-F1 said on 30th March 2009, 8:40

    So I take it that in the interests of ‘the show’ and entertainment value (ie dollars), Max and the FIA would prefer to see cars on slick tyres and less downforce, therefore less drivable and more unstable, as both the Ferraris and McLarens were this weekend, than cars which are stable and have more downforce as the Brawns, Toyotas and Williams were.
    This is crazy. Even from a safety aspect a stabler car is better than an undrivable one!

  8. Sasquatsch said on 30th March 2009, 9:31

    Everybody seems to be forgetting that Williams diffuser was declared legal by the FIA more than a year ago, according to Sam Michaels.

    And if that is the case it would seem strange that the FIA would now declare the diffuser illegal, just because some teams think that it is against the spirit of the rules. If that was the case the FIA would not have allowed the diffuser a year ago, I would think.

    Or am I a bit naive in my thinking here? :)

  9. Zej said on 31st March 2009, 1:29

    Has anyone actually seen the offending diffuser?

    Everyone is talking about it, but there have been no actual pictures of graphics of the offending diffuser.

    Has anyone seen it?

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