Just landed in Melbourne and I see that Red Bull has confirmed that it will protest the diffuser on the Brawn car, which it believes is worth half a second per lap.
Seven teams believe that the interpretations of Williams, Toyota and Brawn are outside the rules. It’s one of those classic F1 moments you often get with a rule change, where someone spots a loophole, gets a performance advantage from it and the others cry foul. You can bet that if they had thought of it they would have gone for it, because that’s the nature of the beast.
Red Bull’s technical chief, Adrian Newey, used to be the king of the new rules loophole, I remember when they brought in high cockpit sides after Karl Wendlinger’s accident Newey had a brilliant solution to that on the Williams.
The quotes are quite strong on this from Flavio Briatore said
“It looks like there are two sets of regulations: the one that allows some teams to have the diffuser built in a certain way that is forbidden to others because it’s considered illegal,”
“It’s illegal,” agreed Red Bull’s Helmut Marko.. “We’ll make a protest [Thursday] if the component isn’t modified to conform to the regulations, because that diffuser guarantees a five-tenths [of a second] advantage per lap. Seven teams are certain it’s illegal.”
Ross Brawn is such a consummate organiser, I imagine he has a plan B in case the diffuser is thrown out. How much that might damage their lap times will be interesting. I reckon they had a good second over the midfield and maybe six or seven tenths over the Ferrari/BMW/Toyota battle.
FIA president Max Mosley gave an enigmatic response,
“It’s a very clever device and you can make a good case for saying it’s legal and a very good case for saying that it’s illegal,” he said.
It’s the steward’s call, here in Melbourne. As last year they are headed by the FIA’s Alan Donnelly.