Jenson Button and Brawn GP claim victory in diffuser row
Jenson Button’s charge to world championship glory has been given a huge lift
after the FIA ruled that his car does not contravene the sport’s new
The FIA's International Court of Appeal concluded that the diffuser - an
aerodynamic feature at the back of cars used by Brawn GP, Williams and
Toyota - is legal, meaning the points won by Button in Australia and
Malaysia will stand.
"The FIA have decided to deny the appeals submitted against decisions numbered
16 to 24 taken by the Panel of the Stewards on March 26 at the Australian
Grand Prix and counting towards the 2009 FIA Formula One World Championship,"
a statement read.
"Based on the arguments heard and evidence before it, the court concluded
that the stewards were correct to find that the cars in question comply with
the applicable regulations.
"Full reasons for this decision will be provided in due course."
The diffuser channels air out of the back of the chassis of a Formula One car
and the more effective it is, the more downforce it produces in the rear
wheels, which in turn enhances speed and overall performance.
Brawn’s rivals believe that the diffuser on Button’s car is higher than the
new technical regulations permit and could be giving it a 14 per cent
increase in aerodynamic efficiency compared with conventional designs.
The device has helped Button win the opening two grands prix of the season in
Australia and Malaysia, and with Brawn GP heading the constructors' ahead of
Toyota. Although Ferrari, Renault, Red Bull and BMW Sauber argued fervently
against the design, the judges have sided with the FIA and the stewards who
had already determined the part was legal.
That has left Brawn GP, along with Toyota and Williams, free to race in this
weekend's Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai, and forced their seven rivals into
playing catch up.
Ross Brawn, the Brawn GP team principal, is keen to move on from the row.
"We are pleased with the decision reached by the International Court of
Appeal today," he said. "We respect the right of our competitors
to query any design or concept used on our cars through the channels
available to them.
"The FIA technical department, the stewards at the Australian and
Malaysian Grands Prix and now five judges at the International Court of
Appeal have confirmed our belief that our cars have always strictly complied
with the 2009 technical regulations.
"The decision of the International Court of Appeal brings this matter to
a conclusion and we look forward to continuing on the track the challenge of
what has been a very exciting start to the 2009 FIA Formula One World
A Toyota statement read: "As we have maintained throughout, our team
studied the wording of the new 2009 regulations in precise detail to ensure
we interpreted them correctly.
"We also made full use of the consultation procedure with the FIA which
was a helpful process to ensure our interpretation of the technical
regulations was correct.
"Therefore we had every confidence that the design of our car would be
confirmed as legal, firstly by race stewards in Australia and Malaysia and
subsequently by the Court of Appeal."
Tadashi Yamashina, the chairman and team principal, added: "I was
confident the Court of Appeal would reach this verdict and I am satisfied
"This has been a challenging period for Formula One and I am pleased this
issue is now in the past and we can focus on an exciting season on the track."
The diffuser is a carbon-fibre structure that runs across the back of the rear
suspension just above the ground that channels air from underneath the car
away from the back of the chassis. As the air flows through it, the diffuser
creates downforce that translates into speed.
The new technical rules, which are designed to simplify the aerodynamic shape
of the cars, reduce downforce and increase overtaking, have specified a
smaller diffuser in a more rearward position. Teams have been working hard
to regain as much of the lost downforce as possible.
One of the critical elements in making a diffuser work is internal volume and
the new regulations limit it by width, length and height