Daily Archives: January 7, 2010

Double-decker diffusers to be banned by 2011?

Williams' double-decker diffuser

Williams' double-decker diffuser

Formula 1 teams are reportedly negotiating a rule that would see the infamous double-decker diffusers banned from the 2011 season onwards.

According to Autosport, the FOTA Technical Regulations Working Group (TRWG) met late last year, and agreed that rules should be changed to outlaw the revolutionary diffuser.

For those of you that don’t know, originally Formula 1 cars ran one diffuser at the back under the car. This channelled the air under the car, to generate a large amount of downforce and rear grip. For the 2009 F1 season, the diffuser was made much smaller, to reduce downforce levels. However, a loophole was found by Brawn, Williams and Toyota. The loophole was that slots could be made in the underside of the car, which would force a large amount of air into a much larger diffuser on top.

This generated a huge amount of contreversy in Melbourne, where, after many complaints from other teams, the FIA eventually found the DD diffusers to be legal. The other teams were forced to play catch-up as the season progressed. These diffusers have got more and more complicated, and are generating much more downforce than the 2009 technical rules were expecting.

It is expected that, with the outlawing of DD diffusers, the cars will be slowed down by up to 1 second per lap.

This means that, if the diffusers are outlawed, major changes will have to be made to the back of the cars, including the gearbox and rear suspension. Several teams have already voiced their concerns at the cost of this redesign.

Briatore continuing legal cases

Flavio Briatore, when managing Renault

Flavio Briatore, when managing Renault

Flavio Briatore has said that he plans to continue his legal pursuit of the Piquet family, and any drivers who terminated their contract with him.

Back in last September, Flavio announced that he was to take legal action against the Piquets, when the Crash-gate scandal broke out. He claimed that the family were blackmailing him to keep his contract.

In an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, he said: “That’s very likely(continuing legal action). The bad that has been done to me won’t be forgotten in one day.”

Also, he stated that his previous lifetime ban was influenced by disputes between him and former FIA president Max Mosley. He said that: “First Mosley tried to make me lose titles, first with Schumi then with Alonso, and then to destroy me with this story.” He expects to have a better relationship with Jean Todt.

Regarding his role of driver manager, he said that he may also pursue legal cases against Heikki Kovalainen and Lucas di Grassi, who he claims have breached the terms of their driver-manager contract.

Mosley: Briatore affair far from over

Former FIA President Max Mosley

Former FIA President Max Mosley

Former FIA president Max Mosley has said that, despite Flavio Briatore’s lifetime ban being overturned, the affair is far from over.

In a French court on Tuesday, the judge found that Briatore’s and Symonds’s bans were past the limits of the FIA’s power, and that the bans must be overturned. The FIA’s legal team are currently considering an appeal.

It would be unimaginable to see the crimes of crash-gate go unpunished, and Mosley agrees, saying that the FIA could even change the rules, so as to be able to ban non-licence holders.

In an interview with the Telegraph, he said:

“The suggestion that we can’t penalise anyone who doesn’t have a licence is very serious because, for example, we wouldn’t be able to ban those people who blacked up their faces and upset Lewis Hamilton (Barcelona in 2008) from coming to a race.”

“But in any case the FIA can easily change its rules so that it takes account of what the court said. They said we weren’t allowed to ban non-licence holders. Well obviously you can bring in a rule which does allow you to, if you wish.”

“One thing’s for sure, it’s very far from over.”

The fact that Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds do not have to hold licences to be in F1 is the reason they cannot be banned, since there is no legal authority to remove them from the sport. However, the FIA still have the power to refuse superlicences to drivers who use Briatore as their manager. Also, they may not put a team on the entry list if they hire him. It remains to be seen whether they will use this power or not.

One other problem the FIA has is Bernie Ecclestone, who said that he had no problem with Briatore returning to the F1 paddock. Both he and Briatore agree that Flavio would be working in driver managment, rather than with a team. However, it is very doubtful that the FIA would allow this to happen.

Whatever happens next, this is definitely the first big test of Jean Todt’s role of FIA president. If he can find a way of keeping Briatore out of F1, then he can prove that he is the man for the job.

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