January 7, 2010
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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.