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Toyota set for 'best season ever', but is there trouble ahead?

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F1 Mole | 08:06 UK time, Monday, 23 March 2009

When the cars exit the pit lane for first practice at the Australian Grand Prix on Friday, one of the most keenly watched teams will be Toyota.

Rivals have been impressed by the pace of the new car this winter, Toyota's drivers Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock are reporting that it is nicely balanced, and it has had no major problems. Indeed, Toyota have made such progress throughout the winter that team boss John Howett has called the last few weeks "our best pre-season ever".

But, while the engine is strong, and Glock and Trulli are very capable, engineers from rival teams believe much of Toyota's speed comes from an ingenious interpretation of Formula 1's new technical regulations.

These have been designed to make the cars easier to race closely together, and they include detailed restrictions on what can be done with the diffuser - basically, the rear part of the floor of the car between the rear wheels and under the rear wing.

trulli438.jpg

This part is crucial to the aerodynamics of the car, and small changes can have a big impact on the amount of downforce - and therefore grip and speed - the car can produce.

In a nutshell, the regulations demand that the diffuser must have an upper edge that runs in a horizontal straight line.

Toyota have stuck to the letter of this rule, but have made the lower part of their rear crash structure an ingenious shape that just happens to bolt nicely on top of the upper - and straight - edge of their diffuser, and help it do its job of excavating airflow from the back of the car as efficiently as possible.

Many teams are kicking themselves that they didn't think of it, and many more are just accepting it as the way to go, and are building their own versions.

The teams who are not, such as Red Bull, have completely different concepts for the rear of their cars, so it is not possible to make such a quick copy.

In Red Bull's case, the rear suspension operates a unique pull-rod system - where the arms pull down on the dampers, as opposed to the push-rods used by all other teams - which would require a major redesign if it was to be changed to incorporate a Toyota-style diffuser.

So, while Toyota have stolen a march on their rivals, they admit they could be subject to protests once all the teams go into their official scrutineering checks on Thursday.

Governing body the FIA and its race director Charlie Whiting have already expressed an opinion that the diffuser is legal. But as we know only too well from last season, the stewards sometimes take a different view, so any team could file a protest and see what happened.

Toyota is prepared for this, however, and has taken a few different diffusers to Australia just in case they are forced to change it and revert to plan B.

Meanwhile, FIA president Max Mosley is stirring things up even before everyone has got to Melbourne.

"One possibility is that all the teams agree that it is illegal, and therefore all the teams shouldn't have it from [the fifth race in] Barcelona," he says.

"But then those teams who say it is legal will say 'Why should we do that?' And those that say it's illegal will say 'Why should we lose an advantage for four races?'

Political unity among the teams in the form of the F1 Teams' Association (Fota) is inconvenient for Mosley, to say the least.

He couldn't possibly be trying to drive a wedge between the teams on a contentious technical issue for his own ends, could he?

It could get messy.

Comments

  • 1. At 11:13am on 23 Mar 2009, pomwombat wrote:

    > "Political unity among the teams in the form of the F1 Teams' Association (Fota) is inconvenient for Mosley, to say the least."

    Quite. But the winner-takes-all issue last week has helped teach the teams that their unity works. Not only works, but is essential if they want to wrest some control off Max & Bernie. When those two achieve their own political unity, there is little that can stop them. See how much more wrangling there is this year compared to last year?

    I'll bet that the teams will agree their position within FOTA before it gets close to protests in Australia. They might not all like it, but I reckon that they know they need unity for the next year at least.

    Will Todt be after Max's job later in the year?

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  • 2. At 11:29am on 23 Mar 2009, talksence wrote:

    From all the reports I have read regarding all the teams who have innovative diffusers, they are not breaking any laws.

    I hadn't heard the specific rule until you wrote it. If the rule states that the diffuser must have an upper edge that runs in a horizontal straight line. My thought would be that what were the other teams thinking by not creating a diffuser in the same way as Toyota. The rule doesn't state that a symmetrical box with horizontal bottom and top.

    To me it seems that the teams who haven't been as innovative as Toyota et al are feeling very stupid and bitter.

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  • 3. At 12:25pm on 23 Mar 2009, ferrari2009 wrote:

    i dont think that there will be much difference this year

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  • 4. At 1:36pm on 23 Mar 2009, The_Oncoming_Storm wrote:

    Wouldn't be F1 without backbiting and bitching over a team which has come up with something innovative would it?!

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  • 5. At 01:32am on 24 Mar 2009, fire450 wrote:

    Nice blog post. Would have been even better with a picture where we could actually see the diffuser

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  • 6. At 12:47pm on 24 Mar 2009, ozfederico wrote:

    I am both excited and anxious for this new season.

    Excited because there are so many unknowns. I can't remember any seasons over at least the past decade where it was so hard to point out one or two clear favorites!

    I am also anxious because with the amount of bad press which F1 is (rightfully) getting lately you wonder what's coming next.
    How many of the sad 2005 US Grand Prix will we get to see this year? Hopefully none, and certainly not for the same reason anyway but you really wonder what's coming next.

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  • 7. At 1:44pm on 24 Mar 2009, PKRF1FAN wrote:

    THANK GOD THE TEAMS OVERTURNED THE "WINNER TAKES ALL" NOTION WHAT RUBBISH AS JENSIN SAID IF A DRIVER WINS 5 RACES ONLY AND WITH 50 POINTS CAN BEAT ANOTHER WITH 3 WINS AND 10 PODIUMS FOR EXAMPLE
    ALL THIS NONSENSE ABOUT MASSA POTENTIALLY BEING WORLD CHAMPION UNDER THAT SYSTEM IGNORES THE RACE "STOLEN" FROM HIM WITH THAT RIDICULOUS (OPPOSITE TO WHITINGS VIEW PRE HYPOCRISY) STEWARDS DECISION TO "GIVE THE RACE TO MASSA !!!!!

    A FAR MORE WORRYING CONCERN IS BERNIE AND MAXs CURRENT ALLIANCE TO UNDERMINE AND ELLIMINATE WORKS TEAMS. THE 30 MILLION BUDGET IS NOTHING BUT A MEANS TO WEAKEN THE MANF BY ALLOWING NUMEROUS "SMALL FISH" TO ENTER
    THIS THEN ALOWS BERNIE TO DICTATE THE COMMERCIAL ELEMENTS (HIS FAVORITE PASTIME) AND MAX (SORRY FIA) TO BACK HIM UNDER THE AUSPICE OF ECONOMIC REALITY!
    BERNIE GETS THE CASH MAX GETS A POWER ADRENALIN RUSH
    MAX AND BERNIE PRESENT THEIR f1 PLAN NOT CARING IF THE CURRENT TOP TEAMS STAY OF GO THIS WILL PROTECT BERNIES MONEY SPINNING EMPIRE AS THERE WILL BE NO TEAM CAPABLE OF STANDING UP TO HIS FINANCIAL CONTRIOL AND THE F1 CHAMPIONSHIP IS AN IMPOTENT AND TECHNICALLY STERILE SERIES
    ITS HAPPENING

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  • 8. At 2:54pm on 24 Mar 2009, metallicRamrod wrote:

    Steady on PKRF1FAN did'nt you know that is is rude to use block caps? It implies that you are shouting

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  • 9. At 7:19pm on 24 Mar 2009, PKRF1FAN wrote:

    sorry MetRamrod no aggression intended

    though the FIA and their incompetent (probably never raced anything but a trolley round Marks and Sparks, change that to Selfridges) stewards had me livid last year

    started typing realised was on cap lock and didnt try to start again

    ps sad to see that a little extra (very initial) performance from Brawn has upset the bigger players. I sincerely hope they are not penalised and give us an interesting start to new season

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  • 10. At 8:07pm on 24 Mar 2009, BGPFan wrote:

    Whilst Max & Bernie "get off" on their power trip, I hope they don't forget us F1 fans. Without us their championship is WORTHLESS.

    I vote for the teams to set-up their own championship - I'm convinced the fan-base would follow - and this time they've got Ferrari on-board, so what'll Max & Bernie do then? I certainly wouldn't watch an F1 with a load of no-name teams in it, would you?

    (BrawnGP for the titles this year!)

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  • 11. At 9:08pm on 24 Mar 2009, f1supremeo wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 12. At 07:54am on 25 Mar 2009, lastonsunday wrote:

    If the diffusers are legal because they do finish in the correct manner & the upper part is just a part of the fancy rear bodywork why stop there. Could they just extend the rear body to suround the smaller rear wing & increase downforce that way? Won't that would be legal too!

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  • 13. At 10:51am on 25 Mar 2009, Jonathan wrote:

    Check out the following link to see the BMW and Toyota rear diffusers:

    http://www.formula1.com/news/technical/

    It's quite funny to note that the FIA gave them the all clear on the 5th of Feb, yet it's still an issue for some. Sour grapes maybe?

    There is also a picture of the Brawn rear diffuser in the Barcelona testing Gallery on the same sight, the lower section of the crash structure looks quite elegant shall we say.

    Personally I hope they are all deemed OK and the stewards don't start this season in the same way as they lost the plot mid season last year.

    Come the 'European' season they'll all have them!!

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  • 14. At 11:14am on 25 Mar 2009, MagpieRH wrote:

    Big surprise - Ferrari aren't top dogs so somebody must be cheating! With McLaren 2 years ago, they were stealing documents (OK so it turned out to be true but they must've known something about it surely?!), now the 'newboys' Brawn GP are outpacing them in testing so their interpretation of teh rule is wrong and their car illegal.
    It would be nice to see someone different at the front of the grid for once, I've gone right off Ferrari because they're whining, sore losers!

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  • 15. At 11:57am on 25 Mar 2009, wildthing66688 wrote:

    So they are going to challenge the design of part of a car, I bet if this was Ferrari it would be passed as legal without any problems but because this is what is classed as one of the smaller teams showing the big boys the way some teams are trying to say part of the car is illegal.
    Ferrari would never have been where they are now if they had half the rules they have now back in the 1950's

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  • 16. At 12:00pm on 25 Mar 2009, vicweir wrote:

    Why does the FIA not know, now, whether or not its technical regulations have been infringed or not? Its members must have at least the same knowledge as we have. Is there a law that says they may not intervene until x number of teams make protests? Preferably at the very last minute causing maximum disruption.
    Precedence creates laws and there is one precedent of a similar nature that I can think of - the famous Renault mass damper of 05/06. Renault declared it and until well into the season it was legal and several other teams tried it, most finding it didn't work for them.
    But Renault proved very successful.The mass damper was declared illegal and removed from the car.

    History repeating itself?

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  • 17. At 12:22pm on 25 Mar 2009, moshambles wrote:

    I really hope they don't ban Toyota's or BGP's diffuser simply because the other teams didn't think of it or because they may not have been brave enogh to go right to the limit of the regs.

    The only reason they should be banned is if they are actually in breach of the regs or if they are deemed unsafe.

    This kind of scenario where different teams come up with different solutions and innovations is part of what makes F1 what it is and I hope it stays like this for years to come.



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  • 18. At 12:49pm on 25 Mar 2009, Dave F wrote:

    Hang on. It's not just Ferrari that have requested clarification over the diffusers on the back of the Brawn, Toyota and Williams. If you bothered to read the article, not just leap in with your "Ferrari are bad" comment. All the other six teams have asked about it.

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  • 19. At 1:44pm on 25 Mar 2009, Optomistic and English wrote:

    I hope that there will be a bundle of suprises with teams perfomance, especially teams who have disaponted in recent years, e.g Honda/Brawn

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  • 20. At 1:59pm on 25 Mar 2009, Grabyrdy wrote:

    It does seem extraordinary that in a billion dollar sport no-one will take responsability to confirm what the regs mean before the first race. Normally if teams have doubts they ask, and are given a response. Quite often, this response turns out to be wrong. It's happened to McLaren numerous times, as well as others. It's all just so unbelievably amateur !
    Why can't they get their act together ?

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  • 21. At 2:07pm on 25 Mar 2009, truesporter wrote:

    Vicweir; this is the issue exactly , bad project management on behalf of FIA ! New rule automatically lead to queries and questions. The first thing we read about the forthcoming GP is what we do not want to see ... protests ... before a meter has been driven.

    If FIA and Ecclestone are so worried about saving cost and stupid new rules like "winner takes all", let them first make sure that the current new rules are fair and properly implemented.

    If the diffuser of the three teams mentioned is illegal, they should have been told so ages ago ! Now we will have a race and the official outcome will be published after the Malaysian GP, which final result will come just before Bahrain ... great !

    It is very simple: make a rule that if a team wants to run a new part on its care, it should be approved at least two weeks before the race it will be entered in. Simple, so the chances of a car being illegal are minimal and racing will be maximized and the winner is likely to remain the winner.

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  • 22. At 2:23pm on 25 Mar 2009, dyrewolfe wrote:

    Ugh!

    Another example of F1's shambolic leadership at work here.

    The other teams have had pretty much the entire winter test season to make a complaint, if they felt the regulations were being infringed.

    But no - they decide to leave it until a few days before the first race. On that score, its entirely their own fault for not bringing this up sooner.

    I would also have thought the FIA would be privy to the team' design data, so they can check whether any components break the rules. If so, they should have stepped in long before now.

    I could be wrong, but I was under the impression this scrutineering business was mainly a formality and a last-minute check to make sure no-one was trying to pull a fast one. After all, if any serious breaches of the regs are found, it doesn't leave the team(s) involved much time to put things right.

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  • 23. At 3:39pm on 25 Mar 2009, ShinyDavidHowell wrote:

    Only in this sport could this happen. Two weeks before the season starts, nobody knows how the champion will be decided. Four days before the season starts, nobody knows what the design rules are.

    Does F1 want to destroy itself? Feels it from here.

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  • 24. At 5:27pm on 25 Mar 2009, nibs wrote:


    Had it been Ferrari doing something like this there would now be a complete outrage in the English forums, blogs and message boards. Everyone would be going on about how they cheat, how they always find ways to bend the rules and how they should be punished. Now because it's Brawn or somebody else it has to be allowed surely (even if I'd bet most ppl commenting haven't got a clue what it's all about).

    The anti-Ferrari stance by the authorities just in order to protect their business and make more money from their British audiences is beyond belief. What better evidence that McLaren should have been thrown out for a couple of years for proven fraud, the ultimate chicanery in motorsport, but they were let off from the back door through last ditch intervention from FOM. Hamilton should have been penalised on 3 separate occasions at Monza 08 for clear-cut infringements, which would have lost him the championship, but nothing doing for fear of tabloid furore. He was put back by a crane at Nurburgring when standing 20 metres off the road, unprecedented in motorsport history. Not to mention other situations of reckless driving such as Fuji 07 which caused his colleagues' outrage but were conveniently bypassed.




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  • 25. At 5:47pm on 25 Mar 2009, Grabyrdy wrote:

    Nikos, calm down. Ferrari is under new management. Todt, at last, finally, is gone. Things are a bit cooler now. No need to pull down McL to big up Ferrari.
    Curiously, Brawn, part of the Todt team, is now stirring things up elsewhere. He's always been good at going right to the edge of the regs - think back to Schumacher's days at benetton - and some would say beyond. What goes round comes round, especially in F1 (ho ho)

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  • 26. At 09:28am on 26 Mar 2009, mark4pm wrote:

    First of all I would like to declare that I'm not a Ferrari fan but would have to say that I think Ferrari have come in for a bit of unfair flack on this matter. It's not just Ferrari lodging the protest and it seems to me that the biggest losers in all this will be Red Bull. Maybe they could be the instigators in this case.

    Anyway, now that the FIA and the Stewards have decided that the rear diffuser on the Toyota, Williams and Brawn is legal that should be the end of the matter. What the other teams are trying to do is basically ask for a rule change 4 days before the race. Surely no-one can bow to that. If the people who set the rules then agree that no-one is cheating then leave it alone.

    I'm sorry Red Bull, Ferrari, BMW Sauber and Renault but maybe you got it wrong this time.

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  • 27. At 10:00am on 26 Mar 2009, 355gts wrote:

    Just for everyone's information:

    3.12.7 No bodywork which is visible from beneath the car and which lies between the rear wheel centre line and a point 350mm rearward of it may be more than 175mm above the reference plane. Any intersection of the surfaces in this area with a lateral or longitudinal vertical plane should form one continuous line which is visible from beneath the car. A single break in the surface is permitted solely to allow the minimum required access for the device referred to in Article 5.15. (for starting car)
    Additionally, any bodywork in this area must produce uniform, solid, hard, continuous, rigid (no degree of freedom in relation to the body/chassis unit), impervious surfaces under all circumstances.

    15.5.3 An impact absorbing structure must be fitted behind the gearbox symmetrically about the car centre line with the centre of area of its rearmost face 300mm (+/-5mm) above the reference plane and no less than 575mm behind the rear wheel centre line. The rearmost face of the impact structure must be a rectangular section no less than 100mm wide, this minimum width must be maintained over a height of at least 130mm and each corner may incorporate a radius no greater than 10mm. Between the rear face and the rear wheel centre line no dimension of the area thus defined may diminish nor may any part of the structure or gearbox which is visible from below, other than the permitted radii, be higher than the lower edge of the rear face.
    This structure must pass an impact test and must be constructed from materials which will not be substantially affected by the temperatures it is likely to be subjected to during use. Details of the test procedure may be found in Article 16.4.
    Only those parts of the structure which genuinely contribute to its performance during the impact test, and which are designed and fitted for that sole purpose, will be considered when assessing compliance with any of the above.

    These are taken from the FIA technical regs. For me, the last sentence is key. The crash structure on the Williams, Brawn and Toyota are not designed for the "sole purpose" of contributing to the performance in the impact test. They are designed to contribute aerodynamically also. That ebing the case, the crash structure can't be legal, even if it does fit the dimensions allowed by the rest of the technical regs. It may be an innovative design, but I think it's illegal (not that that will stop the FIA ruling it legal). I would think that it will be ruled legal, they'll race it for 3 weeks, then it will get ruled illegal at appeal. That would be typical F1.

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  • 28. At 10:30am on 26 Mar 2009, f1fantatic wrote:

    These new rules were proposed by the overtaking work group (OWG) who were set up a few years ago and is chaired by McLaren engineering director Paddy Lowe, Renault director of engineering Pat Symonds and Ferrari consultant Rory Byrne. The FIA took their findings on how to improve overtaking and turned them into the new rules.

    Unfortunately the FIA have accidentally left loopholes in the wordings of this new rule. Whilst these diffusers are not illegal by the wording, they certainly contravene the spirit and reason of why the rules were put in place. Ferrari, Renault and McLaren know exactly what the meaning of these new rules which is why they didnt develop these style of diffusers. Once again the FIA have messed things up again, this time leaving it open to interpretation. It wouldnt surprise me if the FIA cahnge the rules to make this diffuser illegal after the first couple of races to give Brawn, Williams & Toyota a chance to sort out a replacement.

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  • 29. At 10:56am on 26 Mar 2009, dempsey1971 wrote:

    355gts wrote:

    "15.5.3 An impact absorbing structure must be fitted behind the gearbox symmetrically about the car centre line with the centre of area of its rearmost face 300mm (+/-5mm) above the reference plane and no less than 575mm behind the rear wheel centre line. The rearmost face of the impact structure must be a rectangular section no less than 100mm wide, this minimum width must be maintained over a height of at least 130mm and each corner may incorporate a radius no greater than 10mm. Between the rear face and the rear wheel centre line no dimension of the area thus defined may diminish nor may any part of the structure or gearbox which is visible from below, other than the permitted radii, be higher than the lower edge of the rear face.
    This structure must pass an impact test and must be constructed from materials which will not be substantially affected by the temperatures it is likely to be subjected to during use. Details of the test procedure may be found in Article 16.4.
    Only those parts of the structure which genuinely contribute to its performance during the impact test, and which are designed and fitted for that sole purpose, will be considered when assessing compliance with any of the above.

    These are taken from the FIA technical regs. For me, the last sentence is key. The crash structure on the Williams, Brawn and Toyota are not designed for the "sole purpose" of contributing to the performance in the impact test. They are designed to contribute aerodynamically also. That ebing the case, the crash structure can't be legal, even if it does fit the dimensions allowed by the rest of the technical regs. It may be an innovative design, but I think it's illegal (not that that will stop the FIA ruling it legal). I would think that it will be ruled legal, they'll race it for 3 weeks, then it will get ruled illegal at appeal. That would be typical F1."

    Sorry 355GTS, but you could interpret the last sentance in 2 ways.

    1 - no extra stuff allowed, as you have interpreted
    2 - the extra stuff fitted will not contribute to the crash test assesment, i.e only the crash structure bit will be assessed, anything else will be ignored for the purposes of saying whether the crash structure works or not.

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  • 30. At 11:20am on 26 Mar 2009, lastonsunday wrote:

    I'm sure that if there was no doubt about the legality of the said parts, then all the other teams would have been rushing to try revised rear bodywork before the testing ban came into effect. The Toyota was unwrapped nearly three months ago & i'm sure that the boffins in Woking & Marenello would have been busy trying out this missed loophole.

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  • 31. At 11:50am on 26 Mar 2009, nibs wrote:


    At 10:00am on 26 Mar 2009, 355gts wrote:

    "15.5.3 An impact absorbing structure must be fitted behind the gearbox symmetrically about the car centre line with the centre of area of its rearmost face 300mm (+/-5mm) above the reference plane and no less than 575mm behind the rear wheel centre line. The rearmost face of the impact structure must be a rectangular section no less than 100mm wide, this minimum width must be maintained over a height of at least 130mm and each corner may incorporate a radius no greater than 10mm. Between the rear face and the rear wheel centre line no dimension of the area thus defined may diminish nor may any part of the structure or gearbox which is visible from below, other than the permitted radii, be higher than the lower edge of the rear face.
    This structure must pass an impact test and must be constructed from materials which will not be substantially affected by the temperatures it is likely to be subjected to during use. Details of the test procedure may be found in Article 16.4.
    Only those parts of the structure which genuinely contribute to its performance during the impact test, and which are designed and fitted for that sole purpose, will be considered when assessing compliance with any of the above."

    These are taken from the FIA technical regs. For me, the last sentence is key. The crash structure on the Williams, Brawn and Toyota are not designed for the "sole purpose" of contributing to the performance in the impact test. They are designed to contribute aerodynamically also. That ebing the case, the crash structure can't be legal, even if it does fit the dimensions allowed by the rest of the technical regs. It may be an innovative design, but I think it's illegal (not that that will stop the FIA ruling it legal). I would think that it will be ruled legal, they'll race it for 3 weeks, then it will get ruled illegal at appeal. That would be typical F1."


    My understanding is that article 15.5.3 is completely irrelevant to the situation. This section outlines the survival cell requirements. The bodywork in question is not designed as part of the survival cell tolerances, but its existence is permitted solely by the dimension allowances of section 3 (3.12.7 and 3.10.6 in the case of the Toyota extension).

    The main question has to do with the 'spirit' of the regulation, which is to reduce the diffuser volume (more overtaking and less aero infleunce) and also make it the same more or less for everyone (for lower cost and closer competition). Also technically there is some ambiguity over article 3.12.7 ("Any intersection of the surfaces in this area -behind the rear axle- with a lateral or longitudinal vertical plane should form one continuous line which is visible from beneath the car").




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  • 32. At 11:54am on 26 Mar 2009, KillieJimbo wrote:

    It wouldn't be F1 if it didn't have preseason drama.

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  • 33. At 12:11pm on 26 Mar 2009, 355gts wrote:

    Interesting. I think that if the bodywork is not included in the crash structure, then it is simply outside the allowed dimension of 175mm from the floor. That's what I was basing my interpretation on, and what the articles I have read seem to say. The reason the teams think this is legal is because it IS part of the crash structure protecting the gearbox. As I said before, the FIA are not going to rule this illegal now, that could put two teams out of Sunday's race and they won't do that, but they will rule it illegal by the time the european season starts, forcing them to change the design.

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  • 34. At 12:36pm on 26 Mar 2009, austinkincaid wrote:

    No matter what, F1 never fails to bore these days...

    This isn't 1995 again, F1 died many moons ago. Give it up, let it go.

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  • 35. At 12:36pm on 26 Mar 2009, nibs wrote:


    33. At 12:11pm on 26 Mar 2009, 355gts wrote:

    "I think that if the bodywork is not included in the crash structure, then it is simply outside the allowed dimension of 175mm from the floor. That's what I was basing my interpretation on, and what the articles I have read seem to say. The reason the teams think this is legal is because it IS part of the crash structure protecting the gearbox."


    No, the teams are basing it on the key phrase "which is visible from beneath the car". The upper deck is not visible from beneath the car as it is covered by the lower deck hence it can be higher than 175mm, provided that the "continuous line" rule allows for 2 separate bodywork surfaces in this area.

    The area between 350 and 500mm behind the axle where bodywork is allowed to be higher that 175mm and is exploited by Toyota's diffuser extension provides for the crash structure and wing mounts, but there is no requirement that it must be used solely for that purpose.




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  • 36. At 1:35pm on 26 Mar 2009, Ryushinku wrote:

    Declared legal. For now at least, 355gts ;)

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  • 37. At 1:52pm on 26 Mar 2009, 355gts wrote:

    Nikos, I see you point about the upper part being not visible from beneath, but surely to direct airflow into the upper deck, you need a slit or otherwise in the lower deck. Not quite sure how this is classed as a continuous surface.

    It is interesting having the discussion though...

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  • 38. At 3:32pm on 26 Mar 2009, bloggs101 wrote:

    What a surprise Ferrari moaning again!!!!!!!!!

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  • 39. At 4:46pm on 26 Mar 2009, Ian Bittiner wrote:

    I personally hope button wins. It will be interesting to see if he fulfils the potential claimed a few years ago in a good car!

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  • 40. At 5:07pm on 26 Mar 2009, StJameshPark wrote:

    I think too much is being made of this diffuser issue. Ferrari, Renault and BMW will still all be up there.

    What is interesting is that Williams didn't check with the FIA if their diffuser is legal whereas Toyota did earlier in the year. Any chance that Toyota passed the information down to their customer team?

    I have very mixed feelings about the topic. If the diffuser is going to make a massive difference I'll be very disappointed if cars cannot overtake Williams, Brawn and Toyota due to the increased aerodynamical grip when the cars are supposed to rely more on mechanical grip this season.

    However the engineering of these 3 teams to get the most of the rules has to be commended.

    One thing is for sure, I've never been so excited for a new season as this one.

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  • 41. At 6:05pm on 26 Mar 2009, NH wrote:

    Last season, too much of the F1 season was decided by stewards or battled in courts. This season hasn't even started yet and already the results of the first race might not stand depending on whether the appeal is successful.

    The FIA should make all teams submit their cars in plenty of time before the start of the new season so they can all be verified then the first race can go ahead and if someone has been more clever with their design then so be it.

    I don't understand how teams interprete the regulations without asking any questions. If some teams thought it was legal and others didn't then the FIA needs to be on hand throughout development to answer these queries.

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  • 42. At 8:31pm on 26 Mar 2009, nibs wrote:


    The FIA are not silly, they know very well that the systems contravene the spirit of the rules and the targets they aimed to set with them. They could have easily acted in time and issued a revision, not now at the last minute but when they were asked for clarification a few months ago.

    First of all the last thing the FIA want is processions, Ferrari disappearing into the distance and everyone falling asleep, like in 2004 when they were changing the points and qualy rules in desperation to bring them down. Being quiet on the issue is a great way to bring 6 more drivers in the mix and keep the viewing figures up.

    Besides, these are difficult times and there are quite a few that by the end of the season may wave goodbye and leave the door open should they remain with crumbs results-wise. That could be the gravestone for the sport and their business.

    And of course if it doesn't go as planned and somebody like Brawn ends up winning by half a minute, they always reserve the divine right to ban it when they wish. Remember Ferrari's vibrating floor when they were tearing the rest apart? That was fully legal too in the start of the season, wasn't it?



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