Fri, Apr 17, 2009 - Page 20 News List

F1: FIA approves disputed diffusers

AP , PARIS AND LONDON

Brawn GP’s Jenson Button can keep his Formula One victories, while Ferrari will have to rush to redesign their car.

The world motor sports governing body on Wednesday approved the use of a rear diffuser design that helped Button win the season’s first two races in Australia and Malaysia.

The decision by the FIA’s (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) International Court of Appeals ends efforts by Ferrari, Renault, BMW Sauber and Red Bull Racing to protest the diffusers. Had the appeal been upheld, Button could have had his victories annulled.

Button leads the drivers’ standings with 15 points, five more than teammate Rubens Barrichello. Toyota drivers Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock, who also use the diffuser, are next.

The FIA rejected the appeal by the four teams against the technology which channels the flow of air from the front to rear and helps create greater downforce through corners.

“Based on the arguments heard and evidence before it, the Court has concluded that the stewards were correct to find that the cars in question comply with the applicable regulations,” the FIA said in a brief statement.

The decision was a victory for diffuser users Brawn GP, Toyota and Williams and could force their rivals to quickly alter their cars to catch up.

It’s also a victory for new rule changes in the sport designed to encourage overtaking. Brawn, Toyota and Williams have upended the established hierarchies of F1, breaking the Ferrari-McLaren dominance of the sport.

The next test will be this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.

In related news, McLaren chief executive Ron Dennis relinquished all Formula One roles yesterday amid the fallout from a lying scandal that could lead to the team being banned from the world championship.

The 61-year-old Dennis’ resignation is part of a restructuring of the McLaren Group that will see him leading a new independent division that will launch a sports road car in 2011.

Martin Whitmarsh, who replaced Dennis as F1 team principal in January, will now take on his chief executive role and answer to the board on all F1 matters.

The announcement came with McLaren embroiled in one of the biggest crises in its 45-year existence.

The British team has been summoned to F1’s ruling body in Paris on April 28 to face charges of bringing the sport into disrepute.

FIA said McLaren deliberately misled stewards at the Australian Grand Prix last month, lying to race officials that it had not given world champion Lewis Hamilton instructions to let Toyota’s Jarno Trulli overtake while the pair were behind the safety car.

Dennis said the timing of his exit was “purely coincidental,” but acknowledged that FIA president Max Mosley and F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone would welcome his departure.

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