F1 Teams to Copy Rear Diffuser Design

The controversial rear diffusers designed by Brawn GP, Williams and Toyota are about to be copied by at least 5 other teams out there, as reported by GMM news agency. Considering the outstanding performances of the three teams during the Aussie GP, copying the double-decker design seems to have become the only way the series' “big guns” can catch up in terms of car development.

Renault, Red Bull and Ferrari have all protested the rear diffusers ahead of the Albert Park race, but the designs were cleared by the race stewards on Thursday. The three teams then issued an official appeal to the FIA, that is to be judged by the International Court of Appeal only after the Malaysian Grand Prix this weekend.

However, sensing that FIA might also agree with the designs – as revealed by race director Charlie Whiting during the Barcelona testing earlier this month – most of the teams have already proceeded in designing similar rear diffusers of their own. McLaren and Renault seems ready to implement the new designs from as early as next month's Chinese Grand Prix, while joined by Ferrari and Red Bull Racing.

Although he blamed the FIA for creating more chaos and making the teams spend more money in developing a new rear diffuser this season, Renault's Flavio Briatore admitted his team has tested the revised designs and it showed an improved level of downforce as compared to their initial rear diffuser.

“What is happening with the diffusers is stupid, forcing teams to spend money in a time of crisis. It is also about safety: we have already put similar pieces in our wind tunnel and it gives 14 per cent more downforce. That is not in the spirit of the regulations. Once they are developed we could be talking 30 or 40 (per cent additional),” said the Italian, according to the aforementioned source.

As reported by Spanish newspaper Marca, McLaren are also very close to developing a double-decker diffuser. BMW is also considering it, although the Hinwil-based team seems to have the most difficulties in implementing a new rear diffuser. According to Nick Heidfeld, the team would have to change the entire rear designs of the car in order to revise the current system.

Red Bull's Christian Horner also admitted the rear diffuser is a big part of the aerodynamic package and could prove decisive in making the top of the field this season.

“There is lap time to be gained. The diffuser issues opens up a development path that was not previously open. That is potentially big performance gain because the floor is the most powerful aerodynamic tool on the car,” Horner told the BBC after the race.
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