Saturday, March 28, 2009

Briatore’s mantra

I previously sussed that Flavio Briatore bases his recent comments on the diffuser issue on what people call the ‘spirit’ of the regulations. His latest thoughts on the issue clearly highlight this:

The interpretation of the regulations was very clear in the past - the cars need less downforce for safety reasons. Correct? Every time we build a new car it was to be two to three seconds slower than the previous car. Correct? That was always the intention of the Federation.

What happened here is that the three teams (Brawn GP, Williams, Toyota) are going pretty clearly in the direction of downforce. And as we all knew that we will run on slick tyres from '09 on, it was the intention of FIA president Max Mosley and the Federation to impose new rules to reduce downforce.

But somebody was going in the downforce direction that was forbidden by the FIA, and that is not following the principles of the rules.

It’s certainly the intention of the new rules to reduce downforce. Having said that, you can’t expect a Brawn aero boffin to tell his colleagues, “All right guys, the FIA wants us to go slower this year and so make sure you build a slow car.” That will be ridiculous. What the three teams have done is simple: they read the regulations and interpreted in such a way that they could put into the car their fastest possible diffuser concept all the while staying on the correct side of the rules. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to expect this of any team. F1Fanatic says Williams made a point with their protest against the Ferrari and Red Bull teams. This was a masterstroke from Williams. 

As I’ve been saying, any team’s job is to make sure their car complies with the regulations. If they also factor into their car design the supposed outcome of the regulations (which Briatore seems to claim his team did), well, they are doing something which they don’t need to.

This diffuser row, if anything, is putting into spotlight the inadvertent (or may be intentional) practice of the FIA to leave their technical wordings open to widely differing interpretations.

More Information: Briatore’s Say

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