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A question to you all. The diffuser saga has come to an end in many ways and a decision has been made. How does it affect you now that the decision has been made? How long will it take you to catch up? What sort of effort is required and when do you feel you will be on a par with everybody else on the same technology? Christian, perhaps you would like to start.Christian Horner: I think obviously after the appeal hearing the situation is now closed in that the diffuser is obviously allowed. For us it has a significant impact because obviously we designed the car around the regulations how we believed should be interpreted and obviously came up with a very good car. The benefit that diffuser offers is significant and obviously if you haven't incorporated it into the car design from inception it is something that is difficult just to bolt on, particularly in our case, and as an independent team for us it almost represents a B-spec car, so it is a significant change to the rear end of the chassis in order to try and optimise it and integrate it into our design solutions. The guys, led by Adrian (Newey), have done a fantastic job this winter and the decision to release the car late was the right thing to optimise the time in the wind tunnel but now to be faced with an upgrade with the quantum of this one is going to be a significant challenge and difficult to put an exact date on when we will be able to introduce our own solution but it will be one of the early European races.
Does it include a gearbox redesign?CH: It impacts on the whole rear end of the car in our solutions. It is significant and obviously the only hole it has left us is in our budget. It is a significant amount of cost in not a great climate but the performance you can see today, six of the cars in the top eight are running that solution, so we have to do it in order to maintain our competitiveness. On the positive side is looking at the performance of our car so far this year. Without it we have been pretty competitive. The only car in the top eight today with if you like a standard solution, so hopefully what we can look forward to is a further step in competitiveness when we do introduce it.
Mario, how does it affect BMW Sauber?Mario Theissen: Well, apparently in a similar way. It is definitely not sufficient and not possible to just exchange the diffuser and come with a new solution at the rear underbody. We have to redesign the aero package, at least the aero package. I wouldn't go as far as Christian and to say that it is a completely new rear end with our car but the aero package will be totally different. Apparently we have started to work on it and we will have an aero update for Barcelona. But I cannot tell you today if the diffuser will be included or not. It is part of a lot of ideas and a lot of developments we are following and the final package is not decided on yet and if there is such a two stage diffuser included it will definitely not be the full exploitation of the potential.
Would you expect that to come later?MT: Apparently we have to push towards this direction and find more and more in the course of the season, so we will definitely not be finished with the Barcelona aero package.
Norbert?Norbert Haug: Very much the same. We have to realise that everybody will improve significantly in Barcelona, so the guys that are upfront, like a second quicker, they will improve and they are in a better position to do so. But it is what it is, that is the decision, and we need to develop quicker than the guys in front which is not easy. I know it from the past that it was the other way around and to catch up in the course of the season is always a significant challenge, no doubt. But lots of people say it is good for the sport, not so good for us these days. But of course there are different colours in front of the field and I am at least pleased that the Brawn guys are using our engines. That helps a little bit. Or helps very much. I have to say they do a good job. To comment on it, would it have been necessary this interpretation, A or B, is history right now. We need to catch up. And of course what Mario and Christian said, it is a cost issue as well but we need to put our heads down, work hard and come up with a better solution than we currently have.
Does it involve a gearbox redesign?NH: It depends. As Mario pointed out on which car you have and which design you have but let's say that the worst case scenario is a complete redesign including suspension, gearbox housing, whatever. But it depends. It may be on the one car like that and on the other car a little bit different. It is not like you develop a double diffuser in your wind tunnel, put in on your car and here we go. It takes time. The best ones of them have invested months and months, more than half a year, three quarters of the year, and as stated before what other people who are intelligent and good people achieve in nine months is difficult to achieve in nine weeks. We are in that process but we just need to push and need to work harder.
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