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Mosley expects diffuser row to overshadow start of season

NEWS STORY
21/03/2009

certain teams' diffusers to overshadow next week's Australian Grand Prix and beyond.

Three teams - Brawn, Williams and Toyota - have taken advantage of a loophole in the technical regulations which appears to have given them an obvious advantage.

A number of teams and drivers have voiced their 'unease' but nothing can be done officially until the cars turn up for scrutineering in Melbourne, when it is thought a number of teams will lodge protests.

Only last week, Renault boss Flavio Briatore claimed three teams were breaking the rules, saying: "It seems that there are two rules, one that allows some teams to have a diffuser done in a certain way, while for the others it is banned because it is considered illegal. It is not what we expected. We want black and white rules for everyone."

His claim followed Mosley's statement last month that the diffusers on the Toyota and Williams did not break the rules even though it had been suggested they breached the limit with regards maximum height.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph today however, Mosley admitted: "It's a very clever device and you can make a very good case for saying that it's legal and a very good case for saying that it's illegal. It's going to be difficult.

"What's actually happened is that teams are saying 'We think it's illegal for this and this reason'," he continued.

"If there had been more time before the detailed objections to the system were sent in, I would probably have sent it to the FIA Court of Appeal before Australia. And actually I have given thought to that this week. But there isn't time. It wouldn't be fair. I think the thing will probably come to some sort of a head in Australia.

"One possibility is that all the teams agree that it is illegal, and therefore all the teams shouldn't have it from Barcelona. 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?'

"And so probably what will happen is it will end up going to the stewards, who will make a decision. That will almost certainly be appealed by whichever side is disadvantaged. And then that will go to our Court of Appeal and be hammered out."

"It's not straightforward. I have an open mind on it at the moment - I can see it going either way. I really can. But somebody has to make their mind up and fortunately it's not my job."

In recent tests, despite minimal previous running, the Brawn totally dominated the timesheets, leading to claims, most notably from Bernie Ecclestone, that Jenson Button could be a serious contender not just for victory in the opening race but possibly the title.

Meanwhile, despite the anticipation of a new season with new rules and the possibility of more than two teams battling for the title, it appears that fans can look forward to more race results being decided in committee rooms rather than on the track. Once again the sport appears determined to shoot itself in the foot.

How utterly depressing.

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