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Brawn not expecting a 2022 'double diffuser' moment

NEWS STORY
19/01/2022

Confident that any loopholes have been well and truly shut down, Ross Brawn deems it unlikely that there will be any 2022 repeats of his 2009 title-winning innovation, the double diffuser.

Rejecting offers to put down his fishing rod and return to the F1 paddock as a team boss or technical director, Ross Brawn was finally made an offer he simply could not refuse.

In a classic case of poacher turning gamekeeper, the Briton was lured back to the sport as its technical chief, charged by his F1 bosses to level the playing field and improve the racing.

Despite the best efforts of the pandemic, this season we finally get to see the fruit of Brawn's labours, as the biggest overhaul of the sport's regulations becomes reality.

We say poacher turned gamekeeper because in his time Brawn has gained a reputation for, let's say, pushing the spirit of the rules to the absolute limit, never more so than in 2009 when his double-diffuser took Jenson Button to the drivers' title, while claiming the former Benetton and Ferrari technical chief's eponymous team the constructors' version.

The fairy-tale of 2009 was all the more special because at the end of 2008 Honda had rocked the sport by withdrawing, leaving Brawn and Button high and dry. However, Brawn bought the team, and with the aid of the double diffuser designed on Honda's watch (and money) went on to make history.

Now on the other side of the fence, figuratively speaking, Brawn is confident that the 2022 rules overhaul will do the job it is intended to do. Furthermore, as a former poacher, he is confident that there will be no surprises, no equivalents of the double diffuser. Indeed, he is pretty sure he and his team have shut down every avenue in terms of potential loopholes.

"When I was a technical director, it was the odd occasion when a team would come up with an interpretation," he tells the New York Times. "It was quite extreme in terms of when that happened. It didn't happen every day of the week.

"Trying to anticipate every loophole, or every interpretation, is very difficult," he admits. "But for sure, our process was to understand the problem and design around eliminating the problem.

"Our group spent some time looking at the sensitivities of the different areas, to see where there could be some scope left for the teams to evolve their designs and change their designs. Then we had a rule-busting phase where we did try and break the rules and see what loopholes we could find. We went through that.

"I won't pretend we would've found every loophole," he admits. "But we definitely went through a regulation testing phase of seeing where we could find some opportunities."

Asked if he expects a double diffuser-type innovation to appear at pre-season testing or at the season opener in Bahrain, he replies: "I don't think so, no," before adding: "But you never know. Nobody expected it before it happened."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by habentsen, 23/01/2022 12:09

"I sincerely hope someone does a "double diffusor" so FIA, Brawn, Liberty etc. get something on their hands that they didn't expect. I'm thinking about if I should drop watching F1 after 20+ years as a follower of the sports, because last season felt more like a WWE match than a F1 season.

Two things stick out, and I don't want to lay blame on a single person, I think it's deeper than that.
- Hamilton should have won the last race. I turned off the TV half way into the race because it felt like I was watching the buildup to a farce. It became one because the way the race was handled. It didn't feel right at the time the way the rules was interpreted/enforced and the outcome still doesn't feel right. Never seen a situation like this before, I would suggest that someone fell foul of "bringing the sports into disrepute" for reasons unknown to me.
- There newer was a race at Spa. There should definitely be a rule in the F1 books stating if you can't race, you can't award points. The race should have been postponed or moved to another circuit. Perhaps two races during one weekend at another circuit later in the season.

Both situations felt wrong at the time, I still think they are wrong, and I'm not sure I wish to invest time and money into another season in fear of feeling cheated again. My hope is that someone brings something to the table so F1 feels like a sport again. I would love to see something like a team dominate and win at the first possible opportunity in 2022 because I think that would mess up the plans of the current F1 powers that be.

And just to be clear, I'm not a Hamilton supporter. Or dislike Verstappen. My favorite driver is retired from F1 and I haven't got one currently racing in F1. "

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2. Posted by kenji, 19/01/2022 23:30

"I think Brawn spent too mu ch time with Adam Parr......"

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3. Posted by Apexing, 19/01/2022 21:22

"So, is Brawnspeak just a derivative of Ronspeak?"

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4. Posted by Editor, 19/01/2022 15:54

"@ Max Noble

That's Ross Brawn for you."

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5. Posted by Max Noble, 19/01/2022 14:38

"Never! Unless Yes! .. or No…! or… possibly both! … or not… Thank you. Any other questions? Beautiful to see a bet both ways placed so politely…"

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