Red Bull has threatened to lodge a protest at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix if the cars from rival teams Toyota, Brawn and Williams pass scrutineering on Thursday, as debate rages over the legality of their bodywork. The three teams are at the center of a dispute over their rear diffusers, the part of the bodywork that comes up from the undertray to disperse air from under the car.
Strict new regulations limit the size of the diffusers. The three teams have found a potential loophole in the law by designing their rear bodywork to effectively act as part of the diffuser, increasing its size. Red Bull team adviser Helmut Marko said a protest will be lodged if those teams are passed to compete following Thursday's scrutineering, performed by officials from the sport's governing body FIA.
"We'll make a protest on Thursday if the component isn't modified to conform to the regulations, because that diffuser guarantees a five-tenths (of a second) advantage per lap," Marko told Sky Sports on Tuesday. "Seven teams are certain it's illegal." Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali believes the bodywork breaks the rules, but wants a pre-race resolution, hoping to prevent the dispute blemishing the opening race of the season on Sunday.
F1 points system to remain unchanged
The International Automobile Federation (FIA) has confirmed that the 2009 drivers' championship will be decided by the same points system as last year rather than awarding it to the winner of most races. It published it on its website (www.fia.com). "The F1 world championship driver's title will be awarded to the driver who has scored the highest number of points," they said.