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Diffuser row could destroy FOTA UPDATE #2 (GMM)  Flavio Briatore has stepped up his attack on the Brawn team, after slamming the former Honda drivers in Shanghai.

Now, the Renault boss has turned his attention to team owner Ross Brawn, who is currently the head of FOTA's technical committee.

Italian Briatore, in charge of commercial matters in the F1 teams' alliance, said he will propose that FOTA replaces Brawn at its next meeting.

Asked by the Daily Telegraph who he would prefer in the role, Briatore answered: "Anyone is better, even the first Chinese taxi driver you see in the street."

Briatore is furious about Brawn's victory in the rear diffuser controversy, claiming the situation has cost most formula one teams millions and compromised F1's credibility.

To Italian reporters in Shanghai, he said he will also be proposing that the commercial income due to the Honda team in 2009 should be distributed to the other teams rather than Brawn.

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone commented: "I don't know what Flav is on about.  Ross has done a brilliant job, and as for Button being slow, he is now showing what he can do with a fast car.

"If anyone has been slow it has been the other teams and I don't think we should be hearing them complaining when the tables are turned.  They have all had their bright ideas down the years which needed official scrutiny."

04/17/09 (GMM)  The lingering effects of the differ row were still being felt in the Shanghai paddock on Friday.

During the Court of Appeal earlier this month, Williams chief executive Adam Parr was quoted as suggesting that Ferrari have been racing an illegal car for years.

The comments had been sparked by Ross Brawn, who told the court that F1 history is littered with cases of cars exploiting grey areas of the technical rules.

Ferrari seemed to agree with the statement, causing Parr to remark: "I find it almost pleasurable to hear Ferrari say they have won 11 world championships with an illegal car."

It emerged in China that, so disappointed was Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali with Parr's statement, that he sought clear-the-air talks with the Williams official.

It is understood that Flavio Briatore was also annoyed, as Renault was also implicated to by Parr.

"It is something I want to discuss with Adam because I think it is something where you need to be responsible in what you say," the news agency AFP quotes Domenicali as responding.

But Parr issued clarifying remarks to the press on Friday.

"I think that there has been a very fundamental misunderstanding of what happened in the court on Tuesday," he said.

"I want to be absolutely clear, on the record, that we have never said and we do not believe that for one minute either the Ferrari cars, or Renault cars, or anyone else's cars, for the last eight years have been illegal," said Parr.

04/16/09 (GMM)  F1 team figures will meet after the forthcoming China-Bahrain double header to assess the damage to the previously united FOTA alliance.

In the Shanghai paddock on Thursday, Ferrari's Stefano Domenicali and BMW's Mario Theissen had to admit that the diffuser affair has tested the harmony of the body.

"It is clear that tensions are now quite high," said Domenicali, a day after the FIA's Court of Appeal deemed the diffusers of the Brawn, Toyota and Williams teams legal.

Ferrari, along with Renault, Red Bull and BMW - and quietly backed by McLaren - had challenged the legality of the rear aerodynamic devices, and the arguments in the Paris hearing at some times veered into the personal.

"It could have repercussions and cause a rift among FOTA member teams," Domenicali acknowledged.  "This is not a good situation as FOTA is very important for the future of formula one."

Theissen also admitted the saga is "definitely a test to FOTA".

"It doesn't make it easier, definitely," he said of the challenge of keeping F1 teams united.

Domenicali would not be drawn on whether he believes the affair would have been enjoyed by Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone, who undoubtedly fear a united FOTA more than a fractious group of arguing teams.

"I don't want to say that," the Italian said.

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