Double-diffuser ban in the works for 2011
The current buzz among teams right now is that they are close to agreeing to ban double diffusers for 2011 and beyond, in a bid to cut downforce, slow the cars a bit, and create closer racing.
The introduction of double diffusers into F1 was a major rules scrum last season, when rivals protested the dominant design by Brawn GP, Williams and Toyota in the opening races of the season. FIA International Court of Appeal, was ultimately deemed fully legal and other teams were forced to play catch-up.
The teams have been faced with higher development costs, and the cars began to space out again, decreasing the appeal of the on-track product, creating a situation where budgets were stretched with no real on-track benefit for the sport as a whole.
With predictions that the downforce levels of cars will this season potentially go beyond what they were at the end of 2008, teams seem to agree that there is room to nix the diffusers altogether.
The teams are likely to pen rules that require the under-tray to be a continuous section along a longitudinal or lateral plane. Which disposes of 'slots' in the floor that have made the double diffuser concept effective.
The real challenge is to devise wording of the rules that eliminate any loopholes. Once the wording of the rules has been sorted, it will then be put to the FIA's official Technical Working Group for ratification prior to going through the channels required for it to get put into the 2011 regulations.
Lotus' Chief Mike Gascoyne supports the move, stating "I think it is exactly right," he said. "It is what we should do, and it is what both FOTA and the FIA are looking at for 2011. I think it is very sensible and very easy to do – just tighten up the regulations and it is done."
Gascoyne doubts the rule will be of much help in promoting overtaking, though. "I don't think there was a reduction in overtaking, but the changes to improve overtaking didn't help. And in fact, if you look at the numbers, it was never going to.
"But if you look at it carefully, what the [F1 teams'] aero group set out to achieve it actually did, and if you take the diffuser away it will do exactly what it said on the tin. Unfortunately that will never help you overtake anyone."
Although the majority of teams support the move, some outfits are unhappy about the double diffuser ban because it will mean an expensive redesign of the entire rear end of the car, including the gearbox and rear suspension, for 2011.