Ferrari’s Byrne says diffusers are illegal; one day to go to find out

Ferrari design consultant Rory Byrne has said that he believes the three ”double-deck” diffusers, run by Brawn, Williams and Toyota, are illegal. The widely respected South African, one of the architects of Ferrari’s early 2000s period of dominance of the sport, believes that the three teams have broken the spirit of the rules and an interpretation of the rules set many years ago.

Byrne told Gazzetta dello Sport that for more than a decade, no-one interpreted rules as the three teams have done in this situation.

“It’s a rule set at least 14-15 years ago, and that for many years everyone interpreted in the same way,” said Byrne, who worked alongside current foe Ross Brawn during Ferrari’s glory years.

He is referring to specially crafted holes drilled in the Brawn car, which improves airflow over the diffuser, thus maximising its aerodynamic usefulness. Holes drilled in the chassis are illegal, but Brawn maintain the ‘holes’ are simply gaps between the step and reference planes of the car.

The final judgement will come tomorrow as the FIA convene to decide. The arguments are good from both sides, but the decision is likely to take into account the potential damage to the sport if the results in Australia and Malaysia do not stand. Having said that, the teams arguing the ‘anti-diffuser’ case are expected to bring reams of analysis to the table to prove the illegality of the three teams’ arrangements.