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GP Week : Issue 39
“Ground Effect” F1 by Barcelona > F1NEWS> ettled in court ... RED Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner believes the Formula 1 grid will be comprised of cars utilising “ground effect”by the time the sport starts the European season, should the Diffusergate Three’s cars be found legal by the FIA International Court of Appeal. Horner told GPWeek that he believes that the controversial diffusers being run by BrawnGP, Williams and Toyota provide the teams with virtually full ‘ground effect’, which has been banned in Formula 1 since 1983, and that it is this factor which has given the teams a performance advantage. “I think that the most important thing is to provide clarity going forward,”he told GPWeek in Melbourne. “The regulations are somewhat ambiguous. I think the biggest concern [is that] the routes that three of the other teams have taken does open up the performance of the cars to increase significantly. “We’re already going faster than we were last year and I think it totally contradicts what these regulations were for and, from a safety aspect, cornering speeds will be significantly higher. Effectively it is ground effect.” When asked if he believed that a rejection of Red Bull, Renault and Ferrari’s case against the three teams in question would lead to the effective legalisation of ground effect in Formula 1, Horner was forthright. “We’ll very quickly have ten ground effect cars, I think,”he smiled. “We could have something in place for Barcelona but obviously the cost implications are quite significant as well, and [there’s] no testing.” Interestingly, we do hear that Red Bull had a similar diffuser on the drawing boards last year, but backed away from it having taken the view it wasn’t legal ... was headed down diffuser path Would it have been a Brawn/Aguri showdown in Melbourne if tiny team still existed? FORMER Super Aguri F1 Technical Director Mark Preston is surprised so many teams have failed to exploit the 2009 regulations regarding diffusers. Preston, whose SAF1 team of aerodynamicists had been working on a 2009 car since 2007, has told GPWeek that, while his team of designers had not got as far as the “double-decker”concept which has caused so much controversy, their knowledge and head start may well have played into the hands of the teams with whom they found employment after Super Aguri’s demise. “Basically the SAF1 aero department began working on the 2009 rules in 2007 because the car we ran in 2008 was supplied by Honda,”he told GPWeek. “At the time I don’t think we had got as far as the double decker diffuser – however those people then went to work at Honda/Brawn and there was another of the guys on the project who went to Toyota quite early on as well! Ben Wood (SAF1 Chief Aerodynamicist) is now at Brawn under Loic Bigois, who came from Williams.” Preston insisted that the controversial design is an intelligent use of the regulations, thought up by a clever group of designers. “The diffuser is one of the most important parts on the car as it provides the suction for all the underfloor downforce. And it is very stable aero downforce. I am surprised they all missed it after two years of Technical Working Group discussions on the subject of 2009 aero. The diffuser is such an important part of the aero package. “Honda had a good plan integrating two teams [HRF1 and SAF1] and using the strengths and weaknesses of two groups to create something better. “As you know I am a big believer in innovation and two teams can be used in creative ways to deliver more than one. The small team can innovate on some things but the incredible knowledge base that a large team brings to them making those ideas reality is important.”