Calling the FIA, Ferrari International Assistance has been a long standing joke with Formula 1 fans. Over the years the sport’s governing body have baffled both teams and fans alike banning technologies that according to the rules are legal in a way that (allegedly) favour Ferrari
This weekend at Silverstone we see a ban on the, off throttle diffusers. Although most teams in the paddock have similar systems in place, its fair to say that Ferrari’s conservative design approach in the last two seasons has left them lagging behind in this area. Adrian Newey seems to think Ferrari have the most to gain and Red Bull the most to lose through this mid-season rule change. “I’m slightly baffled by it because it’s been declared legal forever until this race.” He added “Ferrari probably got their exhaust to work that well so they are quite happy to see the back of it”.
This isn’t the first time a Newey designed car has fallen foul of the FIA. After back to back championships with the Williams FW14B and FW15 the teams active suspension system was banned at the end of the 1993 season even though there was no changes in the FIA’s rules Newey said “The obvious parallel is when active suspension was banned at the end of 1993, where there was no regulation change. Ferari couldn’t get their active ride to work and suddenly it was illegal for the next year”.
Renault is another team to be caught out having seemingly legal technology on their cars deemed illegal by the FIA. With Ferrari’s dominance coming to an end with Fernando Alonso’s 2005 world drivers title.
Integral to the Renault R26’s design was its mass damper system. Schumacher’s Ferrari was struggling to keep pace with the Renault, the legality of the system was called into question. Although the race stewards passed the car as legal the FIA court of appeal overturned the verdict citing the damper as a moveable aero device. The court of appeal couldn’t explain how a device fully enclosed by bodywork could have any effect on the cars aero.
The banning of the mass dampers had quite an effect on the performance of the R26 but Alonso still went on to take his second title.
Only time will tell what effect the banning of the blown diffuser will have on the RB7 but with Sebastian Vettel able to miss the next three races and still lead the championship, it will take banning the Red Bulls Left front wheel for anyone to challenge them for this years title.