Mike Stevens | Apr 15, 2009
Michael Schumacher and Ross Brawn at the opening round of the 2009 Formula 1 series in Melbourne, Australia. Photo by Wenny Wu.

Brawn GP boss Ross Brawn was subjected to a series of personal attacks as the FIA's International Court of Appeal converged for a hearing into the legality of the 'double-decker' diffuser.

Ferrari's legal representative, Nigel Tozzi QC, established the adversarial tone for the hearing in his opening remarks, slamming Brawn for his interpretation of the technical regulations.

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“Only a person of supreme arrogance would think he is right when so many of his esteemed colleagues would disagree,” he said, according to the Press Association.

Ferrari, Red Bull, BMW and Renault have appealed against the design of the diffusers used by Williams, Brawn and Toyota, claiming they contravene the technical regulations.

According to Article 3.12.5 of the FIA's technical regulations: “Fully enclosed holes are permitted in the surfaces lying on the reference and step planes provided no part of the car is visible through them when viewed from directly below.”

The diffusers under protest utilise a 'double-decker' design, containing two gaps to increase airflow and consequently, improve downforce, compensating for the new, narrower rear wings which have been introduced this season.

Mr Tozzi disputed the claim that the diffusers in question featured slots, not holes, saying the device's use is a deliberate exploitation of a loophole in the rules.

“Anyone with a command of English will tell you it is a hole, so do not let someone attempting to be clever with words defeat the express purpose of the rules,” he said.

"The appeal is not because we have not made the most of an opportunity, but because Brawn, Toyota and Williams have not acted within the regulations."

If the diffusers are ruled to be illegal, the 'diffuser three' face the prospect of being disqualified from the first two races of the season.

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However, sentiment emerging from the Formula One paddock indicates many expect the FIA to rubber-stamp the controversial design.

Teams using the diffuser have benefited greatly from the improved handling it has provided, occupying five of the six podium spots that have been on offer after two rounds.

This has prompted a majority of teams in the F1 paddock to begin designing their own, with Red Bull Racing's Christian Horner stating plans were underway to incorporate the diffuser into their car for Spain.

“That is potentially a big performance gain because the floor is the most powerful aerodynamic tool on the car. We are half a second behind the Brawns and we have to find that time as soon as possible,” he said.

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