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FIA wins appeal over mass dampers 23 Aug 2006

Renault nosecone and front wing.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Hungarian Grand Prix, Preparations, Budapest, Hungary, 3 August 2006

Renault’s hopes of using their controversial mass dampers this weekend have been dashed after the FIA International Court of Appeal deemed the system illegal on Wednesday.

The Court quashed the decision made last month by German Grand Prix stewards, who believed the dampers were within the rules, and instead agreed with the FIA’s original assertion that they infringe the technical regulations, which state that no part influencing the car’s aerodynamic performance may be mobile.

The damper comprises a free-moving mass inside a vertical spring, mounted in the nosecone. Its function is to reduce the sensitivity of the car's front end to differing aerodynamic loads, and to counteract the negative effects of tyre rebound over kerbs. (For Technical Analysis drawing, click here.)

Renault had been using the system since the end of last season and a number of other teams have also experimented with the concept. However, no one risked running the dampers in either Germany or Hungary, pending the outcome of the appeal hearing.

The full FIA press release:

DECISION OF THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF APPEAL

The FIA International Court of Appeal met in Paris on Tuesday, August 22, 2006, to examine the appeal made by the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile against Decision No. 8 handed down by the Stewards of the Meeting on July 28, 2006, concerning the T car of competitor Mild Seven Renault F1 on the occasion of the Grand Prix of Germany and counting towards the 2006 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Having heard the explanations of both parties and having examined the various documents and other evidence, the Court quashed decision No. 8 of the Stewards of the Meeting and ruled that use of the device known as a Tuned Mass Damper is an infringement of Article 3.15 of the Formula One Technical Regulations.

The International Court of Appeal was presided over by Mr Philippe ROBERTI de WINGHE (Belgium), elected President, Mr Pierre TOURIGNY (Canada), Mr John CASSIDY (United States) and Mr Anthony SCRIVENER (Great Britain).

The full text of the International Court of Appeal’s decision is available, on request, from the secretariat of the FIA International Court of Appeal in Paris.