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Melbourne stewards reject diffuser protest 26 Mar 2009

Williams FW31 rear diffuser.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, 26 March 2009 Timo Glock (GER) Toyota TF109 diffuser detail. Formula One Testing, Day Three, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Wednesday 18 February 2009. Brawn GP BGP 001 rear diffuser detail Formula One Testing, 16 March 2009, Jerez, Spain.

Albert Park stewards have thrown out a protest against the much-talked-about diffusers on the Brawn GP, Toyota and Williams cars, leaving all three teams free to race their designs unchanged in this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix.

Rivals suspect that Brawn GP, Toyota and Williams have found a loophole in the regulations which allows them to run a taller diffuser. The cars cleared Thursday scrutineering in Melbourne, prompting Ferrari, Red Bull and Renault to lodge an official protest, questioning the legality of the designs.

However, following lengthy discussions with the various parties, stewards reiterated their belief that the cars are legal.

"We are pleased with the decision of the race stewards but we prefer not to comment further on the situation,” said Toyota’s team principal Tadashi Yamashina. “This weekend promises to be a tremendously exciting Australian Grand Prix so we are now looking forward to starting the competition on track with the first practice sessions on Friday."

Williams' technical director, Sam Michael, added: "We are pleased with the Stewards’ decision and we have no further comment to make.”

Ferrari, Renault and Red Bull have confirmed that they will now take the matter to the FIA Court of Appeal, which cannot convene until next weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix has been run. Thus the outcome of the opening two races could be in doubt.