Teams reach agreement over blown diffuser row

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In today’s round-up: an official agreement between all 12 teams has been finalised after Ferrari and Sauber agreed terms, meaning the FIA is likely to approve teams using off-throttle blown diffusers from the German Grand Prix.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Formula teams reach agreement over blown diffuser row (Autosport)

"Formula 1’s row over the off-throttle use of blown diffusers is now at an end, after Ferrari and Sauber agreed to join other teams in backing plans to ditch the ban on the concept.

F1 exhaust row ends in compromise (BBC F1)

"Formula 1 teams have agreed to a compromise deal to end the technical row that has split the sport at the British Grand Prix. ‘This thing was not really good for anyone,’ said Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali. ‘For the benefit of the sport, we took this action.’"

Surprised Horner says team orders was the right decision (Autosport)

"Red Bull Racing team principal Christian Horner plans to sit down with Mark Webber behind closed doors to discuss his actions at the British Grand Prix, after expressing ‘surprise’ that the Australian ignored team orders at the end of the race.

"Horner said: ‘Yes. At the end of the day the team is the biggest thing, and no individual is bigger than the team. I can understand Mark’s frustration in that, but had it been the other way around it would have been exactly the same.’"

McLaren and Sauber handed pit-stop fines (

"The McLaren and Sauber teams have both been fined for unsafe pit-stop releases during Sunday’s race at Silverstone."

Ted Kravitz takes a peek around Silverstone paddock (BBC F1)

"BBC F1 pit-lane reporter Ted Kravitz takes a tour around the Silverstone paddock after the Grand Prix, visiting the Ferrari and McLaren motor homes. Kravitz also catches a glimpse of Red Bull’s Mark Webber deep in conversation and chats to fans, getting their views on the rule changes."

Felipe Massa relaxed about wheel-banging battle with Lewis Hamilton (Autosport)

"Felipe Massa says he has no complaints about his battle with Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the British Grand Prix. ‘Well there is nothing really to say,’ he said. ‘I was close to Lewis going into the last corner. He went to the inside, I went outside, I went to brake after him and I was able to turn a little bit in front of him and he touched me a little bit, but I don’t think it was anything really wrong, in my opinion.’"

A good launch-pad for the second half (Toro Rosso)

"The British Grand Prix marks the halfway point of the season and Scuderia Toro Rosso ended it in good form, securing yet another point courtesy of a tenth place finish from Jaime Alguersuari. Our Spaniard has therefore scored at the last three races and, including Buemi’s performances, we have finished in the points seven times in these first nine races."

Max Mosley bankrolls phone hacking cases against the News of the World (The Telegraph)

"Mr Mosley, former president of the FIA, the Formula 1 motorsport body, effectively went to war with the tabloid newspaper after an undercover reporter filmed him engaging in bizarre sexual practices. He sued the newspaper for breach of privacy, winning �60,000 damages in 2008. It now appears he has also won a final battle, having watched the newspaper closed over the phone hacking saga."

Be loyal and stay with McLaren, Lewis Hamilton is told by his father (The Guardian)

"Lewis Hamilton’s father, Anthony, has urged his son to show loyalty to McLaren after it appeared the former world champion’s patience with the Formula One team was at breaking point ahead of Sunday’s British Grand Prix."

Paul di Resta has skill, focus and drive to be a Formula One champion (The Guardian)

"Raw speed alone has long been a trait insufficient to ensure a win in Formula One, let alone to become a champion. The modern greats combine their pace with determination, intelligence and an ability to focus and make complex decisions with absolute precision. These are the abilities that translate the tiniest increments into victory and Paul di Resta, in his debut season, has displayed them all. He may well be a champion in waiting."

BBC Formula One pundits should learn from Tour de France commentators and explain with subtlety (The Telegraph)

"Take Formula One. Drive round the track, first one to finish wins. On one level, the rules couldn’t be simpler. But on another, they could scarcely be more impenetrable if they were written in Aramaic. Blown diffusers, tyre strategies, any number of unfriendly acronyms. This gives broadcasters a decision to make.

"The BBC’s Formula One presenter, Jake Humphrey, who previously worked on Newsround, a programme that regularly takes on the most preposterous of tasks, such as explaining the Middle East conflict to a prepubescent audience. So when the blown diffuser row necessitated an assembly of the Extraordinary Technical Working Group on Saturday morning, Humphrey was ideally able to translate: ‘A technical meeting took place, with all the big teams.’"

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Comment of the day

Mark Webber has said he ignored Red Bull’s order not to try to pass Sebastian Vettel at the end of the British Grand Prix. Hairs says:

As usual, I think this is another clear instance of the people who should run the team (Horner) being kicked around by the bighead who thinks he does run the team (Marko). Just like the previous times Red Bull have been made to look like idiots, it has not been on Horner’s watch. I think he’s got a very sure touch, and his comment to Ted Kravitz "Not my orders, the team’s orders" was very telling.

And yet again, Marko doesn’t realise that
a) Vettel doesn’t need this sort of interference to protect his championship;
b) Webber is never, ever going to obey a team order;
c) Marko thinks we’re all as dumb as sheep.

"The team needed maximum points" is the same cheap, lazy, stupid argument Ferrari used to give one driver a preferred result. Let’s be clear about this: If your team are P2 & P3, and swap positions, then the team’s points don’t change one iota. The only thing that changes is the driver’s points. And in this case, all that they attempted to do was to maintain one driver’s gap over their other driver. The team don’t benefit at all.

What’s also telling is that both Vettel and Webber, in their comments after the race, seem to think that the team order wasn’t necessary at all. Vettel thinks the whole thing is amusing – in a way, he’s right, Webber ignored the team order but still couldn’t get past – all it proves in a real sense is that Vettel still had the goods on his teammate. Webber is a big enough man to admit when he’s beaten fair and square.

I think it’s reasonably obvious that both drivers have sorted that out between themselves, and have managed to race clearly, fairly and sensibly since then. The orders were ignored and "the team" got the result they wanted.

From the forum

How would you rank the F1 drivers so far this year?

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Dougy_D, Joaqo, Pabs1 and TomD11!

On this day in F1

Pedro Rodriguez, the elder of Mexico’s Rodriguez brothers, was killed in a crash during a sports car race at the Norisring on this day in 1971.

Twice a Grand Prix winner, and hailed a master in wet conditions, Rodriguez had been left to carry the flag for his country in F1 following the death of his younger brother Ricardo nine years earlier.

Pedro was driving for BRM in F1 in 1971 and had won for them at Spa-Francorchamps the year before. He was driving a Ferrari 512M at the Norisring when his car crashed and caught fire.

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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61 comments on “Teams reach agreement over blown diffuser row”

  1. I’m sorry, but I have to disagree with COTD there… Vettel can afford to finish 2nd in every GP left and still win the championship, but if he had just one 3rd, it’d go down to the wire, Vettel would’ve lost 6 points out of his gap to his nearest rival should Webber have overtook. Which would result in more fuss than needed for a championship that is clearly Vettel’s (Sorry, but I’m gonna say it’s his)

    Horner has every right to remind Webber of the rules, and if Webber decides to go, I doubt there’d be many teams that are willing to take a driver that won’t listen to the greater interests of the team..

    1. Vettel doesn’t need the team to interfere in the race results. You can see he held on on 2nd place after all.

      That’s the kind of bulls… we hated during the Schumacher era. Schumacher was the better driver, yet still got the massive advantage within the team. Did he need it? Not a chance… did he get it? yes.

      And if it does compromise his result at the end of the season, then tough luck. This is not how Red Bull claimed to behave last year. Remember all the fuss before the Brazil GP? People were saying they should’ve let Mark win the GP, so the team stood a better chance to clinch the drivers title at Abu Dhabi.

      But they held on, keeping Vettel with a long shot to get the title, instead of making it a bit easier for Mark, who was ahead in points. After Vettel got the title, Horner and everyone in Red Bull said: “this proves that you don’t need team orders to win the title”. And they praised their team’s policy against team orders.

      1. I for one do not believe Mark Webber disobeyed team orders, I believe it is damage limitation, he had the advantage of being less than half a car length behind Seb coming into the DRS zone and if he wanted to he could have left Seb in his dirt, instead he made his point by putting his nose alongside before backing of and falling into line, I guess technically it was not a lie as he did not exactly “maintain the gap”. In the middle of negotiating a contract for next year he is not going to disobey an order, he has a cooler head than that, without which he would not still be in the team.

        1. Personally, I think he did ignore them and pushed a lot more than the team wanted to allow him to, at least for several laps.
          But I do feel that he was extra carefull not to crash and backed off a bit in the last lap as Vettel was not cracking under the pressure.

      2. After Vettel got the title, Horner and everyone in Red Bull said: “this proves that you don’t need team orders to win the title”. And they praised their team’s policy against team orders.

        This is what bothers me the most. I can’t believe they’d pull this after so self-righteously putting themselves on a pedestal last year. I mean, I’m definitely on the no-team-orders end of the debate and want to see the best man win. But to see a team beat one drum last year and totally change their tune this year because now the rules allow such behavior… so much for being genuine. If this wasn’t Horner’s decision then he ought to have the cojones to stick to his words of last year and tell the boys to be safe, but have at it.

    2. Just as if Vettel would have to be worried about a mere 6 points, especially with it being his team mate in second!

      Not to mention the fact he could hold him off fine without need for the team meddling.

      As for

      Horner has every right to remind Webber of the rules

      this amounts to pure hyporicy for the RBR team who were stating they would never use team orders (when Webber could have kept his lead to Alonso last year) as it does not fit with their ethos!

    3. This team order shows Red Bull don’t trust their two drivers. It was absolutely useless, and Mark had all the right to attack Sebastian and the intelligence to do so without crashing into him.

      1. I was thinking that too – the order betrays a lack of trust in the ability and responsibility of both drivers.

  2. Paul di Resta has skill, focus and drive to be a Formula One champion

    Isn’t that a bit too early (to say the least) ?

    Sure he’s very fast and I like how he’s outracing Sutil this year (I hate Sutil). But still…

    1. Agreed. ALG has actually impressed me more.

      But it comes down to the press you read. The ones making those big claims are UK press. They are simply cheering on their home boy. Unfortunately the UK press are very influential in F1 as well and drivers are often chosen simply because of the media attention the drivers bring to the cars.

      Plenty of rookies have had good drives and finished well within the points, and hardly any of those drivers have become anything worth noting.

    2. Whenever I see di Resta I get the feeling he’s struggling with the car, which I guess makes his pace all the more impressive.

      His problem right now is he’s rivalling Schumacher on the broken front wings front (although this race I dont think was his fault). I think he has the potential to score consistent points and finish ahead of Sutil in the championship, but he needs to sort out his racecraft first.

      Perez has been the most impressive rookie for me so far this year, although it’s fair to say we haven’t seen much of him going forwards.

      1. IMO, Perez’s doing brilliantly. It’s the sort of driving you miss during the race and then he’s up there near the top 10.

        I’d also rate him top of the rookies. Though he’s on a much better car than the others.

        1. Yep, I was really stunned to suddenly see him appear in 7th yet again in the finishing stages!

          But I do think DiResta was not doing all that bad, but the team cocked up that stop and he got unlucky with Buemi closing the door too much. Maldonado had a horrible first stint, and never really recovered. Hard to rate the Rookies in the Virgin and HRT, they did fine just to stay out of trouble, I guess.

    3. I do think it is a bit odd to do such glowing pieces on someone and call the bad races in Monaco and Valencia “minor” mistakes, they might have been minor, but those are exactly the thing he shouldn’t do too much. But I do agree he seems to be doing well.

      But in fact, so is Perez, and Ricciardo did well in his first race too, d’Ambrosio has been able to show Glock a few times, even as he struggles with their car.

      Hard to say if any of them are future champions, it depends so much on circumstance too.

    4. Di Resta has indeed made it clear this year who is faster in qualifying. Yet to say that he has out raced Sutil is hardly the case. Looking at Mr. Collantine’s form guides, right now on race finishes it’s Sutil 4 and di Resta 3 with di Resta having spent more laps ahead (and this is telling of course). Sutil is ahead on points, and Force India surely is happy with these points, and if they hadn’t botched di Resta’s race yesterday might be closer in the constructor’s with Torro-Rosso.

    5. He crashes too much. But he looks very very good.

  3. Something struck me whilst watching Ted’s Pitlane Video. When he talked of Mclaren he said how it was a horrible weekend, which it was, and as a Mclaren and Hamilton fan, I’m usually pretty downbeat after a bad weekend. This time however, I wasn’t at all, and was actually pretty happy about the race. My conclusion – i have accepted the championship is over, and the lack of the stress feels great. Just seeing Lewis drive brilliantly, without having to worry about the result is such a good feeling after a year and a half of stress and focussing on points. It reminds me of 2009, which after the initial disappointment, was a season i thoroughly enjoyed watching. Can’t wait for the rest of the season now!!

    1. Jake, I could not agree with you more. That is EXACTLY how I feel. It is nice to not have to worry now, and just watch Lewis race.

    2. I hadn’t even considered this. But seeing Hamilton fight for 5th, having put up a very good fight against faster drivers earlier on, it didn’t feel depressing. It was a nice show of talent and racecraft in what was apparently a slower car. Perhaps removed from the burden of competing for the championship both Hamilton will drive better and we’ll appreciate it more.

    3. Was Ted standing in the McLaren garage at the time?

  4. Nice to see the teams reach an agreement, makes me wonder if this race will be viewed as a sort of fluke when we later look back on the season.

    Also, nice to see Massa so calm about the battle with Hamilton, considering it was one of the most intense of the season. A good race, I am glad to see someone other than Vettel win, though it feels weird to see that Alonso has as many wins as Stewart, who I view as being on an entirely higher level.

    1. remember they raced a lot less races per season back then!

      1. Oh I know, thankyou for reminding me though! I think Stewart only had 99 starts. That’s not too many nowadays, Vettel and Hamilton are both in the 70’s already.

  5. Related to team orders is the idea of a number one driver, an idea that Ferrari take to the extreme – to their detriment it could be argued.

    Their complete focus on Fernando arguably lost them points today, as it meant Felipe was left out too long, and lost time. If he had pitted just two laps earlier, something that would not have impeded Fernando, he would have caught the ailing Hamilton sooner and probably passed him.

    Their focus could be defended by pointing out that their lead driver won the race, something that ensures glory, points, women – all the perks.

    However, if I was the Ferrari boss, I like to think that the people I pay handsomely to run my team could multitask and allocate both drivers some attention, instead of leaving the unlucky one out on track far too long.

    I get the feeling sometimes that it’s only Rob Smedley at Ferrari who cares about Felipe.

    1. I get the feeling sometimes that it’s only Rob Smedley at Ferrari who cares about Felipe.

      Sadly, I agree with you. And that’s a shame, they need to remember the “team” when they are racing. It’s cruel to neglect someone who has given them so much, someone Peter Windsor had this to say about, “he’s a great guy – a very spiritual human being who is much more about dignity than he is pride.”

    2. It’s not really related to number 1 and 2, it’s just whoever is ahead gets the pick on tactics, Alonso was disadvantaged in China. I agree that it needs refining, since today if they’d pitted Massa earlier than Alonso on the 3rd stop would have posed no danger whatsoever to Alonso but could have helped Massa in his battle with Hamilton.

      Although it must be said that Massa simply didn’t have the pace of Alonso in the race today, I’ll wait to see the full stats, but Ted mentioned that Alonso’s fastest lap was 0.5s faster even though Massa had fresher tyres in the final part of the race when fuel was lowest.

      1. Not to sure about Massa being that much off Alonso’s pace, although I guess running up front helps a lot currently in F1.

        But I fully agree, that always pitting the guy in front first does not seem to work best for them. Red Bull did this several times too and had Webber suffer a lot for that as well.

    3. Do you actually have any proof it was a team decision and not just a tactical strategy by Massa’s side of the garage to keep him out?

      1. No, but Brundle and Coulthard implied it was a result of Ferrari’s favouritism.

        If it was a tactical strategy I think most people who visit this website are better qualified to make those decisions, it was clearly hindering him.

        1. Firstly, Brundle and Coulthard are in no better position to call than we are, especially as they didn’t have the benefit of hindsight.

          Secondly, I’m not sure but I think he finished in the same position he was in before the final round of pit stops, and he almost gained a place?

  6. Hurrah! The diffuser row is settled.

    And now back to posts with the word ‘Hamilton’ in them.

    1. Alonso is way better than Hamilton.

      1. Not in terms of generating page-views.

        1. Haha, comment of the year!

    2. That really surprised me. After Fernando’s victory I thought Ferrari will do everything to stop Red Bull from blowing their diffusers. When I read yesterday that the FIA will lift the ban if there will be unanimity between the teams on the matter I thought after the race: ‘Ferrari will never let it happen’. And yet…

  7. Intriguing how the EBD war has been concluded by returning to exactly the state of affairs that some consider technical breach of the rules and over which we heard that certain teams were going to protest at Monaco, or some other time, maybe.

    Hamilton’s dad manages someone else now. So his advice would be a conflict of interest. He should keep his opinions to himself.

    Why shouldn’t Hamilton be hacked off at the team? He spends the past two weeks working a cellphone booth at the mall, then he gets into a car on Friday to test updates that, surprise, don’t work. They stick him with a daft strategic choice on Saturday. Sunday he works like a fiend to get from 10th to 2nd and then he learns he didn’t have close to a full tank of gas. His pitstops were crap, though we will hear Six Sigma Blackbelt Martin Whitmarsh soon say he overshot the box by six inches or whatever. The bright side for Hamilton as that the team saved its most egregious fail for his teammate.

    I’m sure Whitmarsh would rather have DiResta in the car anyway, and Webber is not a popular man in parts of Austria now. So lets just get on with it.

    1. They stick him with a daft strategic choice on Saturday. Sunday he works like a fiend to get from 10th to 2nd and then he learns he didn’t have close to a full tank of gas

      Problem is you can’t pretend that these kind of choices were made with no driver input, these are decisions taken collectively, you can’t just say the team screwed him when Hamilton is part of the team that makes the decision.

      1. This has some points in it. But that does not mean the team is free of responsibilities on those fuss almost every racing week. Something have to be seriously addressed in McLaren…

      2. Yep, just compare to Di Resta telling us on TV, that his team wanted him to go out, and he overruled them and waited a tad longer in Q2. And got into Q3 with his lap (or compare Webber who admitted he was in on the decision that got him starting from 18th earlier in the year).

        The driver might be only part of the way they do things, but its not as if he is a passive bystander.

  8. Mark in Florida
    11th July 2011, 1:09

    Well Ferrari finally got a win. So now the teams can go back to their blown diffusers.I’ve always thought it was a bad idea to drastically change the fundamental way that the cars were built to perform.Just because Ferrari has never gotten their car quite right don’t penalize the other teams that did.

    1. I think this just might be the only win Ferrari will have this year. And I am a Ferrari fan.

      1. I am not so sure, already in Valencia it was clear they were finding more pace. So perhaps their talk of upgrades to the car working wasn’t so much an excuse to not have to say it was the changes of rules as we thought it was.

        By the way, we haven’t seen them on hard tyres, so we don’t yet know if they really found a solution for their problems with them, that might still be an important snag for their season.

  9. I support the use of team orders when they will get the team more points. Stopping Webber from passing Vettel wasn’t going to get Red Bull any more points.

    The argument that they shouldn’t race because they might take each other out is paranoid. If the risk of collision were that great, you’d tell your driver to never try and overtake anyone.

  10. Can’t wait to see on the Facts & Stats bit:

    Alonso – 27th win

    Equal with Stewart

    1. Hopefully Alonso will keep away from the Tartan!

  11. Happy birthday to Dougy_D, Joaqo, Pabs1 and TomD11 today!

    1. Thanks Bas, shame no Englishman on the podium as an early birthday present

  12. Really funny to see how Torro Rosso quitly writes around the issue of that crash for Buemi, referring to having been hit by Di Resta and how that ended his race. But not including the fact, that Buemi clearly closed the door on Di Resta and was rather a bit more to blame than the Scot for that incident

  13. I have to say that those fines for unsafe releases feel a bit silly to me.

    Certainly that fine for McLaren was useless. In the end the team (well, the driver, but he’s part of the team!) made sure that their driver didn’t go onto the actual track without his wheel nut; I can’t see how McLaren themselves wouldn’t try to prevent this happening again regardless of the penalty, if only to avoid the embarrassment.

    Sauber was a bit more ambiguous. I do see that those fines might be a sort of line in the sand, a signal, but I don’t really see them stopping anyone if it were about battling point positions.

    1. And for the sake of consistency with the stewards, I’ll keep an eye on Ferrari’s pitstops from now on – by my judgement they’ve released a car directly into the path of an oncoming car 3 times this year, in an attempt to maintain position (and have failed in every such attempt.)

    2. Kinda like how Ferrari got their fine last year after Germany. Really an insignificant amount in the grand scheme of things but teams should be punished nonetheless.

  14. Surprise surprise, Sauber pair up with Ferrari..

    1. Wouldn’t expect any less really seen as they’re using the same engine.

  15. Hmmm, I think this is COTD number 4?

    When do I get to dip my keyboard in the concrete on the F1Fanatic Walk of Fame?

  16. Don’t agree with the COTD.

    Personally I believe the whole Marko situation is very much blown out of proportion. Even if it is true it seems people prefer the romance of Webber actually breaking the rules as opposed to the rest of RBR using them to their full effect.

  17. HOW bloody boring is this just get on and race

  18. I think everybody is that obsessed with the Red Bull team order, they failed to see the ferrari one. Massa was clearly left out there as a rolling road block during the race. No other team does that, they sacrificed what would have been a good race result for him to make sure there was a huge gap to Alonso.

    I’m not fussed though because as a result of that Hamilton finished ahead of him in a slower car.

  19. I largely agree with the COTD, although I disagree that Webber is phyisically doesnt have the ability to overtake Vettel. More, I think he was knocked mentally by being told to maintain position. If he had been told to go for it, I reckon he would have found that extra couple of tenths needed somewhere to slip past.

    Such as a shame, I really feel for Webber. Last year and this year are the best chances he’s every going to get at the championship, and he knows it. Next year remains an unknown as we dont know if he will stay at Red Bull or if they’ll remain competitive.

    1. I think on this particular occasion Webber just ran out of laps to get the job done – another 3 laps or so and he’d have been past.

      What did occur to me, though, was that this is the first race that Webber has been on parity with Vettel in equal machinery (ie the last time he got pole Vettel had no KERS) for a while. Why is that? I think it’s because this was a return to less sophisticated blown diffusers. One of the theories going round previously was that when the EBD was first introduced, it relied far more on driver input, and was more squirrelly and difficult to manage. Webber was able to do that much better than Vettel and had much more consistent pace, as well as getting more out of it to start with. Once the “constant” EBD was introduced, that advantage went away, and Vettel was faster from then on.

      Cue this weekend, no “constant” EBD, and Vettel and Webber are well matched again.

  20. Mark Hitchcock
    11th July 2011, 14:06

    +1 respect for Massa.
    I’m sure there are quite a few drivers on the grid who would kick up a fuss about that contact but Massa saw it for the racing incident that it was.
    I know Hamilton’s been relaxed about it as well, but I suspect he’d be one of the ones to get angry if he was barged into and lost out.

    It’s also refreshing that the stewards saw it the same way, and that we haven’t seen too many articles slagging off Hamilton for the contact.

  21. I actually predicted that would be the COTD as soon as I read it! Brilliant stuff, Hairs. :)

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