The protest lodged by BMW-Sauber against three formula one teams' diffuser designs was thrown out by the FIA stewards.

The protest lodged by BMW-Sauber against three formula one teams' diffuser designs was thrown out by the FIA stewards.

It is reported that the paperwork fell foul of a simple technicality, although the other similar protests - signed by Red Bull, Renault and Ferrari - went ahead.

The verdict was expected later on Thursday, but it did not arrive until about midnight.

The stewards cleared the designs, but the protesting teams are likely to now appeal , with a hearing not able to be held until after the Malaysian grand prix.

It is believed a central theme of the arguments against the diffusers is that, despite the loophole, the three teams' interpretation contravenes the spirit of the downforce-reducing rules.

"If this is ruled to be legal there will be much more scope than has been made use of so far by the three teams," BMW-Sauber team boss Mario Theissen said.

It is also rumoured that, should the diffusers ultimately be allowed, BMW will be unable to design one due to limitations of the gearbox dimensions.

Another whisper in the Albert Park paddock is that even this diffuser issue can be traced back to F1's power struggle.

Renault and Red Bull have outlined how, when they asked the FIA about designing a diffuser with a similar concept, the answer was that it would not be allowed.

It has therefore been suggested that by clearing Brawn, Williams and Toyota's designs, the FIA was able to cause tension within the FOTA team alliance.

Toyota's team president John Howett said: "We used the consultation process with the FIA technical department and we are satisfied that they verified our interpretation."

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said the row is not a threat to FOTA's unity.

"This is a sporting and competitive issue, it's nothing personal against the teams, it's simply looking to clarify regulations and our interpretations and others has been different."

Howett agreed that there are no hard feelings.

"It's part of the sport we're in," he said.

 

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