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Diffuser appeal set for April 14 in Paris

FORMULA One's Australian Grand Prix diffuser row will be decided at an international court of appeal hearing in Paris on April 14, the sport's governing body said yesterday.

The International Automobile Federation (FIA) said in a statement that it had received appeals on behalf of Red Bull, Renault and champion Ferrari after Melbourne stewards rejected earlier protests ahead of today's season-opener.

The three protesting teams had questioned the legality of rear diffusers used on the new Brawn GP, Toyota and Williams cars.

The diffuser is a key aerodynamic element on all cars, helping air to flow under the car and exit smoothly for maximum downforce and grip, but Brawn and the other two have been accused of going too far with their interpretations of the new regulations.

Brawn, Toyota and Williams all say they have met the specifications.

The appeal hearing will be after the first two races of the season and before the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.

That means that the winner in Melbourne today and Malaysia the following weekend, if from one of the three teams under appeal, will have to wait before being certain of victory.

Six of the top seven places in Friday's second practice session were filled by cars using the contentious diffuser and Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said those teams had a clear advantage.

"Inevitably all of the teams, if that solution is now permitted, will all go off and pursue different variants of it."

BMW-Sauber team boss Mario Theissen warned that could be expensive at a time when teams are trying to cut costs amid the credit crunch.


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