BMW Sauber team boss Mario Theissen has admitted that it could be several races before the 'new world order' in Formula One can be challenged if the FIA court of appeal rules in favour of those teams with the most complicated diffusers.
BMW Sauber joined the list of teams officially protesting the designs employed by frontrunners Brawn, Toyota and Williams in Malaysia, all claiming that they contravene the new rules published for the 2009 season. Although its token protest was thrown out by the stewards in Malaysia at the weekend - in line with the Australian stewards who rejected an initial protest from Red Bull, Renault and Ferrari at the season-opener - the issue will not be resolved until the court of appeal meets in Paris in a week's time.
With most impartial observers enjoying the change in power that the new rules have brought, it is expected that the outcome will allow Brawn, Toyota and Williams will be allowed to keep their cars intact, forcing the other seven teams to do their best to come up with similar designs if they want to be competitive. That, according to Theissen, will not be easy.
"Everybody [is working on their own version]," he confirmed to journalists, "We cannot sit back and wait until the court of appeal is held and we have a decision. We have to work on it and we are spending money on it. The sooner it is sorted out the better, but you cannot expect to make up for such a big gap within a few weeks. And it is clear that the teams that have it already are developing their cars as well."
While the majority of teams are expected to be able to modify their cars to accept a version of the 'double-decker' designs that have caused all the controversy, it is understood that the Red Bull RB5 would require a major overhaul of its rear-end, aero expert Adrian Newey having gone for a pullrod suspension system in an effort to clean up the airflow to the rear wing. Ironically, the RB5 has proven to be one of the closest challengers to the 'diffuser three' in the hands of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel....
Meanwhile, the expected frontrunners from Woking and Maranello have yet to appear, as both McLaren and Ferrari struggle to get their original designs working perfectly. While the Scuderia also continues to shoot itself in the foot with regard to some of its tactical decisions, Brawn GP owner Ross Brawn - who used to call strategy for the Prancing Horse - admits that the 'big two' are lagging behind as much because of their recent success as a lack of ideas in the design office.
"It is a reflection of what has gone on in the last year or two," Brawn told reporters at Sepang, "McLaren and Ferrari had a championship to fight over and I can understand that it was very difficult for them to say 'look, we'll stop pushing this year and put our effort into next year'.
"For us, it was a very easy decision. It wasn't a clever one, just a very easy one - we didn't have a very good car, so why waste time on it?"