Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali has admitted that Formula One's much-publicised diffuser row could cause problems for the new-found unity among the teams, but laid the blame largely at the door of the FIA.
Speaking on the eve of the Chinese Grand Prix, Domenicali reflected on the FIA court of appeal's decision to reject appeals against the diffusers run by Brawn GP, Toyota and Williams in the first two rounds of the 2009 season, and conceded that the ruling could have repercussions for the strength of the teams' association.
“The situation should not have reached this point," he insisted, "The matter should have been resolved before the start of the season, in a very clear way.
"All of Formula One must learn from what has happened, because these events are not good for the image of the sport. It could have repercussions and cause a rift among FOTA member teams, as it is clear that tensions are now quite high. This is not a good situation as FOTA is very important for the future of F1, [and] these points will be discussed by us in a meeting scheduled for after the Bahrain Grand Prix.
"It is important to remain rational when looking at this and it is also important, when referring back to the appeal and the court hearing, to understand that this is not a fight between Ferrari and Ross Brawn, as I have seen in some papers. It is a simple case that seven teams had a different understanding to the three teams that were challenged. This is not a personal fight.”
Naturally confident of seeing Ferrari's appeal succeed, Domenicali also admitted to having been surprised by the speed in which the matter was resolved by the court of appeal.
"I am waiting with interest to see the full explanation behind it," he confessed, "It is strange in a way, looking at it calmly, that such a very long and difficult subject took little time for the court to resolve, therefore seeing the court's exact deliberation will be very interesting."
Regardless of his disappointment, however, the Italian underlined that converting the F60 to a specification comparable to the race-winning Brawn would not be the work of a moment - or guaranteed to succeed.
“It will take time to catch up,” he confirmed, "For us, this decision means that we must change our diffuser and, in order to do that, we must change the rear of the car. If we do a good job, we should be ready by the time we return to Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix - at least, that is our current target. As for the cost, it will cost a lot because we need to work in the wind tunnel, as well as redesigning and rebuilding the rear end of the car.