BMW Sauber team principal Mario Theissen has admitted that it is unlikely that a revised aero package, to include its own take on the controversial 'double decker' diffuser, will appear on the F1.09 before the Spanish Grand Prix next month - and even then its use cannot be guaranteed.
Speaking in the wake of the Chinese Grand Prix - in which Red Bull Racing defied the belief that trick diffusers were needed to win races this year, but which focused greater attention on the technology - Theissen confirmed that BMW Sauber was being forced to evaluate the redesign of its cars in an effort to become more competitive that in the opening three rounds.
BMW Sauber currently lies fifth in the constructors' table, but Nick Heidfeld's four points represent a far lower total than the team had been expecting as it moved into the 'title contender' phase of its mapped-out F1 programme.
"There is no doubt that we definitely have to improve as quickly as possible," he wrote on the team's official website, "Apart from that, there isn't much to be said about the Chinese Grand Prix.
"The weekend had not even begun when the course of the future was set. When it came to the disputed 'double-decker' diffusers, the FIA appeal court reached a different conclusion to that of 70 per cent of the teams, who were of the opinion that this design doesn't comply with the 2009 regulations. Obviously this decision is a disappointment for us, but we will accept it nevertheless. At least how the regulations have to be implemented in this area has finally been clarified."
After pointing out that, by allowing the diffuser designs employed by Brawn, Williams and Toyota, the FIA was effectively back-tracking not only on its own Overtaking Working Group's proposals to reduce downforce and cornering speeds, as well as imposing financial penalties on those now forced to redesign their cars, Theissen admitted that BMW Sauber would - indeed, already had - started work on its own aero revisions.
"It goes without saying that we began working on the design of a new diffuser several weeks ago," he continued, "The diffuser is the rear end of an entire aero package beneath the car. The concept is complex and only works if all the components up-stream - in the front area of the car - also are fully integrated.
“At the end of the day, it takes a far bigger effort than just copying a component and fitting it to the car. To channel the airflow beneath the car to the rear in a way that a double decker design diffuser really produces more downforce, the entire aero package - from the front wing to the rear - has to be fully revised.”
Renault and McLaren rolled out their own interim takes on the 'double decker' diffuser in Shanghai, and others are expected to follow suit in Bahrain this weekend, but Theissen admits that BMW Sauber is unlikely to be ready before Barcelona early next month - and even then may not be in a position to run the revisions throughout a race weekend.
“Our staff in Munich and Hinwil are working flat-out [and], as planned, we will travel to Barcelona with a new aero package," he confirmed, "Nonetheless, it has not yet been determined to what extent a modified diffuser solutions will be integrated there.”