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Multi-deck diffusers were actually banned for the 2011 season, having been run in 2009 and 2010 (much to RBR's delight, I'm sure).
While in 2009 other teams (McLaren, Renault, etc) interpreted the regulations very literally, the three teams that ran double-diffusers at the beginning of the year had exploited a loophole. Essentially, the diffuser itself had design limitations, but was a part of a broader set of regulations that governed other areas of the rear bodywork. Brawn, Toyota and Williams took advantage of a loophole that permitted "extra bodywork" within certain parameters, essentially creating an 'extension' of the diffuser, which itself was left within it's legal measurements. The debate was whether the 'extra bodywork' should be considered a separate entity, or a part of the diffuser itself. They weren't illegal designs, they were clever. The suspicions of FIA protection are just rubbish in my opinion.