The flip flop bug has hit the FIA, which has now made a U-turn on its decision to ban blown diffusers in Formula 1. This means that the off-throttle blown diffuser is now legal again, after all parties unanimously agreed that the ban should be rescinded.

The issue reached boiling point at the British GP, where concessions (first to Mercedes engines) and counter concessions (Renault engines) caused anger in the paddock. FIA then realised what they’ve gotten themselves into, and rolled back the whole thing “to be fair”. Sounds avoidable if there was proper consultation. Here’s the official explanation:

“The matter was still being discussed because one engine manufacturer (Renault Sport) was reluctant to run with the settings we had imposed and continued to try and convince us that they would require alternative settings in order to maintain their perfect reliability record. At the last minute additional information was provided to us which we felt would be hard to refuse having already made a small concession to another manufacturer (Mercedes Benz).

“However, further discussions on Friday evening and Saturday morning resulted in us deciding that we had conceded too much and, to be fair to the manufacturers who had presented cars in what we considered the correct configuration, we should revert to the specification we had specified in our note to the teams on 20 June. This is how all teams then ran on Saturday and Sunday in Silverstone,” FIA said.

This would not be an issue next season, as teams have agreed to a new exhaust tailpipe position that exits the bodywork much higher up, and no longer in the vicinity of the diffuser. Any aerodynamic benefit will be kept to an absolute minimum as a result.

However, I have a feeling that some clever team will find a loophole and derive some benefit out of the new layout. The others will protest, and we go back to square one :)