27 Mar 2009

Early season protests in Melbourne

6:35 am on 27 March 2009

In a controversial start top the new motor racing season, formula one stewards have the Brawn GP, Toyota and Williams teams to race in Sunday's Australian Grand Prix, after rejecting the protests of three rival teams.

After six hours of deliberation at the Albert Park circuit, the FIA said the officials had dismissed protests by Red Bull, Renault and champions Ferrari.

The three immediately declared their intention to appeal and an FIA spokesman said the matter would now be dealt with by a court of appeal hearing in Paris some time after next month's Malaysian Grand Prix.

Brawn GP, who have replaced now-departed Honda, have been comfortably quickest in pre-season testing with a car that most of the other 10 teams believe to be illegal but that the newcomers say conforms to the 2009 regulations.

Toyota and Toyota-powered Williams have faced similar accusations after also producing new cars with innovative but contentious rear diffusers -- a key part that governs the quick and smooth flow of air under the car to increase downforce.