Tomorrow is the big day. The FIM Court of Appeal will meet in Geneva to decide if the "spoon" mounted on the Desmosedici ridden by Dovizioso, Petrucci, and Miller in Qatar is legitimate. We all know about the incident. Four teams (Aprilia, KTM, Honda, and Suzuki) had lodged a complaint against the Ducati's appendage, which was rejected by the Stewards. The teams then decided to appeal, and the Appeal Stewards decided to refer the decision to the federal court.
The regulation states that the Court of Appeal has 4 weeks to examine and rule on the matter. The parties can present all the documentation they deem necessary, and the Court has the faculty to ask for the consultation of an expert on the subject or call witnesses during the session.
In recent weeks, the FIM has already guaranteed that it will reach a decision before the GP in Argentina. The judges of the Court of Appeal will, therefore, rule on the Ducati case tomorrow.
What could happen? The regulation provides for a series of sanctions, but it does not specify which ones can be applied to the various cases.
We can, however, postulate three different possibilities.
1st OPTION: IT'S ALL LEGITIMATE
It would be an across-the-board victory for Ducati, meaning that its solution will be deemed completely legitimate and that it is only used to cool the rear tire. In this case, of course, Dovizioso's victory would be confirmed, and the Desmosedici could continue to use the "spoon".
It would also mean that all the manufacturers will have free reign on the development of that component, and it would only be a matter of time before we see similar solutions on every bike on the grid.
2nd OPTION: DUCATI IS DISQUALIFIED
The Court of Appeal could also agree with the teams that protested and claim that the "spoon" is used to generate a downforce. This would make the Desmosedici that raced (and won) in Qatar irregular. At this point, it could be disqualified from the race.
This would mean annulling Dovizioso's victory, as well as Petrucci's 6th place. It would, without a doubt, be a very harsh sentence against the riders.
There is also the option, which is foreseen by the regulation, to deduct the points won in the manufacturers' championship only from Ducati. Dovizioso's victory would then be confirmed, and Ducati would go to zero in the ranking reserved for the manufacturers.
3rd OPTION: THE VICTORY IS CONFIRMED, THE SPOON IS NOT
There is one last solution that, on paper, would be a compromise and is perhaps the most probable. The Court of Appeal could confirm the result but prohibit the "spoon" from being used starting from the GP in Argentina. It would seem to be the option towards which the teams that carried out the protest are pointing. They had made it clear that they did not file a complaint to disqualify Dovizioso.
In a certain sense, something similar had happened last year in Formula 1 with the perforated circles on the Mercedes. The FIA had spoken of "limited illegality", meaning a negligible aerodynamic effect, and the Team decided to abandon the solution, in order to avoid further complaints.
The engineers are responsible for working on the gray areas of the regulation, FIM is responsible for shedding light on the matter.