At 4 pm local time at Albert Park in Melbourne for the 2009 Formula 1 ING Australian Grand Prix, the FIA Stewards of the meeting issued a list of entries and said all had been found to conform to the safety requirements of the 2009 FIA Formula One technical Regulations. On cue, as anticipated, protests were filed against the diffusers on the Brawn, Toyota, and Williams cars. Two had arrived by 4:30 PM and a third was expected. Stay tuned.

A diffuser is bodywork at the lower rear of the car intended to deflect airflow under and through as efficiently as possible. The word ‘clever’ has been used to describe the engineering gone into for the three teams.

The mandatory F1 Extrication Exercise was conducted Wednesday in the McLaren garage. The two Australian Medical Extrication teams did very well, including extrication using the required KERS safety equipment to guard against electrocution. Imagine how difficult it must be to safely and carefully remove a driver from a tight-fit F1 cockpit and then do it with big rubber gloves and rubber boots.

The KERS equipment will be distributed to the nearly 500 first responders Friday morning. At this point, it still isn’t known how many F1 teams will actually use KERS. While more than one team may have the car set up for KERS, some say actual use will be limited to two teams – Ferrari and Renault.

Thursday’s weather was sunny most of the day, but with a stiff breeze which tempered the warmth. Friday more sunshine is forecast but cooler temperatures.

Prior to the first Friday practice, the F1 drivers will be signing autographs in their designated space in pit lane from 11:20 am to noon, during the pit lane walk. This is a first for Formula One. Such autograph signings are common and often mandatory in many of the American series.

Formula One practice of 90 minutes is set for 12:30 pm local time, and a second 90 minute practice at 4:30 – 6 pm. It should be interesting to see how the cars do in the dusk. The track is 3.295 miles/5.303 km long, and considered one of the fastest F1 circuits. Changes for this year include flattening out the edge of Turn 12’s exit and extending kerbs and artificial grass on the exit of Turns Six and 12.