I just completed damper replacement on my WFF 2001. You do not need to remove the control panel. I did, assuming I would need to. I managed it, but broke one of the bottom clips (but no bad consequences) and it took me a long time to work out how it was attached. The front panel is secured by the bottom right screw behind the soap dispenser and two at the bottom behind the kick panel (where you access that little drain pipe and get access to unblock the pump). You then release the door seal front retaining spring and detach the door seal. Then unbolt the door lock mechanism (two bolts with those star shaped holes in the top - forgotten the technical term) and push it inside. Lift away the panel and door. You then have full access to the dampers, which are bolted on, with captive nuts welded to the structure. The most difficult bit is undoing them, they are quite tight.
I bought original parts. They are twice as expensive as substitutes, but you never know whether it's the machine manufacturer over-pricing or the substitute manufacturer not caring about repeat orders! I would happily pay £40 insurance to avoid taking the machine apart again!