The ugly ducklings

February 7, 2012

F1 is back! Today is the start of winter testing in Spain, and many of the brand new F1 cars (each team designs and builds a brand new model each year to suit the current regulations) are actually running on track as I write this. It’s an exciting time that follows the launch events of the cars (media events where the car is first shown – though Ferrari’s event was cancelled due to snow of all things). As excited as I am about the start of the new season, there is some bad news – F1 cars are ugly this year.

If you look at the “nose” of the car you will notice an odd and dramatic bump that lowers the height of the nosecone. Sadly, this is due to a change in the regulations that requires a lower nose for safety reasons, but allows the bulkhead (the part where the driver’s feet go) to remain at the same height as before. Each team’s aerodynamicist has crunched the numbers and determined that this ugly bump is the best way to go (it allows more to flow under the nose, which is then directed around the car and to the rear downforce-generating diffusor). I have nothing against a nose with a little character, but I’m having trouble getting used to these abominations.

There is some good news, however. For 2013, the bulkhead maximum height has been lowered too, so this will only be a single season affliction. And the even better news is that I happen to be rooting for the one team that has gone a different direction and has produced a truly beautiful car. Behold the McLaren MP4-27 driven by Jenson Button…

 

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One Response to “The ugly ducklings”

  1. […] year there are big rule changes including a new engine (1.6L Turbo V6 with ERS). Fortunately, the ugly duckling look to the cars has been banished by a rule allowing a vanity panel to smooth out the nose. The […]

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