Wednesday, 13 November 2013

How does it smell?

You know the old joke - My dog's got no nose...

Well, you only have to look at Craig Scarborough's article in Autosport on how next year's cars might look and realise that it's a joke we'll be hearing, in revised form, for all of next year.

Because the cars are going to look terrible. Having got used to the duck-bill noses in 2012 and on some of the 2013 cars, we are faced with a Pinocchio-style (thanks @MarkDEvans) nose for 2014. Forget how the 1.6 litre engine will sound (great, incidentally) forget that the cars are still racing on 13 inch wheels which haven't been seen on any road car this century. That nose will be the talking point. For sure, as Stefano might say.

So why is it so hard to get regulations right? And why is it so hard to even decide how high the front of an F1 car should be?

The idea behind the high nose, if I recall correctly, was that when touching the rear wheel of the car in front, the car would not be thrown up into the air. No doubt Alonso was glad of that when Grosjean casually sidled past his ear at Spa last year.

Now, we're going low. Presumably the logic is that if the nose is low enough, it can neither be thrown up into the air nor pulled over the top of the wheel. Which sounds fine. But surely, in a sport with thousands of simulations being carried out each week, someone should have worked this out years ago?

It's similar with front wing end plates. All exposed edges have to have a radius of (I think) about 5mm. Which means that an end plate that theoretically should be as thin as possible, ends up being half an inch thick.

Why? To avoid having a sharp edge and puncturing the tyres of the car in front. Well that works just fine doesn't it. I'm not sure how many first lap punctures I've seen, where it hasn't even been necessary for the car with a damaged front wing to pit in order to replace the nose that is now sporting dangerously sharp pieces of carbon fibre after the slightest touch.

As an aside, I'm also amazed that, as the car with a razor sharp piece on the nose no longer complies with the regulations, it isn't black flagged to have a new one fitted...

What do I suggest? The FIA should employ someone clever: Ross Brawn, Craig, Gary Anderson (me even!) to go through the regulations with a fine toothcomb before publishing the regulations.

Please get it right for 2015.

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