F1 cars could be fitted with a mandatory engine cover ‘shark fin’ next year. The move would be designed to help television viewers and trackside spectators easier identify the drivers, in the era of deep cockpits and ever-changing helmet designs.
Mercedes tested the ‘shark fin’ solution at the recent Magny Cours test. On the German squad’s test car, the shark fin featured the drivers’ race number, his national flag and his three-letter F1 initial.
“The teams have been working for some time on how to improve the identification of the drivers on the track,” team boss Ross Brawn told Auto Motor und Sport. “It seems to be a trend nowadays that drivers are constantly changing their helmet designs, which makes it very difficult to know who’s sitting in the cars.
“At the moment, the requirement for the size of the race number on the car is very small. The solution with the fin at Magny Cours was an experiment. Now we need to discuss with the FIA if there are better alternatives,” added Brawn.
He suggested the shark fin is not the ideal solution.
“You have to be balanced,” said Brawn. “If you have something that is so dominant, is the audience being distracted from the logos of our partners and sponsors?”
Brawn also revealed that Mercedes will test its so-nicknamed ‘triple DRS’ concept in free practice in Japan in two weeks.
“We could use it in practice and at the moment I think it’s very unlikely that we will see it in the race just yet,” he said.