While ‘step’ noses were still occupying some in the F1 paddock, the sport’s purists were staring at the rear of the cars as the field of 2012 tested at Jerez on Tuesday.
With blown exhausts effectively banned this year, the new rules state that the outlets must now be visible from above. But according to Auto Motor und Sport, the Ferrari and McLaren solutions are not necessarily visible from a bird’s eye view, causing some insiders to predict a new controversy about the legality of cars this season.
So at Jerez, the game began.
“We have had a lot of correspondence with the FIA,” said Ferrari designer Nikolas Tombazis. “We believe that what we are doing is legal.”
McLaren’s solution is also innovative, with the side ‘bump’ seen at the launch of the MP4-27 still on the car at Jerez. One early analysis is that the team is using a rule loophole to cleverly redirect the exhaust air.
“There’s always a chance that somebody will come up with something that’s right on the border,” said Red Bull designer Adrian Newey.
Added Lotus’ James Allison: “So far we have a conservative solution,” he commented on the day Kimi Raikkonen went quickest in the 2012 car.
“We will watch the competition and also what the FIA says. Depending on how much they will allow, we will act accordingly.”
Some of the smaller teams are already expressing frustration.
“The FIA has said that the exhaust should no longer influence the aerodynamics. We support that and we will stick to that,” said Toro Rosso’s Giorgio Ascanelli.
Added Williams’ Mark Gillan: “The rules are actually pretty clear and we are trying to be on the right side of them.”