The teams are to blame for the ‘ugly’ 2012 cars seen so far, according to FIA technical delegate Charlie Whiting. Of the five new cars seen already, the Ferrari, Lotus, Force India and Caterham models feature a radical ‘stepped’ nose.
Though the new McLaren sports a sleeker line, the less attractive solutions are a quirk of the 2012 rules.
This year, the FIA is requiring the tips of the noses to be lower in order to protect drivers’ heads in the event of T-bone crashes.
“We wanted to lower the survival cell to minimise the consequences of a crash into the side of another car,” Whiting is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport. “But some of the engineers complained that they would have to build entirely new cars due to the accommodation of the suspension elements.
“So that’s why we came up with making the new height requirement relevant not to the chassis but to the nose (only).”
While pundits and fans initially lambasted the ‘stepped’ nose when seen for the first time on the Caterham, the hubbub is now becoming more muted.
“You criticise it on the first car but when you see it on the second or third you sort of accept it,” former Jordan and Jaguar designer Gary Anderson agreed, according to Reuters.
Agreed Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo to Italy’s Sky Sport 24: “It’s ugly but the hope above all else is to win. The drivers just want it to be fast, without thinking if it’s beautiful or ugly.”
Ferrari designer Nikolas Tombazis added: “The nose? It’s not pleasant but it’s very efficient.”