Schmidt's F1 block: kink in Formula 1 optics

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E it happened what we feared. The new Formula 1 class does not win a beauty award. And that's still politely expressed. The new cars from Caterham, Ferrari, Force India and Lotus look with their dent on the nose as if they came from the Lego kit.

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If they were just ugly, you could overlook them. You may get used to this over time. Do you remember the first cars after the major regulatory reform in 2009? With the extra-wide front wings and the narrower wings at the back. Today you only notice this imbalance when you take a second look.

New Formula 1 cars look ridiculous

No, the new Formula 1 cars are not just ugly . Worse, they look ridiculous. Like an amateur attempt at drawing a racing car. There is no elegance whatsoever. The 2009 Red Bull RB5 also had a bump on its nose, but it looked good on the car. From the front, the car looked like the good old Concorde on its approach.

The nose of the new platypus suddenly loses height. From now on it falls three inches down here. So far the only laudable exception is the new McLaren MP4-27. One can only hope that this car is also fast.

You could curse the FIA ​​for having this horror show brought on us by changing the regulations. But this time, for once, the world association is not to blame. The FIA ​​wanted to lower the entire chassis, from the cockpit to the tip of the nose. From 625 to 550 millimeters.

New regulations for more safety

The reason for this is the fear of a side crash if one car hits the flank of the other. The Zylon tear protection on the cockpit flanks only extends up to a height of 550 millimeters. So the noses shouldn't be higher either.

The teams protested. They resisted this security measure with two unsuitable arguments. Excuse number one: the new rule would force you to build new chassis. Bullshit: They do that every year anyway, with the possible exception of Hispania.

Excuse number two. If the chassis is lowered, it would be difficult to accommodate the suspension elements of the front axle in the fuselage, because the height of the upper part shrinks by 75 millimeters and therefore there would be less space.if you keep the old height below. Also a cheap red herring. The thickness of the chassis only shrinks if you build as high on the underside of the nose as before.

And that is exactly what engineers want. You also want the greatest possible height below the chassis to allow maximum air throughput to the underbody. What they forget is that it hits everyone equally bad if they give up a bit of height below.

FIA lets teams talk into it

The example shows that it is It doesn't lead to anything if you let the teams have a say in determining the rules. They are only interested in the lap time. And their own interests. If necessary at the price that the cars look like a duck or a crocodile in profile.

The FIA ​​made the mistake of giving in to the teams. According to Paris, their goal of making cars safer in the event of a side impact is also met if only the height of the nose is restricted, but not the chassis.

The outcry in the fan base shows how important it is that the cars are visually appealing. A Formula 1 car has to look spectacular, aggressive and made of one piece, with proportions that fit.

FIA should correct points

Apart from the terrible kink in the nose there are a few other points that need to be corrected. The modern cars are far too long for their 1.80 meters wide. Front and rear wings do not match. And there are far too many areas that are regulated. The cars look more and more alike.

You can only ask the FIA ​​to stop it. She also has a responsibility to make sure the show is right. And that also depends on the appearance of the cars. We expect the chassis height to decrease in 2013 as well. No matter what objections the teams have. The FIA ​​has proven that it can do something for the optics with the ban on station wagon-like airboxes, which were fashionable two years ago but were abolished in 2011.


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