Who Nose?

4 Feb

It has been a long old winter break for us F1 fans, and although there’s snow falling outside for many of us today, it feels like the F1 Spring has finally sprung. Car launch season is here! So far we’ve seen 4 of the 12 cars for the coming season, with unveilings from Caterham F1, McLaren Mercedes, Ferrari and Sahara Force India. In this post I’m going to be looking at some of what we’ve learned so far.

The Noses

The main talking point for everyone has been the nose of the 2012 car. The stepped ‘platypus’ nose which we’ve seen on the Caterham, Force India and Ferrari isn’t exactly stunning to look at, but if it is good from an aerodynamics perspective then that is all that counts.

The three

When asked about the appearance of the Caterham CT01, Tony Fernandes said “Personally I love this car, and it’s very flattering that people want to talk about our car and our team, but the main consideration is that it is quick. As long as it is quicker than last year’s car I don’t think the looks matter, and I am sure that when all the other cars are unveiled we will see a pretty common thread running through all of them. I actually think it’s beautiful. It’s different, and different does not equal ugly – in fact I think its difference is what makes it beautiful, but then I am probably a bit biased.” (Caterham F1 Website).

McLaren have opted for a ‘traditional’ nose which is sweeps down gradually. Their nose has inevitably gone down better with the team’s fans, who have been quick to gloat about how ‘nice’ it is in comparison to the other teams. We shall have to see who in fact, has the last laugh when it comes to noses. It will be interesting to see which route the other teams have opted for as the other cars are unveiled, and whether teams will opt for some “in-season rhinoplasty” if they feel the other style is more effective. Which is the most effective? Who nose?

With two different styles out there, attention is inevitably turning to the Red Bull Racing RB8 launch on Monday. Which style will the master of aerodynamics have chosen? The picture that Red Bull have posted on their website to promote the launch shows a style of nose that is almost a hybrid of the two – a gentle lip at the top which then appears to curve down slightly. This may, of course, not be the actual nose, but if it is then Adrian Newey appears to have opted to go for the best of both worlds.

The RB8 promotional image

The Teams and Drivers

Car launches also give us the opportunity to see the new team congregated together, (race) suited and booted….well, most of them do.

Caterham F1 opted to just release images of the car in the F1 Racing magazine and on their website, and have so far only released interviews with Tony Fernandes and Mike Gascoyne. This is undoubtedly down to ongoing uncertainty about whether Vitaly Petrov will secure the second race seat alongside Heikki Kovalainen.

After last year’s drama, all eyes were on Lewis Hamilton at the McLaren launch. Hamilton didn’t appear as relaxed as his team-mate, but then he has more to prove. The McLaren launch was definitely the glitziest, but it struck me as being a tad too glitzy in order to compensate for a current lack of certainty. They have a major upgrade coming for the third pre-season test, and a cunningly disguised exhaust. Some are readying to question the legality of that exhaust after some leaked comments from a McLaren staff member.

Sadly Ferrari’s first run of the F2012 was disrupted by an exceptional amount of snow in Maranello, which resulted in an online launch. Despite the disruption of the weather, the message coming out of Maranello was loud and clear with regards to Felipe Massa – “buck up or you’re out”.

The Force India unveiling was quite traditional, and it was good to see all three drivers smiling and ready to go. Force India have a great driver line up and the battle between Paul and Nico will be great to watch this season.

Looking forward to the next few launches in the coming days, as well as the start of testing on Tuesday.

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