The year of the ‘step nose’ is upon us. New for 2012, the FIA have sought to control the very high noses we have become accustomed to last year by lowering the maximum height aft of the bulkhead. This is an attempt to avoid the pointy edge of a nose decapitating a driver during a side impact collision. Good, I hear you rejoice, now we can expect those low sweeping noses of beauty we remember so fondly a la Ferrari F2001 and McLaren’s 2003 effort, the MP4-18? Well I am afraid not.
Not counting on the ingenuity of the F1 fraternity it seems that any subconscious efforts by the FIA to increase the cars sex appeal has backfired horrifically. Rather than lower the bulkhead in line with the nose, the teams have aimed to continue to maximise the airflow under it. The result is a horrific looking and often blunt ‘step’ appearing on the new 2012 challengers.
The FIA simply should have set a maximum height for the bulkhead to combat this. Caterham and Force India have attempted to add some curve (ultimately performance driven). Ferrari on the other hand have just given us a pure 45 degree straight line eye-saw, suggesting a technical hook up and sharing of data with LEGO. An ugly Ferrari? The horror, the horror.
The good old boys at McLaren have not followed the trend it seems. Last year’s cars nose was comparatively low anyhow meaning no ugly modifications for 2012.