Formula 1 Nose Height Is Unsafe - The "Submarine" Effect

Before the 2014 Formula 1 season had begun, Red Bull’s technical director, Adrian Newey had expressed his concern over the mandatory low noses we now see on this years cars.

But it wasn’t the visual element of the noses which caused the distinguished designer to worry, it was his fear of the noses potential to cause more havoc rather then prevent it.

When asked what his thoughts were on the radical new look of the front end were, Newey said, “The regulation has been introduced following some research by the FIA which suggests that nose height reduces the chance of cars being launched like the accident that Mark Webber had when he hit the back of Heikki Kovalinen in Valencia a few years ago.

“I must admit, I am concerned that the opposite may now happen, that cars now submarine effectively. If you hit the back of a car square on then you go underneath and you end up with a rear crash structure in your face, which is a much worse scenario.”

At the opening race in Melbourne on the first corner of the very first lap, we saw Kamui Kobayashi run into the back of Felipe Massa.




As you can see, this collision perfectly demonstrates the “submarine” effect Newey was speaking of.

Malaysia was a relatively ‘clean’ race as no major incidents occurred yet in Bahrain, only the third race of the season, we have once again seen a car being propelled off the ground due to it being struck from behind.


Pastor maldonado crash


After leaving the pits, Pastor Maldonado approached the first corner far too fast and unfortunately collided with the back right rear of Esteban Gutierrez’s Sauber; the car consequently being launched into the air by the Lotus.

As such, two out of the three races this year have brought to life Newey’s fears of cars either being hurled into the air or “submarined” under one another due to the lower nosed design.

The FIA have revealed they have begun talks with the teams and engine manufacturers to see if it is possible to make the turbo V6 engines louder due to widespread negative feedback over the engines sound. However, the FIA should be heeding Newey’s warning, and change the unsafe nose height regulation as soon as possible.

Tags: Adrian Newey Bahrain Esteban Gutierrez Lotus Pastor Maldonado Sauber

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