Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn says F1 could have been spared the awkward look of 2012-style noses.
Brawn said the ‘step’ – which features on all of the 2012 cars launched so far apart from the McLaren MP4-27 – is due to a compromise made to allow teams to continue using 2011 chassis this year.
Speaking after the launch of the Mercedes W03, Brawn said: “The high chassis and high noses evolved to get the air under the car, and to improve the flow in what we call the keel are and out into the sidepods and under the car.
“We don’t want to put the chassis higher because obviously that’s weight up higher and there’s no advantage to that. But we put it up high for aerodynamic reasons.
“So when the noses were brought down low we wanted to see how we could retain some of the advantage that we had with the high chassis. And that’s why you see these stepped noses – because the height of the nose is constrained up to a certain point, the chassis is constrained after that and the dimensions are different.
“This extra height of the chassis was retained because there were a few teams who said ‘we want to continue with our 2011 chassis, and we want to be able to match the new nose up to it’. So the FIA agreed, at least for now, to let that pass.”
Brawn added he is sceptical whether the compromise was needed: “I doubt, quite frankly, whether there’s going to be many people who are going to carry over their new chassis from last year.
“So I think it may well be a detail which will improve in the future.”
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