Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017

Red Bull tried to ban shark fins – Horner

2017 F1 season

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Red Bull tried to stop F1’s new rules from allowing teams to run shark fins, Christian Horner has revealed.

The vertical engine cover extensions, which were seen on F1 cars until 2011 when they were banned, have reappeared on this year’s cars and met with criticism on aesthetic grounds.

Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017
F1 testing day one in pictures
The Red Bull team principal believes they spoil the look of the new 2017 machines. “I think the cars look fantastic,” he said. “The only thing which lets them down is the shark fins, proportionally.”

“It’s something that we raised at a Formula One Strategy Group meeting last year to ask the teams to remove them to reinstate the because it’s obviously pretty marginal on performance gain that they offer. In the interests of aesthetics it was asked that they be removed.”

“That went to the Formula One Commission and unfortunately was immediately rejected by the majority of teams.”

Horner wants to reinstate the rule banning them for next season.

“Hopefully it’s something that can be addressed for next year,” he said. “Because the cars look great, it’s just a shame that this shark fin has crept in through another loophole in the regulations.”

“If you ask our aerodynamicists they’d like to retain it,” he admitted. “But I think from an aesthetic point of view the cars would look more attractive without it.”

Horner added there was one other feature on the 2017 F1 grid he doesn’t like the look of. “Apart from the McLaren colour scheme, everything looks great,” he said. “I think Ron [Dennis] must be going mad.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 53 comments on “Red Bull tried to ban shark fins – Horner”

    1. That’s it Horner stick the knife in and twist…..

      1. That was pretty mean of him. Bad Horner.

      2. Hey now, no need to get H-ornery! :P

    2. There’s always a reason why Horner would ask for a ban on a certain part…. and aesthetics definitely isn’t a part of it. Maybe because the rules around shark fins are open to innovation, he’s worried someone (Mercedes) might find a smarter way of implementing it.

      Nice jab at Mclaren. I completely agree with him that the Mclaren livery is absolutely hideous.

      1. Yep @todfod, we already heard before christmass that they tried to get them banned bc. they thought they needed them less than others who had less rake (like Mercedes?).

        I think the McLaren livery isn’t so bad from the top, and from the side it references the McLaren swooshes; could be better, but Horner’s nosehole car isn’t all perfect either.

        1. @bosyber, exactly – Horner has realised that, since some fans have expressed discontent at the shark fins, there is the potential to use the media to fan that discontent in the hope that he can create enough outcry to have the fins banned. This has little to do with aesthetics and, as most fans have quickly realised, is an unsubtle attempt to hinder Red Bull’s rivals by banning an aero device that he knows is likely to benefit them far more than it does Red Bull.

      2. Same thing for every team. All of them vote purely based on whether banning or allowing something helps them or harms others. Maybe red bull felt the sharkfin was giving them less performance than other teams. Or maybe other teams thought they were getting more performance out of it. All of them voted for or against it because of their own reasons though. Not just red bull.

        I think some aesthetic considerations are good to have too. Without any weight given to aesthetics we get these loong finger noses and sharkfins among other weirdnesses that do no good for F1.

      3. Don’t worry. The McLarens will be so fast and nobody can notice anything.

      4. I think Red Bull wanted to ban shark fin so that they could develop a more difficult-to-implement-but-legal solution in that area

    3. Eh, function over form, this is F1 FGS.

      1. Hence the arched back rear and front wing?

        Or for that matter the absence of ABS, electronic suspension systems, traction- and launch control? These are all ‘performance based’ features that you’d find in everyday road cars for crying out loud. And soon driverless cars with AI that would never make an umforced error would be the way to go from a pure “function over form” perspective, surely.

        F1 is clearly not just about performance along. It’s man and machine (constructors) competiting for victory against each other for the entertainment of the masses (ie the show). Rules that involve esthetics or for example driver aids have their place imho.

    4. Horner can complain about other liveries when Red Bull finds their clear coat again…

      1. Yep, Red Bull should take a lesson from Torro Rosso….Best looking car out there.
        Stones and Glass Houses, Christian.

      2. I personally like the Redbull livery. Especially matte.

        1. Yeah but sadly the red bull car has no tail on the bull and personally that ruins it for me.

    5. I don’t think they are particularly bad looking. They are okay, specially if they are cleverly livered, like the Ferrari which looks ace. In other cases it looks completely empty and it’s quite odd but it’s still an aero device which has a specific function, it’s not a stepped or fingertip nose which is purely a dimension requirement in the rulebook.

      The T-wings however, I hope they get banned.

      1. And here I thought I was the only one!

        I actually quite like the the fins. I always imagine a Formula 1 car as being more or less a fighter jet that just happens to drive instead of fly, and the fins further this impression. Some of them are really nicely integrated into the overall livery, such as Ferrari as you point out. They make the cars (to my eyes) visually look faster, as if the car travels so fast that the engine cover bleeds backwards.

        On the other hand, extending them all the way back until they touch the rear wing would look strange to me, as do the T-bars.

      2. I personally thought the Haas had the best livery/disguise on the shark fin

        1. I don’t know why its all so negative about the shark fin.
          Personally, I like it/them.
          They’re on the cars for a reason (albeit small), so why try to hide the thing. It should be incorporated into the styling of the livery……Williams style.

      3. @fer-no65 WHY ban the t wings? T wings are the kind of innovation that separates f1 from NASCAR…

        These are race cars not production cars, leave aesthetics out of it. If you don’t like the look, don’t buy one!… and frankly, keep it to yourself please. I don’t like yellow race cars… but I spare others the crying. Wish you guys would have the same consideration.

        1. I won’t keep it to myself, thank you very much. Why would I? this is the comments section and I can comment on anything I want as long as I follow the rules of this site. You like it, fine, say it if you want, as other do. I won’t dismiss your opinion if we have different points of view.

          That’s the “consideration” you’re talking about, accepting that others have different opinions about the same thing. It IS NOT keeping silent about something others don’t like, as you propose. Learn about it.

    6. Why everyone doesn’t like it? I like it, it looks good. At least the versions of Renault or Mercedes. The big one on Williams or FI is not so nice, but still it is faaaar better then step noses or dick noses…

      1. I agree completely……great for marketing……more space for advertising.

    7. This paragraph is broken.

      “It’s something that we raised at a Formula One Strategy Group meeting last year to ask the teams to remove them to reinstate the because it’s obviously pretty marginal on performance gain that they offer.

    8. Considering that the 2017 rule changes were specifically installed to make the cars more esthetica pleasing, it’s pretty strainge that the F1 commission allowed the sharing Fin imho.

      1. Agreed!
        Ban the Fins ;)

        1. Yes. I think they’re awful. They really detract from the appearance of the cars.

          1. lol, I meant shark vins obviously

    9. Could put 2 for 1 offers on them to increase their usefulness and class. My local JD Wetherspoon could probably afford the Sauber one. Pint and a punch for £1.50, strictly no serving before 8am.

    10. The Shark fins on the Renault, HAAS, Sauber and Mercedes look alright.

    11. Ironic as Red Bull (under his leadership) introduced the Shark fin in F1 back in 2008.

    12. Advertising billboards… i dont mind the little one merc trialled today although on the whole id rather not have them..

      1. Really looking forward to more high angle panned out side framed camera work this year.. advertising & big business calling the SHOTS here :(

        1. @ming-Ming
          Actually, as Horner says, their aero guys want them. It’s only the fans crying about it… you know, us fan that know nothing about designing top tier race cars…

          But please, continue…

    13. The Blade Runner (@)
      27th February 2017, 17:01

      “Horner added there was one other feature on the 2017 F1 grid he doesn’t like the look of. “Apart from the McLaren colour scheme, everything looks great,” he said. “I think Ron [Dennis] must be going mad.””

      A cheap shot from Horner! I would suggest that it is far easier to keep redesigning a livery around a fizzy drink can than it is to accommodate the heritage of a team like McLaren or Ferrari and the expectations of their huge fanbases.

      I suggest he sticks to what he is good at e.g. running Red Bull Racing and leaving women whilst they are pregnant with his child…

      1. Everyone with a opinion ( and arguments to support it) is entitled to express it. Cheep shots about someones private life do not belong here.

    14. I bet Horner actually wants the fins banned because of whatever that hole in the top Mercedes’s fin does.

    15. Ban that silly looking vacuum nozzle nose of yours.

    16. It should be banned on aesthetic basis… ASAP.

    17. Over the years there hasn’t been a lot I have agreed with Horner on. But the nail’s head was hit here. Shark fins are unnecessary for the little performance gain. What annoys me the most is that they’re not integrated into the design of the rest of the car. I’m not a technical expert here so forgive my appalling terminology, but the pipe that runs from the hole above the driver’s head (is that the air box?) had the bodywork neatly running over it, then just this single thin panel of carbon fibre. If they want to keep such a thing they should mandate that the entire bodywork above the pipe runs up to that height, even if it is hollow.

      And that last point, well, let’s just say I’m happy he said that.

    18. I just don’t like that they end well above the rear wing, it looks mighty odd. I think they should taper down from either half or 2/3rds of the length so that it ends flush with the rear wing, that would look much better.

    19. Horner is usually a bad guy, but he is correct this time.

    20. Despite being initially sceptical, I think they look fine on track. I also quite like the seagull wings as they provide some much needed variety.

    21. According to F1.com, the shark fin is much less effective on the RB because the front causes less turbulence on the RB13 due to the rake angles the team are renowned for. So, banning it would be an advantage for them, or at least a bigger disadvantage for others.

      As usual, Horner is throwing his voice from his trousers and I hope he is ignored by everyone who matters.
      Let each team build the best car they can under the regs and let the FIA decide if they are legal or not. If its passed as legal, the other teams need to beat it,
      – I do hate the constant banning of innovation in F1 triggered by teams who can’t make them work.

      1. Well said.

        This whinge has zero to do with aesthetics and everything to do with performance.

      2. Agree. When Horner waxes generally about F1, you just know he has a specific agenda. Such a transparent deceiver. It’s only going to become more adorable now that Bernie won’t be around to distract to deceive.

        However, RB’s agenda notwithstanding, these panel van fins are visually hideous to my discerning eyes. ;-)

    22. B-b-but Christian, just the other day you said the RB13 is the prettiest car you’ve ever made. And now it’s not?

    23. They’re hideous and should be banned, no question.

    24. As long as the Bulls are quick, don’t care what he says. Wish they went with similar colour scheme to STR.
      The Mclaren does looks like a Spyker-Marussia. Hopefully it doesn’t perform as badly too.
      Hope the Mclaren livery is a test-only one… seriously… makes last years colour scheme look gorgeous.

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