The low noses on the 2014 Formula 1 cars has certainly generated some creative interpretations with many teams designing a finger or anteater type of nose that has many photoshop folks working overtime with salacious interpretations.

The nose height was mandated by the FIA regulations that took the original nose from 550mm to 185mm high. The reason for the change is to possibly prevent the cars from being launched in the air should they run into the back of another car such as Mark Webber experienced when clouting Caterham F1’s Heikki Kovalainen.

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If memory serves, I believe I recall the FIA suggesting that the high noses were also approximately head-high in a side impact as well.

Red Bull technical chief Adrian Newey has shared his opinion on the low nose telling Sky Sport F1:

“The regulation has been introduced following some research by the FIA which suggests that nose height reduces the chances of cars being launched,” he told reporters in a press conference on day one at the Jerez test.

“So [the rule changes is to try and avoid] the accident that Mark [Webber] had when he hit the back of [Heikki] Kovalainen in Valencia a few years ago. I must admit I am concerned that the opposite may now happen, that cars submarine effectively. So if you hit the back of the car square-on, you go underneath it and you end up with the rear crash structure in your face which I think is a much worse scenario.”

The low nose could create a host of other reactions in a collision that isn’t merely a rear-end impact as Newey suggested:

“And there have been some accidents where you think if a low nose would have possibly made things much worse? There was the accident a couple of years ago where [Michael] Schumacher spun at the first corner and somebody mounted him – with a low nose that might that have made that worse.

“I guess it’s like all these things; it might help in some scenarios, it hurts in others. It’s one which I must admit I’m personally not in favour of.”

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Regardless of the wisdom of the decision to lower the nose, it has certainly created a series of interesting interpretations. The Caterham F1 2014 chassis has an extreme version of the nose while Scuderia Toro Rosso has Formula 1 fans creating phallus pictures from their appendage.

Mercedes, Ferrari, Red Bull, Sauber, Sahara Force India and Lotus F1 have gone with low nose but lack the controversial dropping finger feature.

toro Rosso STR9 nose c600


Mercedes MW05 2 c600

An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry focusing on technology integration, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • peterriva

    Thank you for the informative insight. I’m totally puzzled by NBC’s lack of anything intelligent. So, what’s the good news? Formula 1 Blog to the rescue!

  • peterriva

    Oh, and I forgot… the solutiuon to the nose and crash issues?
    They are called BUMPERS.
    Coming to a racing car near you….

  • Brian

    I agree with Newey. It sounds like someone should send the FIA a copy of Taleb’s “Black Swan”.

  • mini696

    Don’t the FIA realise that its not the nose causing the cars to go in the air, its the open wheels.

    On a side note – Are you noticing the ads on this page now are for “Nose Jobs”?

  • xlr8r

    I think Newey is wrong with the launching vs submarine aspect of the noses. The cars have been launched off of rear tires because it is the combination of the high nose, and the rotational direction of the wheels. When the nose touches the the upper rear end of the rear tire, the tire is spinning upwards and forward, which contributes to launching the cars. But with these low noses, the nose will come in contact with the lower portion of the rear end of the tire. Here the direction of spin is rearwards and up, which would help prevent the nose from crash/impacting underneath the car. In fact the tire is spinning in the exact opposite direction to guide the nose to submarine under the car in front The tire will not help drag the nose underneath the car, but rather help stop the nose from going underneath, whereas the tires helped launch high noses.

    These engineers can whine, cry, and complain all they want, the problem is not that they have to design a low nose, but rather that they have gotten too used to having very high footboxes in the chassis. It is the combination of the high footboxes that the teams and engineers did not want to change, with the low noses that makes the cars ugly. There are plenty of other more attractive low nose cars racing today. Its hard to believe it, but the Indycar DW12 looks a lot more attractive now.

  • Shocks & Awe

    I just chalked this one down to Newey not liking what a low nose means to his aero package.

  • You know my friends, I know what this is! Has *nothing* to do with safety or any of that aurioldyanamics stuff *at all*. Think about it …

    Ahhh, of course, got it: It’s F1’s not so secret ploy to attract the world’s leading condom manufacturers as top dollar title sponsors for the teams so that the white knight can pay off who ever is after him with *all the $$ from TV licenses, track signage, paddock club hustle, shirt and cap stands, and speedy hot dog stands. With those noses the tobacco era of F1 will be nothing but a quick snuff up the nose in comparison. Took me a while to figure this out but finally it all makes sense – finally.

    However, I thought to really make a dent some teams should have really gone for it and gotten a wee bit further with the metaphor. Don’t you think a nose solution like suggested via the link below would have warranted much more success in terms of media attention as well as big cheques from said rubber manufacturers …

    I guess this season is not going to be PG-13 – is it?

    Yours P.

  • Rapierman

    Well, at least Caterham was different. It’s not a nose, it’s a tongue. :-P

  • Julian

    I wonder what Adrian is up to here. I noticed the most well endowed car so far is the Torro Rosso, with its tool hanging so low there is a danger it will trip over it. I find it hard to believe Adrian Newey didn’t know the designs for the torso Rossi, so why bring that up now? The low nose cannot have been a surprise, is he worried about his design?