A Nose For Safety

A Nose For Safety

Why That Stepped Nose ?

F1 NoseFerrari F150 Studio Images


The most obvious aesthetic change to the cars on the 2012 Formula 1 grids is that stepped nose. Not pretty, but it’s there for a reason – keeping drivers safe in the event of a massive T-bone shunt.

Over recent years the evolution of Formula One car design has seen the nose tips continually raised higher for aerodynamic performance. Nose tips were higher than the specified minimum cockpit height (a safety feature for all Formula 1 cars), exposing a safety risk to drivers in a T-bone impact or in certain circumstances contributing to accidents where cars have become airborne from riding up over another car.

In order to reduce the potential of a disastrous side impact accident, the F1 Technical Working Group agreed that for 2012 the removable nose cone cannot sit higher than 550mm (the same height as the protective structure of the driver survival cell).

The less than pretty stepped nose design seen on many of the cars was a compromise that some teams chose as a way to limit chassis redesign required to meet the new 2012 nose regulations.

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Note: Latest ‘Aesthetic’ Developments for 2013…

(see Regs Below)

Without compromising safety or the significant research and development that has led to the ‘duckbill’ noses, this stepped nose look  could disappear  in 2013, thanks to a change in the FIA’s technical regulations allowing teams to cover them with a dedicated fairing.

The revised 2013 F1 rules, allow an ‘aesthetic smoothing’ between the low nose and the high chassis.  Importantly, the fairings will not affect the car’s impact-protection properties and teams will not be able to modify them to gain an aerodynamic advantage.


FIA Technical Regulations… 

F1 2013 Nose Regs

Probable 2013 Direction…

Nose Sketch for upload

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