Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Nose Jobs

As I’ve mentioned before, “Formula 1 never sleeps.” And with the unusually LONG one month gap between Bahrain and Barcelona, it should come as no surprise that the various Constructors have been busy concocting new bits to debut in Spain.

Interestingly, during last week’s testing at the Circuit de Catalunya in preparations for the forthcoming Spanish Grand Prix. Honda and McLaren showed up with radical nose (“Snauzages”) treatments.

Upon the McLaren teams return from a brief “Holiday” on the isle of Menorca, Ron Dennis sent test driver Pedro de la Rosa to Barcelona to test drive a MP4/22 chassis with a “biplane” front wing. The extra wing element is mounted to the top of each front wing endplate and spans across the nose of the chassis.

These chassis developments are part of what has become critical for the entire F1 grid as a greater demand is put upon aerodynamics. Each Constructor spends countless hours in the wind tunnel searching for the slightest “aero” improvement, which are crucial towards increasing their team’s lap times. Yet then again the aero-gains must be balanced with mechanical grip in order to achieve maximum output on track as evidenced by Honda and Toyota’s mid-pack performance.

And can Honda claw its way out of its grasping at straws design by committee attempts to cure the woefully “SLOW” RA 107 with upgraded “aero-bits.” I suspect NOT. As Steve Matchett has stated before. “Son you’re gonna need more than just some fancy new piece’s of kit.” (Once a bad chassis, almost always a bad chassis)

Yet it will also be interesting to see if the FIA lets the Biplane noses become “de-rigueur” in Formula 1? Of course these new appendages would offer extra billboard space.

Now comes reports that McLaren will take the “"Bi-Nostril"” MP4/22 to the upcoming Spanish GP, while Honda’s “Dumbo Wings” will be scrapped. And while every bit helps, it doesn’t hurt having the reigning World Champion and the hottest Rookie on the grid as your current drivers either…