Why do the 2014 Formula 1 noses look the way they do? This edition of Wind Tunnel will walk though the 2014 nose regulations and the subsequent circumventing of those regulations by teams in quest to increase performance and speed.
The rulebook, as deciphered by F1 Fanatic:
The area 50mm behind the tip must be [centered] at 185mm above the bottom of the stepped floor (which is known as the reference plane). This nose area must be contained between 135mm-300mm above the reference plane. In addition the cross-section must be exactly 9,000 square mm, but its shape is not restricted.
Furthermore, to prevent excessively arched noses, the FIA defined an exclusion zone which designers may not use. This zone is the area above the maximum nose tip height (300mm) and the front bulkhead height (650mm).
Finally, the length of the nose can not be shorter than front wing centre section and can extend forwards beyond the front wing.
Basically, the designers must have a minimum small nose section that sticks out in front of the larger nose. This reduction in nose height was an attempt to avoid the rising noses impacting the driver during a side impact, but after the Maldonado's incident in Bahrain, these 2014 noses are also coming under scrutiny for their safety.
Nonetheless, these are the nose regulations for 2014.
The trouble for aerodynamicists in choosing a design for their chassis' nose is deciding whether or not to use it to produce front-end downforce or to maximize the airflow toward the coke-bottle zone.
Marked in color below are the different nose interpretations.
McLaren MP4-29, Sauber C33, Toro Rosso STR9, Williams FW36, Force India VJM07
This first solution is used by most of the teams and works off the principle of maximizing airflow underneath the chassis and back around toward the coke bottle zone, the goal of the perpetually rising noses before 2014. This is considered the standard interpretation of the rules.
Red Bull RB10, Marussia MR03
This solution is very similar to the first solution, but Red Bull and Marussia's noses both look like they are not structurally connected to the nose, both tapering off after the regulation is fulfilled.
Ferrari F14T, Mercedes W05
Even thought the Mercedes and Ferrari noses look similar, the Mercedes boffins used a much looser interpretation of the rules.
The Ferrari F14T chassis nose is just a spread out section, as per "the cross-section must be exactly 9,000 square mm, but its shape is not restricted," and is used to create front-end downforce, both above and beneath.
The W05's engineers considered the nose center as a center-of-gravity, so they were able to raise the height and place some of the legal section over the front wing supports that obstruct the air anyway.
Lotus E22, (rumored Caterham CT05 switch)
The regulations stipulate that the chassis must have only one nose. While the Lotus may look like it has 2 noses, as per the regulations they only have one. The left prong (orange square) is longer than the right, and forms the legal tip.
The advantage of the Lotus nose is that their prongs exists just before the front wing supports, that block the airflow anyway, and therefore do not obstruct as much air as if it was on the centerline.
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