F1 2012 Preview: A nose for style and some other changes
While it is still to be seen whether those at Woking have got their McLaren aero numbers right, they have at least won the aesthetic battle.
One of the changes this season is in the maximum height allowed for a car’s nose, a limit several centimetres lower than the rest of the chassis, and designed to stop cars lifting in the air after certain impacts. The result is cars with noses that step down around the front suspension and a look widely described as ugly.
Thankfully McLaren – and to a significantly lesser degree Marussia – have decided they can keep a slick and smooth front nose, and with it pretty much every style point going.
So at least the MP4-27 looks good sitting still.
Whereas last season we had new tyres, the return of Kers and introduction of DRS, this season the changes are subtle and unlikely to fundamentally affect what most will see unfold.
Pirelli have had a second go at their tyre compounds. They have tried to make this year’s different tyres closer in terms of time, with the idea to make strategies more unpredictable between teams.
But sadly they won’t be influencing races as they did at the start of 2011.
The FIA spent 2011 sorting out DRS – a return to Bahrain, Germany’s scheduled switch to Hockenheim and the new US Grand Prix in Austin now need to be worked in. DRS clearly increased overtaking and mostly added to the show without making things a joke. A second season of fine tuning will help.
Helium air guns have been banned from pit stops, so expect lightning changes to be a thing of the past.
And one more noteworthy change will see cars allowed to unlap themselves under the safety car, to leave the front runners free to race each other – which sounds like good news for fans and drivers alike.