F1: Red Bull, Lotus, Sauber Reveal 2012 Race Cars

Mike Stevens | Feb 7, 2012
  • Red Bull reveals 'slightly ugly' RB8
  • Lotus reveals 2012 car with stepped nose
  • Sauber joins 'stepped nose' club with C31
  • Teams to blame for 'ugly' field of 2012 - Whiting
  • Boss admits launch McLaren had 'plastic' exhausts
  • Alguersuari announces no F1 role for 2012

Red Bull reveals 'slightly ugly' RB8

Adrian Newey on Monday admitted his latest creation, the title-defending RB8, is a "slightly ugly looking" Red Bull.

The reigning champions unveiled the car in which Sebastian Vettel will push for a third consecutive drivers' title, and like most other models seen so far in 2012, it has a controversial 'stepped nose'.

Designer Newey said the car is yet another evolution of the 2009 model, the RB5.

"We've kept more or less the same chassis shape, but had to drop the nose just in front of the front bulkhead, which, in common with many other teams, has led us to, I think I'd probably say, a slightly ugly looking nose," said the Briton.

"We've tried to style it as best we can, but it's not a feature you would choose to put in were it not for the regulation."

Newey admitted there is "pressure" to stay ahead of the pack in 2012, confessing that while he enjoys regulation changes, he laments the FIA's "restriction" in the area of exhaust blowing.

"Whether that will affect us more than other people is difficult to know of course," he said.

"We designed the RB7, last year's car, around that exhaust position and were probably the only people to do so, so it may be that we've lost more than other people through that.

"Only time will tell, it will be good to get out to do some testing and to see where we get to."

(GMM)

Lotus reveals 2012 car with stepped nose

Lotus has become the fourth F1 team to reveal a 2012 car design with a controversial 'stepped' front nose design.

The former Renault team's black and gold E20 was launched on the internet on Sunday from its headquarters at Enstone.

Nose aside, another point of interest on the E20 is the disappearance of last year's innovative front-exiting exhausts.

"Our forward exhausts would now be illegal under the new rules and didn't live up to our expectations in any case," said technical director James Allison.

A second E20 is already at Jerez for the opening test of the pre-season.

Chairman Gerard Lopez, however, said the car is not likely to return the world championships to the former title-winning Renault and Benetton team.

"In 2012 we want to finish in fourth position or higher in the championship. Beyond that our aspirations are higher," he said.

(GMM)

Sauber joins 'stepped nose' club with C31

2012 sauber c31 f1 race car 04

Sauber on Monday joined the growing 'stepped nose' club by revealing its C31.

The Swiss team's new Ferrari-powered car - boasting a modified grey, white and red livery - was revealed at Jerez before its initial laps "for filming purposess" ahead of the opening pre-season test.

Like most other cars revealed so far in 2012, the Sauber also features the controversial 'stepped wing' solution.

Also spotted at Jerez was Toro Rosso's new car, which has a stepped nose as well. The Ferrari-powered TR7 will be launched later on Monday, as will Red Bull's title-defending RB8.

(GMM)

Teams to blame for 'ugly' field of 2012 - Whiting

The teams are to blame for the 'ugly' 2012 cars seen so far, according to FIA technical delegate Charlie Whiting.

Of the five new cars seen already, the Ferrari, Lotus, Force India and Caterham models feature variations on the radical 'stepped' nose.

Though the new McLaren sports a sleeker line, the less-attractive solutions are a quirk of the 2012 rules.

This year, the FIA is requiring the tips of the noses to be lower in order to protect drivers' heads in the event of T-bone crashes.

"We wanted to lower the survival cell to minimise the consequences of a crash into the side of another car," Whiting is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.

"But some of the engineers complained that they would have to build entirely new cars due to the accommodation of the suspension elements.

"So that's why we came up with making the new height requirement relevant not to the chassis but to the nose (only)," he explained.

While many initially lambasted the 'stepped' nose when seen for the first time on the Caterham, the hubbub is now becoming more muted.

"You criticise it on the first car but when you see it on the second or third you sort of accept it," former Jordan and Jaguar designer Gary Anderson agreed, according to Reuters.

Agreed Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo to Italy's Sky Sport 24: "It's ugly but the hope above all else is to win.

"The drivers just want it to be fast, without thinking if it's beautiful or ugly."

Ferrari designer Nikolas Tombazis added: "The nose? It's not pleasant but it's very efficient."

(GMM)

Boss admits launch McLaren had 'plastic' exhausts

Martin Whitmarsh has admitted that the launch version of McLaren's new MP4-27 car featured a dummy diffuser and 'plastic' exhaust exits.

With exhaust-blown diffusers effectively banned for 2012, the big technical talking point will be how the designers claw back that lost downforce.

McLaren gave nothing away last week, installing a fake diffuser and plastic exhausts on the version of the MP4-27 launched at Woking.

"The exhaust was made of plastic, you won't see those components in that form again," team boss Whitmarsh confirmed to Germany's Auto Motor und Sport.

On the F2012 car launched by Ferrari, the Italian team had hidden the exhausts altogether, even though there was no hiding the front 'pullrod' suspension layout, which has not been seen on an F1 car for a decade.

"The big teams have the budget to make these sorts of parts just for the launches," complained Force India's chief operating officer Otmar Szafnauer.

"The car seen at our launch is certainly a lot closer to its final configuration than the McLaren or Ferrari," he added.

McLaren and Ferrari will, of course, have to run real diffusers and exhausts this week at Jerez, where the first of just three pre-season tests begins on Tuesday.

But Whitmarsh noted: "The car will look different at Jerez to what it looked last week, and a lot different in Australia.

"At the weekend at Idiada (Spain) we did an aero test where we had a series of news parts that were not on the car at Woking."

Ferrari designer Nikolas Tombazis confirmed that the exhaust is now a main focus of the 2012 designs.

"There will be a lot of work before the configuration is final," he is quoted in La Stampa newspaper.

(GMM)

Alguersuari announces no F1 role for 2012

Jaime Alguersuari has announced he will be absent from the F1 paddock in 2012.

After two and a half seasons and at just 21-years-old, the Spaniard has lost his Toro Rosso race seat.

And the final spot on the 2012 grid, at the Spanish team HRT, has been secured by Narain Karthikeyan.

There has been speculation Toro Rosso sponsor Cepsa was unhappy with Red Bull's decision to dump Alguersuari, but the Faenza based team announced that the Spanish oil company is staying on board for 2012.

It has also been rumoured Cepsa's Abu Dhabi links could see Alguersuari become third driver at Mercedes this year.

Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo said an announcement about the driver's plans is due imminently.

"You will not see me there this year but I am content with the super experience Formula One has given me for my life," Alguersuari wrote in Spanish and Castilian Spanish on his Twitter page.

"Thank you all very much for your support," he added.

(GMM)

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Filed under: f1, Racing, News, enthusiast, red bull rb8, sauber c31, lotus renault e20

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  • 5valvepercylinder
    5 valve per cylinder says,
    3 years ago
    Think Ferrari has the most unappealing and quite frankly very boxy shape of this new stepped-up nose section with only McLaren still maintaining it's sleek slippery front.
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