Newey questions safety rationale of rules changes

2014 F1 season

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Jerez, 2014Adrian Newey is concerned that some of the rules changes introduced this year on safety grounds may have an adverse effect.

Speaking after the launch of the Red Bull RB10 Newey said he had doubts over FIA rules requiring designers to build cars with lower noses.

Part of the rationale behind the change was to reduce the possibility of cars being launched into the air after contact, as happened when Mark Webber hit heikki Kovalainen during the 2010 European Grand Prix. However Newey is concerned the lowering of the noses may introduce other risks:

“Personally I am concerned that the opposite may now happen, that cars submarine, effectively, so if you hit the back of the following car square-on you go underneath it and you end up with a rear crash structure in your face which is a much worse scenario.

“There have been accidents where you think ‘would a low nose possibly have made things much worse?’ There was an accident we had a few years ago where Schumacher spun at the first corner and somebody mounted him. They might have made that worse.

“I guess it’s like all these things – it might help in some scenarios, it hurts in others. It’s one which I must admit, personally, I’m not in favour of.”

However Mercedes’ executive director for technical Paddy Lowe believes the solution is the “best compromise” available.

“This is subject that’s very complicated which has been discussed by the TWG [Technical Working Group] over the year but mainly under the guidance of the FIA Institute who do a lot of research in this area. They’re the ones who’ve come up with the recommendation that the low nose is the best solution, the best compromise for the range of different types of accident or incident that a car can experience.

“There is no one perfect solution to every single type of impact. You need to consider all sorts of interactions around other cars, particularly looking at impact onto the rear tyres. We saw Mark Webber in Valencia where the launch is the real risk, and that’s a particular one where the low nose is very helpful.”

Newey also queried new restrictions on the positioning of batteries for the energy recovery system. Red Bull previously located the batteries in and around the gearbox bell housing. Newey said this was “a significant packaging advantage allowed us to carry the weight at the rear”.

“That unfortunately has been removed because the battery now has, by regulation, to be in front of the engine under the fuel tank.

“I think that’s a shame really. I’m not quite sure why putting the battery under the fuel tank is safer than putting it behind the engine.”

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47 comments on Newey questions safety rationale of rules changes

  1. Please guys..don’t make him angry, you wouldn’t like RBR when he’s Angry.

  2. Breno (@austus) said on 29th January 2014, 16:30

    Arent the crash tests supposed to ensure that wont happen?

  3. astevo1989 (@astevo1989) said on 29th January 2014, 16:56

    Just seems as if newey thinks he’s made a mistake with his nose and wants to go back to the old style nose where his was dominant! Just like last year when RBR kicked off about the tyres and subsequently managed to get them changed back where they dominated there after! Personally cant wait for the new season with all the different various ideas on the regulations! Glad to see designers mixing it up and as for which one looks the best probably going to be the fastest car as that what f1 cars are supposed to be! If its a fast f1 car its a nice looking f1 car!

  4. craig-o (@craig-o) said on 29th January 2014, 17:21

    From that angle, that car looks as if it belongs in 2010…

  5. Robbie said on 29th January 2014, 17:37

    I trust AN’s opinions, but that doesn’t mean they are always right, and they can certainly be debated, and obviously are, when you have the likes of Paddy Lowe suggesting some good compromises have occurred. The only thing I find contradictory with AN’s comments is that while he is bemoaning lower noses and how they would affect specifically rear end collisions by having the rear structure hitting the rearward driver in this specific type of collision as he submarines under the car in front, I would have thought then that he would have celebrated them being unable to have the battery there to also come into the rearward driver’s face upon said submarining.

  6. Could by any chance the redbull be that bad as Mclaren last year? Bring it on! I ‘d love to hear how it’s the car that is crap and not Vettel!
    I believe that Monza this year will be as slow as 25 years ago! I mean come on less power (Monza is 70% full throttle which equates to around 60 seconds not 33.33…..) less downforce, slower tires and most importantly specific amount of fuel used… it will be painful to watch…
    Does anyone have a suggestion on which ’14 cars could be faster or at least comparable to the ’13 cars?

    • Heavier, slower tyres, harder to drive, so at least 1.5 – 3 seconds per lap slower for the start if the season…

      • Not to mention less fuel and restricted flow rate. But I optimistically predict the field will be much closer and nobody will notice much that the cars are slower. More retirements will probably mean the WDC and WCC will be tighter. WDC may only need 4-5 wins and some strong podiums to wrap it up…

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