Formula 1

F1 Strategy Group tried to block return of shark fins

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World © Octane Photographic Ltd. Formula 1 - Winter Test 1. Max Verstappen - Red Bull Racing RB13. Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Tuesday 28th February2017. Digital Ref :1781CB1D3583

It has been revealed that the F1 Commission rejected a request from F1 teams to block the use of shark fins in 2017, an issue that was brought up during an F1 Strategy Group meeting last year.

With the introduction of new aerodynamic focused rules this season, the shark fin, last seen on F1 cars in 2011, has come back into fashion with the majority of squads in 2017, as they look to capitalise on the advantage they bring when going through corners.

The reason behind this sudden ‘fin love’ is down to the new, lower position of the rear wing following the rules changes, which means the airflow heading in its direction is now obstructed, causing dirty air.

This makes the wing less effective and re-angling it would create drag, and so to stop the car from becoming too slow, the teams needed a way of smoothing the airflow heading towards the rear wing. The rules state you cannot have a horizontal vane\wing ahead of the main rear, so the shark fin is the next best option.

However, whilst this option is in favour for aerodynamic purposes, aesthetically it has come in for much criticism from fans, as well as some teams.

Speaking during the first day of pre-season testing at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona yesterday, Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner made his feelings on the subject very clear, stating that they ruin the overall look of this year’s cars, and that alone should be a good enough reason to have them outlawed.

“The cars look fantastic. The only thing that lets them down is the shark fins.

“It’s something we raised at the F1 Strategy Group meeting last year, to ask all teams to remove them because it’s pretty marginal the performance gain they offer. In the interest of aesthetics, it was requested they be removed.

“That went to the F1 Commission and unfortunately it was immediately rejected by the majority of teams so hopefully it’s something that can be addressed for next year.

“The cars look great, it’s a shame this shark fin has crept in to a loophole in the regulations.”

Horner believes that producing good-looking cars is just as important a factor as everything else when developing a new machine. This year’s rule changes saw designers move towards creating cooler, meaner looking cars, but the Brit feels having the bulky fin detail has ruined all that effort.

“If you ask our aerodynamicist’s, they would like to retain it.

“The cars look more aggressive, they look more challenging and it’s wrong to ignore the aesthetics of the car.

“Unfortunately, this is a consequence of the rules but one that should have been able to be addressed quite quickly.”

As it stands it looks like the shark fin is here to stay, although the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team have been trialling a ‘T-wing’ option during this week’s test session, so watch this space.

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