McLaren votes against keeping large shark fin in 2018

Credit: McLaren Media Centre

The McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team have voted against keeping the engine cover shark fin in 2018 at a F1 Strategy Group meeting this week, the only Formula 1 team to do so.

The Woking based squad are primarily against the larger shark fin proposed by the FIA, and want to see a smaller version introduced next season instead.

The FIA are in favour of the larger option as they feel it could be utilised to display bigger driver car numbers, making them easily visible to spectators. However, despite extensive rules having put in place and teams already working on their 2018 designs, McLaren have moved to veto the plans, which require unanimous support in order to be viable.

McLaren’s decision to go against the vote makes things difficult for those teams that have already put their design efforts into working with a larger fin, but McLaren believe a smaller version is needed to make the rear wing more prominent.

McLaren Honda Racing Director, Eric Boullier, also hinted when speaking to recently, that McLaren might favour a different option because it better suits their 2018 package.

“Maybe we have found a way to use the engine cover that works better. The cars are complicated today so it is difficult for Zak to find big stickers.

“But we are not playing games. Everyone is developing their own car so if you ask for something that is against our interests, I will not go for it.

“Some teams have tried to play something that was more suiting their car model, or whatever.

“But we have a regulation in place for next year, so if there is no unanimity then there is no reason to change.”

At such a late stage in the development process, a number of teams have expressed their annoyance at McLaren’s antics, and questioned their motives, with Sahara Force India F1 Team COO, Otmar Szafnauer, particular peeved by the Woking based squad’s non-conformity.

“We have to release an engine cover soon; it would be nice to know the rules. I thought we had it all agreed.

“McLaren I believe wanted to expose the rear wing more, but the rear wing isn’t exposed only because it sits so low now.

“That is why you cannot see the sponsor. More so than because of the fin. The fin hides it from certain angles but not from head on – you can’t see the fin from head on.

“For us it removes a pretty big area for the sponsors.”