F1 shark fin fades back into obscurity in 2018


Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

The FIA have confirmed that from 2018, the unpopular shark fin will not be part of the Formula 1 car design.

A F1 Strategy Group meeting took place last week that finalised the decision, after the McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team failed to back plans to retain a big engine fin next season, at a meeting earlier this month.

The Woking based squad favoured a smaller version to what had been proposed, and were unwilling to support a move to the larger fin, despite months of work having already gone into bringing in the regulation, and teams creating their 2018 car designs with that in mind.

All teams must support a proposal for the regulation to be brought into play, and therefore with time running out it was decided that removing it completely would be the only possible alternative.

Having returned to the sport in 2017, the shark fin was widely criticised by fans and teams alike for destroying the new ‘sexier’ look of the 2018 machines. As the season has gone on however, people became used to the structure that featured on the engine cover of all F1 cars this year, and many teams believed it would be retained for the following season, developing their 2018 models around that theory.

Sahara Force India F1 Team Technical Director, Andrew Green, advised that although it is not a massive change to deal with, it is still something they had not been anticipating and will require extra work for the teams.

“It’s going to complicate matters slightly. It means we have to redevelop part of the car that hasn’t been developed, because we assumed the engine cover was going to stay the same.

“Now it’s not so we have to redevelop parts of the car accordingly. It’s not a big thing but it’s still something we have to do that we didn’t think we would have to do.”

McLaren Honda Racing Director, Eric Boullier, stood by the team’s decision, stating they have just followed what was in the current regulations.

“I don’t understand why everyone went to do something else other than the regulations. It has been voted months ago to go with no shark fin – a sort of mini shark fin.

“This is in the regulations for next year. Some teams believed it will change again, and wanted to keep the big fin.

“Then it was discussed to have a Mercedes style fin and in the end we just remind everybody what was voted six months ago. People have said ‘We have to change it; we’ve worked in the wind tunnel.’

“No problem, but you know regulations. There is no debate. So that is it.”