After 3 month of doldrums, Formula 1 fans can finally cheer again. This time of the year is usually filled with the suspense of waiting for the team to release their new car, with fans eagerly waiting to see how different the car is from the previous year, as the regulation has changed quite dramatically for this year.
While Caterham has released the detail of their car way ahead of the rest of the grid, this week we has witnessed the launched of 'big boys' i.e McLaren, Ferrari and also the Force India team. McLaren was the first among this trio to release their car on Feb 1st, where the MP4-27 was unveiled in Woking.
While Caterham CT-01 featured a platypus nose with stepped nose cone section to satisfy the 2012 regulation (Caterham coverage HERE), MP4-27 appears to adopt a more elegant solution, at least on the launch car. The transition of high tub to the lower nose cone is smooth. The car looks nothing like last years, particularly the sidepod where the aggressive U-shape cross-section has been replaced with a more familiar design, not unlike the MP4-25. Don't be fooled by the so-2011 wing, as they are indeed an old wing, the nose is particularly interesting as there is a secondary floor cascading the cone. The car also is shorter in wheelbase than before to compensate for the loss of rear downforce resulting from the ban of EBD. Therefore, the exhaust now has been relocated to the back of the sidepod.
However, unlike McLaren, Ferrari and Force India has followed the Caterham solution, respectively with their F2012 and VJM05. While Felipe Massa dubbed the car looks "aggressive" and Domenicali said it will kick-off the season with a win, so there must be some thing significant underneath the bodywork of the conservative looking F2012. However, Nikolas Tombazis, Ferrari Chief Designer said the car is certainly aggressive in its design approach, while simultaneously defending the ugly outlook. He also said the car will definitely changed by the time of the first race, particularly the exhaust layout as the definite configuration will only be decided after a series of test.
Force India also lift the lid of their VJM05 today at Silverstone. Like Ferrari, VJM05 also features a stepped nose, but unlike Ferrari, the transition between the higher chassis to the lower nose section is gradual, and eared like the CT-01 solution.
The Mercedes-powered car also features a heavily revised sidepod design, with long, flowing and heavily undercut towards the bottom in response to the changed in exhaust layout dictated by the regulation. Force India has also abandoned its blade style roll-hoop design. Like Ferrari, Force India also mentioned that the exhaust is not yet definite until the first test session.