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Is that an F1 car you're driving or are you just happy to see me?
January 28, 2014 1:09 PM   Subscribe

Fans of the Formula 1 racing series spend the offseason poring through the next year's regulation changes before the unveiling of the new cars at the first testing session in January. The biggest change from last year is the switch from V8 to V6 engines, but since November fans and teams have fixated on something else: the new nosecone specifications result in an "ugly" car and quite phallic noses.

Despite valiant efforts by F1 analyst Craig Scarborough and others to dub the new proboscides "finger noses" or "anteaters" Twitter users and bloggers quickly ran with the dick jokes. Historically F1 cars aren't the least phallic objects ever, but what exactly has garnered such reactions from fans and journalists? All but one team revealed their new cars at the first test this week in Jerez, Spain and you can judge for yourself. The cars can be divided into three categories:

Category 1: the non-phallic
The three richest teams turned in designs that fulfilled the requirements but avoided the unfortunate "dick nose".
Red Bull revealed a car with a low, extended nose that will look strange to current fans but otherwise seems normal.
Mercedes also look relatively normal.
Ferrari's car takes inspiration from the platybelodon or a vacuum cleaner. No one really knows.


Category 2: the phallic
McLaren
Sauber
and Williams all have the expected nose.
Force India's is more prominent.
Toro Rosso's nose is considered so classically phallic that it's opened up new sponsorship avenues.

Category 3: the bizarre (and phallic)
Caterham unveiled a hybrid of last year's nose and the phallus.
Lotus revealed the most surprising design of them all, a pronged nose with two asymmetrical phalli. Each prong fulfills a different regulatory function, hence their different lengths. They've already had to defend their innovative design.

The varying nose designs are in response to new regulations that require lower noses than previously in an attempt to prevent accidents like Mark Webber's frightening 2010 crash in Valencia. One of the sport's biggest names has questioned the efficacy of the rules.
posted by edeezy (50 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
But will this make F1 more enjoyable for the fans? Nobody nose!
posted by davejay at 1:11 PM on January 28 [4 favorites]


Some of the best commentary about the new cars has been coming from Taki Inoue on Twitter. Ex F1 driver and generally incredibly amusing, self deprecating chap who is not shy with his opinion.

Worth reading of the F1 stuff interests you.
posted by Brockles at 1:15 PM on January 28 [4 favorites]


On a personal note, I don't think I've seen such ugly F1 cars ever. The massive variety and almost token nod to the rule (essentially to keep the nose of the car down in an impact through limiting the height of the crushable structure) suggests it isn't a well written regulation, to me.

The principle is that the height of the nose in recent years has led people to worry that if one car hits another (or an object/barrier) the 'hitting' car will ride up and go over the one it hits, leading to the driver himself potentially getting hit (in a T-bone style accident) or cars getting insufficiently slowed by crash barriers by spearing over them. An airborne race car is never, ever a good thing. However prominent engineers (including defacto 'best' engineer Adrian Newey, Red Bull's Chief Designer) think it has gone too far. Now they worry the crashing car will flip/elevate the car it hits instead, which could still lead to a car hitting a driver more forcefully.

But then, F1 engineers like to be grumpy about change...
posted by Brockles at 1:20 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


Further evidence that quitting cigarettes can improve your sex drive.
posted by chavenet at 1:21 PM on January 28 [3 favorites]


What passes for phallic these days.
posted by furtive at 1:22 PM on January 28 [11 favorites]


I'm no engineer, but the the airflow modeling they do for these things must be astounding. I was more interested in looking at the outer edges of the front foil! It looks like 5-10 seperate surfaces bending air up and around the wheels.
posted by stinkfoot at 1:23 PM on January 28 [3 favorites]


they look like arrdvarks/anteaters - silly cars for a silly sport
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 1:25 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


[Anything at all]

Twitter users and bloggers quickly ran with the dick jokes.
posted by yoink at 1:31 PM on January 28 [10 favorites]


Somebody needs to photoshop some chrome trucknutz in there.
posted by bukvich at 1:33 PM on January 28 [2 favorites]


I, for one, am disappointed by the lack of shout-outs the Great Gonzo has been getting in the coverage so far. I mean, c'mon...
posted by frijole at 1:34 PM on January 28 [15 favorites]


> The massive variety... suggests it isn't a well written regulation, to me.

I think that's what makes it a great rule, though. A lot of development in the last few years has been squeezed out of tiny variations on strict rules that have often been clamped down on afterwards like double diffusers, engine mappings, flexy wings, so this sort of wild variety is fantastic. I think the Caterham is my favorite so far.
posted by frijole at 1:44 PM on January 28


I'm not so sure Viagra would want to sponsor a series of perpetually detumescent dicks. Perhaps if they rigged them so that during the victory lap the nose slowly rotates upward? On the other hand, some portable vacuum company should get onto the Mercedes and Ferrari cars a.s.a.p. "They're really cleaning up the opposition this year"--the ads write themselves.
posted by yoink at 1:50 PM on January 28 [2 favorites]




Apparently I'm not as dirty-minded as I thought, because it takes a huge effort of will to see these droopy things as anything other than nose-like. Maybe if if they curved up instead of down...
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:53 PM on January 28 [5 favorites]


Here's an article on Newey's concerns: http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/formula1/25931008

I think that's what makes it a great rule, though.

Oh, from a competition perspective I completely agree. Variety is awesome for the sport (although aesthetically variety would be nicer). But from the intention of the regulation's perspective (to move the main area of the crash structure) then there is an argument that it is questionable in efficiency.
posted by Brockles at 1:55 PM on January 28


leading to the driver himself potentially getting hit (in a T-bone style accident)

Wait...you're talking about a situation where somebody crashes their nose-dick into someone else's cockpit? Yes, I can see that if that happened you'd be well and truly fucked.
posted by yoink at 2:00 PM on January 28 [2 favorites]


The protrusions remind me of tengu noses

Inverted tengu noses, surely. Also, I am proposing that the Lotus nosecone be renamed "The Shocker".
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 2:01 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


I realize that aesthetics aren't the primary concern but geez some of these are making me physically uncomfortable.
posted by tommasz at 2:04 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]



Apparently I'm not as dirty-minded as I thought, because it takes a huge effort of will to see these droopy things as anything other than nose-like. Maybe if if they curved up instead of down...
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:53 PM on January 2


Uhhh...if you experience a nose that points up for more than four hours you should seek immediate medical attention.
posted by Keith Talent at 2:10 PM on January 28 [2 favorites]


If these are overly phallic-- I really need to talk to my doctor.

As a fantastic marketing move-- I think an american sponsor should throw some money at Toro Rosso and paint a bald eagle's head on the front of their car, with the nose being the beak.
posted by Static Vagabond at 2:12 PM on January 28 [2 favorites]


I think an american sponsor should throw some money at Toro Rosso and paint a bald eagle's head on the front of their car

Given that Toro Rosso means "Red Bull" in Italian, I'm guessing that the Red Bull company is unlikely to be willing to part with its design on the car.
posted by The World Famous at 2:20 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


I've heard the McLaren's nose described as "nostrilly". The 2009 cars were far worse in terms of looks (in my opinion), particularly the Honda and McLaren. In the end, I couldn't care less, as long as we have a competitive season or even the more likely outcome, witness the brilliance of Sebastian Vettel, Adrian Newey, and the rest of the Red Bull team obliterate everyone else again.
posted by juiceCake at 2:21 PM on January 28


Speaking of the engine changes, here's a nice animation explaining how Renault's turbo charged V6 works (also from Craig Scarborough's site).

Lots of cool stuff, but maybe the coolest is how they'll be using a secondary fan behind the turbo to charge the KERS battery via a motor, then, when the driver needs power on corner exit, they'll draw charge from the battery to spin that motor the other way and thereby spin up the turbo to reduce turbo lag. Clever.

Lots of opportunity for engineers to tinker and tweak to find extra HP, earlier. Lots of opportunity for shit to break, too. Reliability will play a much bigger role in the results this season than it has recently.
posted by notyou at 2:23 PM on January 28 [3 favorites]


This guy is pretty mad about the direction that the designers have gone in.
posted by Runes at 2:26 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


But seriously, there's remarkable similarity between the teams at the lower end of the Constructors Championship. I've gotta wonder if they are all using the same aero software that found some local minima and went with it.
posted by Runes at 2:28 PM on January 28


Not necessarily, The World Famous. For the US Grand Prix several cars changed up their usual livery to feature advertisements paid for by North American advertisers (Verizon was prominent on McClaren, iirc). If an advertiser is determined to spend a lot of money to get its message on the car's dicklike beak, Red Bull/Toro Rosso Racing would probably take it.
posted by notyou at 2:28 PM on January 28


As hideous as the noses are, it at least hearkens to the days when there was significant visual differentiation between cars. If you removed the livery from any of the cars from last year, only the most detail-oriented fans would be able to tell them apart. This year? No problem.
posted by spiderskull at 2:31 PM on January 28 [2 favorites]


Not necessarily, The World Famous. For the US Grand Prix several cars changed up their usual livery to feature advertisements paid for by North American advertisers (Verizon was prominent on McClaren, iirc). If an advertiser is determined to spend a lot of money to get its message on the car's dicklike beak, Red Bull/Toro Rosso Racing would probably take it.

Everyone's got a price, I suppose. But the price that would convince Red Bull to replace the Red Bull livery on the Red Bull car would, I suspect, be unreasonably high unless it somehow enhanced the Red Bull branding.

On the other hand, I imagine that some other liveries would be a lot more expensive to change - for example, I suspect there is no amount of money that would get Ferrari to let you paint their F1 car white with a pair of blue stripes for a race or two.
posted by The World Famous at 2:53 PM on January 28


Verizon was prominent on McLaren

fwiw, that one was a logo swap by Vodafone in their usual space from their now-ended title sponsorship. They did the same thing with Zain in Bahrain (ugh)

unless it somehow enhanced the Red Bull branding

One of the major, long-time sponsors of "Infiniti Red Bull Racing" is Rauch, a fruit juice company. Its a little weird how they try to minimize the Red Bull logos on Rauch packaging...
posted by frijole at 2:59 PM on January 28


Its a little weird how they try to minimize the Red Bull logos on Rauch packaging...

Not to mention how they minimize Mark Webber by making him tiny compared to Seb. Poor Mark Webber.
posted by The World Famous at 3:03 PM on January 28 [3 favorites]


Ya I have to say I just didn't see phallices. The McLaren is really beautiful from every angle EXCEPT mid shin straight on, where you can say "heh heh. Penis"

Try looking at the McLaren again from a front 1/3 view. Astonishingly beautiful and different than every other car out there.

Sometimes a multi million dollar race car nose is JUST a race car nose.
posted by chasles at 3:19 PM on January 28


Also it's not the male humans fault that the shape of our genitalia happens to be extremely aerodynamic and streamlined in the same theme that would make a car go faster. Considering the root purpose of our most entertaining of appendages it makes a lot of sense.
posted by chasles at 3:21 PM on January 28


This car (from 1967) had an entire face on the front!

I am at best a casual F1 fan, so it was interesting to see the evolution of how they went from round monobodies in the 60's to a square and squat design in the 70's, then the front half of the cars slowly getting more and more weirdly beaky by the mid-90's or so. That's about the time I stopped thinking of F1 designs as "attractive cars that humans race in" and more as "freakish technological go-fast assemblages that happen to have a person inside".
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:33 PM on January 28


I think fans will get used to these cars after a few races, since the same moaning by some fans seems to occur after every F1 rule change. It wouldn't surprise me that some will be nostalgic for these designs in a few years.

I'm very excited for the change from KERS to ERS. With the old rules the batteries were refilled every lap, but now it takes two laps to fill up and the larger amount of charge can be used over one lap if one wishes. I hope this leads to more interesting tactical use of the speed boost.

Some of the best commentary about the new cars has been coming from Taki Inoue on Twitter. Ex F1 driver and generally incredibly amusing, self deprecating chap who is not shy with his opinion.


Taki Inoue has the misfortune to get hit by a safety car after a mechanical failure caused him to retire from a race.
posted by Harpocrates at 3:35 PM on January 28 [3 favorites]


Also it's not the male humans fault that the shape of our genitalia happens to be extremely aerodynamic and streamlined in the same theme that would make a car go faster.

As I understand the issue here, though, that shape doesn't make the car go faster - it makes the car compliant with a rule requiring a nose of a certain minimum width, length, and ride height that extends in front of the car a certain distance. It would be faster without it.
posted by The World Famous at 3:36 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


Taki Inoue has the misfortune to get hit by a safety car yt after a mechanical failure caused him to retire from a race.

Taki Inoue also had the misfortune to be pushed off a Pedalo into a little bay in Sicily, too. By me. He lost his lucky sunglasses and I had to dive down and get them before he'd forgive me. He's a nice chap (that was the one and only time I met him).
posted by Brockles at 4:40 PM on January 28 [10 favorites]


Honestly, the Caterham… Just wow.
posted by ob1quixote at 5:17 PM on January 28


Two things to add: (1) THE SOUND, it's fantastic. The complainers were dead wrong. (2) The Caterham looks crazy, but who cares because Kobayashi's back!
posted by spiderskull at 5:44 PM on January 28 [3 favorites]


My correspondent in Europe wrote me with a "fixed" version of the McLaren that I vastly prefer.
posted by ob1quixote at 6:08 PM on January 28


Kilroy is here.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:16 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


I really don't care what shape the McLaren is, as long as it is fast and reliable. They need to get back to winning form and sharpish.
posted by arcticseal at 6:47 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


I made penis jokes when my husband showed me pictures of the new car designs yesterday. He said he didn't really see it and suggested I remove my mind from the gutter and stop being a 12 year old boy.

I feel vindicated.
posted by Lapin at 7:25 PM on January 28 [2 favorites]


I really don't care what shape the McLaren is, as long as it is fast and reliable. They need to get back to winning form and sharpish.

Yes. Not actually being able to start the car on Jerez day one made me wince a bit. Not that I'll have winced as much as Woking, obviously.
posted by jaduncan at 1:05 AM on January 29


Apparently I'm not as dirty-minded as I thought, because it takes a huge effort of will to see these droopy things as anything other than nose-like. Maybe if if they curved up instead of down…

You really need to see them in 3/4 views. I was with you at first until I saw this.
posted by eriko at 6:49 AM on January 29


Two things to add: (1) THE SOUND, it's fantastic. The complainers were dead wrong

Wow, the turbo's louder than the motor -- it's hard to tell there's a reciprocating engine in there.
posted by eriko at 6:53 AM on January 29


The only car that the turbo was particularly prevelant on was the Red Bull as it passed in the pits. The cars on track were all induction/exhaust note except for a slight momentary whistle as the car was directly opposite the camera. The turbo is certainly not louder than the engine.
posted by Brockles at 7:01 AM on January 29


You really need to see them in 3/4 views.

Ehh...still noses to me. Big silly cartoonish ones, to be sure, but noses nonetheless. De gustibus etc.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:11 AM on January 29


Brockles, I'd love to hear a little more about that Taki Inoue incident ...
posted by philip-random at 10:22 AM on January 29


Well, at the risk of leaving too much googleability....

I was working for a team in Italy (No. 1 Mechanic at the time) and we had some time on the way back from the race at Enna in Sicily. Team owner is an ex-F1 driver and so was friends with Taki. Due to the way the flights fell and because the team had friends on the Island we had a day off and went to the beach. It was this fantastic little cove with a big rock in the centre of it. Gorgeous place, but fairly cold because it was off season (so no locals to be seen anywhere).

We'd been jumping off the rock in the centre of the tiny bay (crystal clear water which made it scary as I totally couldn't tell how deep it was) and generally horse-arsing around. The water was BLOODY cold. The other mechanics got hold of a Pedalo (don't remember how, but I seem to recall it was through loosening a chain rather than legit means) and were trying to see how fast we could go out to the rock and back (because motor racing, obviously - anything that moves becomes a race). Taki and Team owner then suggested that we all get on the Pedalo and see if it would still float. So I think there was 8 of us stupid enough to try it and we're all holding onto each other, laughing and farting around and trying to keep our balance on this tiny little floating thing. My memory is hazy (this was over ten years ago) as to exactly why but I suspect Taki said something sarcastic and possibly not at all deserving of a dunking, but I asked him if he had anything in his pockets and shoved him in when he said no.

Everyone (not necessarily Taki initially) thought this was funny, right up until Taki realised his lucky sunglasses had come off his head and sunk to the bottom. Then it officially 'Wasn't Funny' any more (although the other mechs were still sniggering). Whoops. We all dived in to try and get them, but they sank pretty quickly. Again, clear as crystal bottom so we could kind of see them. I felt pretty bad, as he'd had these sunglasses for years and they'd apparently been a significant factor in his race success at certain stages (Racing drivers are a superstitious lot). The pedalo buggered off to get him out of his wet clothes and then two of the mechs came out to help me with trying to get the sunglasses. They brought a mask and snorkel back and towed me behind the pedalo while I looked at the bottom for the sunglasses. At one stage I thought I saw them and dived down quickly, before realising the water was about twice as deep as I thought it was and what I thought were the sunglasses were actually two great big spiky anemone/other sea bottom things next to each other, as big as a grapefruit each.

Arses.

So after a bit of chin scratching we carried on trawling around and eventually I saw them and with three or four goes at getting down that deep (through the thermocline which shocked me so much I aborted the first attempt because the water got so much colder it took my breath away) I managed to get down to the bottom and get the sunglasses. It was deep enough that I had to put some effort into breathing and oxygenating (like a decidedly low rent free diver) before I could even get anywhere near them without my lungs bursting. Taki was pretty miserable and cold at this stage but was pleased to see his glasses back and was surprisingly magnanimous about it all.

Then we went for a fantastic seafood dinner, during which the Sporting Director tried to get me to ask the waiter for "a toilet with lots of milk and sugar" because he was 'teaching' me Italian. The dick. It was a fun day.
posted by Brockles at 11:07 AM on January 29 [9 favorites]


Here's a good comparison of the new McLaren and last year's car, it makes it easy to see just how much lower the new nose is.
posted by edeezy at 10:42 PM on January 30


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