By Alan Baldwin
BARCELONA (Reuters) – Formula One has put aerodynamics before aesthetics, with the new-look 2017 cars let down by “shark fins” resulting from a change in the rules, according to Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.
Apart from being wider, lower and on fatter front and rear tires, the new generation of cars stands out for having prominent fins emanating from the airbox behind the driver’s head.
Some are more brutal than others, with the Toro Rosso and Mercedes drawing rave reviews for their flowing lines while the likes of Williams and Force India have attracted less favorable comments.
“I think the cars look fantastic, the only thing that lets them down is the shark fins,” Horner told reporters on the first day of pre-season testing at the Circuit de Catalunya.
“It’s something that we raised at the Formula One strategy meeting last year to ask that all teams remove them, because it is pretty marginal the performance gain that they offer,” he added.
“In the interests of aesthetics, it was requested that they be removed. That went to the Formula One commission and unfortunately was immediately rejected by the majority of teams.”
The core Strategy Group incorporates the top teams only while all vote at the commission level.
Horner hoped something could be agreed for 2018 to make the fins a one-season wonder because the cars would be more attractive without them.
Red Bull have design ace Adrian Newey on their staff, a title-winner with three different teams and regarded as a master of aerodynamics.
That has traditionally been a strong point for the team, who managed to win two races last year despite their Renault engine offering considerably less power than that of the dominant Mercedes.
“I think it’s wrong to ignore the aesthetics on a car,” said Horner. “Unfortunately this is a consequence of the rules but one that should have been able to be addressed quite quickly.”
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Alison Williams)