Newey raises safety fears

28/01/2014
NEWS STORY

Expanding on comments made ahead of the unveiling of his team's 2014 contender, Red Bull design guru Adrian Newey is concerned that the new rules could prove dangerous.

Earlier, Newey, whilst explaining the new aerodynamic rules cast doubt on the safety of the new nose regulation. "We have a lowered nose which is supposedly on the grounds of safety, to reduce the chance of a car being launched if one car hits another in a manner similar to when Mark Webber went up the back of (Heikki) Kovalainen at Valencia a few years ago," he said. "Whether it really makes a difference or not is a moot point, but it's been deemed to be safer so that's what we've had to go for."

However, later when talking to reporters he suggested that rather than improving safety the new noses, already the subject of intense discussion because of the aesthetics, could in fact prove more dangerous.

"The regulation has been introduced following some research by the FIA that suggests the lower nose height reduces the chances of the car being launched. However, I must admit I am concerned the opposite may happen... that cars submarine effectively.

"If you hit the back of the car square on, then you go underneath it and you end up with the rear crash structure in your face which is a much worse scenario," he continued. "For me, it has introduced more dangers than it has cured."

The Englishman also cast doubt on the positioning of the batteries used for the Energy Recovery Systems (ERS) which are now placed beneath the fuel tank.

"It was done on safety grounds but I'm not quite sure why putting a battery under the fuel tank is safer than putting it behind the engine but that's where we are," he said. "These batteries can suffer thermal runaway through impacts, through causes which are difficult to predict. Once they go into such a big battery pack then it's very difficult to control that fire. Frankly, put it in the pitlane and watch it burn."

All of which beggars the question, why are these points being raised only as the cars take to the track for the first time?

Whilst we're all busy laughing at the phallic shapes on the front of the cars, and F1 makes into the headlines yet again, will we still be laughing should Newey be proved right?

Chris Balfe

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Published: 28/01/2014
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