Webber: McLaren looks nice but we'll see which one gets most champagne

Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing. Formula One World Championship, Australian Grand Prix, Rd1, Preparations, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Thursday 15 March 2012.

Mark Webber strikes a pose for photographers in Melbourne

Mar.15 (F1 Media) Red Bull Racing’s Mark Webber claims that the less-than-attractive nosecones on this year’s F1 cars are not a problem for drivers – because they can’t see them when they are ensconced in the cockpit.

Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB8. Formula One Testing, Day 3, Barcelona, Spain, Thursday 23 February 2012.

Mark in the 'ugly' Red Bull Racing RB8

New bodywork regulations this year have led most teams to developed a ‘stepped’ nose design that has not proved aesthetically pleasing, but Webber, speaking in the FIA Thursday press conference, explained that the view from the cockpit isn’t so bad as forward vision is limited.

“You can’t see the nose from the cockpit so it doesn’t matter if it’s last year or this year, you can’t see it – we’re very low in the car,” said the Red Bull Racing driver. “Yeah, they look ugly for sure and that’s disappointing – Adrian [Newey, Red Bull chief technical officer] always make beautiful cars. The McLaren looks nice but we will see which one gets the most champagne. It’s an ugly regulation but that’s the way most of the teams have gone.”

McLaren has opted for a more conventional front-end design, aided by the low noses that they favoured for its predecessors: “Ours looks great,” smiled Jenson Button.

The change in regulation for this year is an effort to improve driver safety by ensuring nosecones are lower than the cockpit sides, thus protecting a driver in the event of a T-bone accident. The original intention was to lower the entire front of the car forward of the cockpit though teams successfully argued this would force them into costly resigns of suspension to accommodate the lower fixing points. The final design, with just the final extremity of the car lowered, is a compromise that fulfils the safety criteria without requiring the teams to alter basic suspension concepts.

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