Formula 1 could make moves to change the design of high noses over the next few years in a bid to try and avoid a repeat of the type of take-off accident that Mark Webber suffered in Valencia last year.
TheFIA Institute's technical advisor, Andy Mellor, reckons that cars being launched into the air after nose-to-wheel collisions, like when Webber struck the back of Heikki Kovalainen's Lotus, could be eradicated by tweaking regulations. Speaking in the Institute's new IQ magazine, Mellor says that ongoing research into F1 collisions may point to the fact that lower nose designs may be better.
"The key aspect is the nose height of the car behind, as this will determine whether or not launch occurs," said Mellor, who said more conventional designs often mean a nose will 'submarine' under a rear wheel rather than lift up in a collision. Another influential factor is velocity and the resulting fore-aft acceleration and vertical acceleration."
He added: "Nose-to-wheel science is solved. There are very definite parameters by which these contacts do not cause a launch. The knowledge exists, so it just needs to be eradicated."
Rather than banning high noses completely, he suggested that changes could be made to the design of the front wings so that they help keep the nose down in the event of a collision with a rear wheel.