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Teams in agreement to cover stepped noses in 2013

ESPN Staff
September 17, 2012 « Williams 2013 line-up still open - Wolff | 'Mercedes offer him much greater freedom on the commercial side' »
Stepped noses are a feature on the majority of the 2012 cars © Press Association
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Formula One teams have agreed to go ahead with regulations that will allow designers to cover up the current cars' stepped noses in 2013.

The distinctive look of ten of this year's 12 Formula One cars was a major talking point at the start of the season and on the whole received negative feedback from fans. The noses are a side-effect of regulations for 2012 aimed at protecting drivers from head-on or side-impacts and have resulted in a noticeable step in the noses of all the cars bar the McLaren and Marussia.

However, McLaren technical director Paddy Lowe has confirmed that the teams will have the option of introducing a panel to hide the step in 2013.

"We have agreed a rule that allows a 'modesty panel', which in effect means you can take the existing cars and exiting structures that have a step and put a cover there," he said. "The way it's managed is that the laminate and size of that panel is limited so that you can't create an aero [advantage] out of it and also so that it plays no part in the forward impact."

The FIA has yet to sign off next year's technical regulations, but with all the teams in agreement over the 'modesty panel', Lowe said the change will go ahead.

"It hasn't been formalised but all the teams agree with it and I can't see any reason that it shouldn't happen. If we all agree at a technical level that it's a good thing to do then it will happen; I can't see any real obstacle to that. It gets contentious in other areas that are more political."