• Toro Rosso

Lotus nose needs clarification - Toro Rosso

ESPN Staff
January 27, 2014 « Easy to get it wrong in 2014 - Vergne | Mercedes unveils W05 in Jerez »
Toro Rosso launched its car on Monday © Sutton Images

Toro Rosso has questioned whether Lotus' 2014 nose design fits within the spirit of the regulations, saying the two-pronged solution needs clarification.

The Toro Rosso STR9 was unveiled in the Jerez pit lane on the eve of pre-season testing on Monday with a prominent low and narrow nose to meet new regulations regarding the height of the front of the chassis. Several teams have adopted different approaches to the nose, with the aim of satisfying the regulations while maintaining air flow to the underside of the car.

Lotus, which will not take part in the opening test this week but has released images of its car, has opted for two tusk-like tips to the nose, with one slightly longer than the other. The design meets the regulations in theory, while allowing for airflow between the two nose tips to the underside of the car.

"The Lotus nose needs some clarification, but it's a very clever idea," Toro Rosso technical director James Key said. "The question is really whether it is in the spirit [of the regulations], but we'll see."

Key stressed that he did not consider the Lotus nose to be illegal and said Toro Rosso investigated a similar concept.

An rendered image of the Lotus E22 © Lotus

"I don't think it's illegal, it's whether it's in the spirit of the regulations," he added. "We looked at it early on when the car was quite a bit less mature than now and in theory it was working well, but in reality we felt it had too many drawbacks. We didn't pursue that, but we kind of understand where they've gone with that. It could be worth a revisit when things have calmed down a bit.

"Our interpretation of a similar idea had a slightly different frontal nose, to the point we were happy that it would be accepted within the spirit of the regs. I'm not saying the Lotus isn't, it's a very clever interpretation, but it's also the most extreme out there."

He added: "The thing about the nose is that it's the most visible bit at the front of the car. That's the thing you notice and it's changed [compared to 2013] but the rest of it isn't that different if you look at it. It's very easy to get distracted by these noses but you have to look at the rest of the car and see what other people have done. "

Key said Toro Rosso has the scope to alter its design if it needs to.

"The thing with the nose is that you have to pin it down at one point because it decides a lot of the philosophy behind it," he explained. "There has been some interesting stuff we've seen in the pictures - the Ferrari is totally different and is quite nice actually. Ours was a logical choice on the basis that we thought fundamentally a high nose with the lower impact structure was given us our best results. We will try low noses as well, there will be changes to that and we have scheduled many nose changes in over the season because I suspect it will be an area of change.

"The logical thing is definitely to look at other solutions that are around and decide whether that forms a longer-term better plan or whether it's just a different way of doing the same thing. I think that every team will begin to assess that this week and see if there is a clever interpretation out there that you should be working on. The regulations are ripe for that kind of thing and you have to be open to change."

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