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Newey fears new noses add to safety risks

ESPN Staff
January 28, 2014 « Hamilton suffers accident on first day in Jerez | Ricciardo: I'm here to win races »
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Adrian Newey has warned the new nose safety regulations, which have forced teams to design a variety of different nose shapes to bring them lower to the ground, pose a risk to drivers' safety.

The restrictions on the height of the nose were introduced to avoid cars launching over one another in an impact, but Newey is not sure whether the new noses actually made impacts safer.

"The regulation has been introduced following some research by the FIA, suggesting that nose height reduces the chances of the car being launched," Newey explained. "Like the accident Mark [Webber] had when he hit the back of Kovalainen a few years ago.

"I must admit I am concerned that the opposite may now happen and the cars submarine a little bit, so if you hit the back of a car square on you go underneath it and you end up with the rear crash structure in your face.

"There have been some accidents where you think would a low nose have made the accident a lot worse. If you think a couple of years ago when Schumacher spun and someone went into him [in Abu Dhabi], you wonder if with a low nose that would have made it a lot worse.

"I guess it's like all these things, it might help in some scenarios but hurt in others. It's one that I must admit, personally, I'm not in favour of.

"If the following car hits a rotating rear wheel it's going to get launched. But if you look back to [Riccardo] Patrese's accident with [Gerhard] Berger in Estoril many years ago, that was a low nose car that still got completely launched. For me it's introduced, possibly, more dangers than before."

Newey also questioned new regulations forcing the battery for the all-new energy recovery systems to be placed in front of the engine. Red Bull was alone in running its KERS behind the engine under the old regulations and Newey does not see why the rule needed to change.

"We chose to put the batteries in and around the gearbox bell-housing previous to this year, which we felt was quite a significant packaging advantage because it allowed us to carry the weight at the rear and still get the weight distribution and layout we wanted around the engine.

"That unfortunately has been removed because by regulation it has to be in front of the engine and under the fuel tank. I think that's a shame, it's been done on safety grounds but I'm not sure why putting it under the fuel tank is safer than putting it behind the engine. The freedom is relatively small, the only thing you really have freedom on is whether you carry your KERS control unit under the fuel tank as well or under the radiator ducts."

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