F1 cars will be a lot less offensive to the eye next season, but the new rules designed to rid the sport of the ugly appendages that sprouted in 2014 should still allow room for variation.
That is the view of Toro Rosso technical director James Key who, speaking at the end of the 2014 season, intimated that there was more than one route that designers could follow in a bid for competitiveness next year.
The new rules include the necessity for two clear cross-sections, with the shape of the nose having to taper into the existing bodywork to avoid the proboscis designs that appeared up and down the pit-lane this season. The end of the nose section is also required to conform to a maximum width dimension of 14cm, again limiting the flexibility in design, although Key maintains that there could be some variation in thinking.
“They'll look prettier,” he grinned, “They'll definitely look a bit more sensible and probably be, rightly, a bit more robust as well for impacts. There's nothing wrong with what we have but, if you're going to use the length of the nose, then you probably want to use it all. The new regs allow you to do that, which is really the intention.
“There also comes a point where, and I don't want to go into too much detail, there are a couple of philosophies there and they flick from one to the other very quickly depending on what you can achieve with your design, so you might see a few diverse approaches to this. But they'll look much more recognisable….”
While the nose represents a key alteration to the 2015 rulebook, the rest of the car will have to be looked at as a result of the changes the revised designs will have on overall performance. Although Key stresses that the next Toro Rosso will take its lead from the 2014 model, he accepts that there will be some new thinking required, particularly with gains having already been made in other areas.
“We have [stuck with the same philosophy] because we believe that there is a bit more to be found there,” he noted, “The regs are still quite young in that respect and, particularly with the front wings, there is some stuff to be found there I think. It's going to lead to more intricate cooling technology and layouts before you begin to get your bodywork sorted out, which helps drag and the diffuser and all the other stuff. I think that will begin to kick in as the easier [areas of development] dries up, but there is still something there for us [to find]. There's a few philosophies in place on this year's car where we thought 'let's do that differently next year'.
“It's the second year [of the new regulations] and you think 'yeah, I understand this now' – we can see what the front wing is doing with these narrower endplate positions, we can see if the bodywork needs to come in further or not, package things differently, so I think the step you'll see if quite reasonable.”
Several of Key's peers have suggested that the 2015 design requirements will see all teams driven down the same path, but the Briton disagrees.
“I think there are two ways of doing it,” he teased, “Basically, you've got this much lower front section to the nose and you can take a shorter approach or longer approach which have both got benefits, so it could be that we see a bit of diversity there. It's kind of governed by the proximity to the FIA section in the middle and some other stuff, so there are several complexities that need to be figured out to get one solution to work.”
The new nose will also have performance implications, according to Key, who will be charged with overseeing Toro Rosso's bid to improve on seventh place in the constructors' standings, despite the team opting for two rookie drivers in 2015.
“Although [the noses] looked a bit strange this year, the reason they've got this anteater [style] and high arches is that you want to clear that [area] out, but your forced to go lower [for 2015],” he explained, “All of that area, and the stuff it affects behind, is definitely modified and I think it will make a difference to the devices and stuff that you'll see.”