Adrian Newey’s pre-season fears about ‘submarining’ formula one cars may have been realised.
Red Bull’s criticism of F1’s all-new era had to be heard amid the depth of the reigning world champions’ winter crisis after four consecutive seasons of dominance. Designer Newey, however, had expressed alarm about the new, low front noses, arguing not only that they are ugly, but they might also be dangerous. The reduced height minimised the risk of cars being launched into the air, but “I am concerned the opposite may now happen, that cars now (will) submarine effectively,” the Briton had said.
Indeed, an alarming image of the crash involving Kamui Kobayashi and Felipe Massa at the first corner in Melbourne has now emerged. The photograph depicts precisely what Newey had feared — the low front of Kobayashi’s Caterham ‘submarining’ under the diffuser of Massa’s Williams, which is lifted perhaps a foot off the Albert Park tarmac. A similar incident at a higher speed could foreseeably result in contact between the elevated rear-end and the head of the ‘submarining’ driver.