Shark fins set to be removed completely from 2018 Formula 1 cars
The decision was made only this week, but an official confirmation from the FIA is due
The debate around the 'shark fin' engine cover has been on for sometime now in the 2017 season, but it seems like the decision has been made to remove it completely from the 2018 Formula 1 cars.
Force India's technical director Andrew Green revealed the decision was taken in the meeting on Tuesday, with an unanimous word not coming through after McLaren's veto - however, the FIA's confirmation is yet to come.
The Woking-based outfit proposed for a smaller fin than now, however, there was no support from the other teams, which meant it is to be dropped wholly from the regulations.
"It's clear, it goes [off]," said Green in Abu Dhabi. "It's going to complicate matters slightly. It means we have to redevelop part of the cars which hasn't been developed because we assumed the engine cover was going to say the same.
"Now it's not so we have to redevelop parts of the car accordingly. It's not a big thing but it's still something we have to do that we didn't think we would have to do," he added, but insisted the 2018 car is on schedule for the first test in Barcelona.
The bigger headache now for the teams is to find a suitable place to put the driver initials and numbers on the car. This year, the majority of the teams, not only used the fins to put the initials/numbers, but also used up the space for commercial reasons.
Red Bull Racing's Christian Horner said: "A month of so ago we had a meeting and I though we all agreed that we were going to leave the fin as it was and stick the number there. And then in usual fashion we left the meeting and things changed and Zak decided he couldn’t see his rear wing.
"He’s obviously signed a major sponsor for next year and he’s trying to get as much coverage as he can, so McLaren presented another variant. The problem is that the aerodynamicists then looked at it and said “well, that screws up the rear wing, so we don’t want that”.
"So I’m not quite sure, as we sit here, what we got. I think it goes back to what’s in the regulation, which is no fin and so we have to just work out where to stick the number. Maybe we’ll have another chat and see if we can persuade Zak this weekend to put the fin back."
Ferrari's Maurizio Arrivabene was more diplomatic about the case, but felt McLaren's decision odd, since they have pushed to remove a large portion of the car, which could have been used for commercial purposes.
"I’m quite neutral. I’m waiting for a decision. What is quite funny is that Zak said that the fin was interfering with the rear win, and in the meantime he said he would like to have more commercial space.
"So somehow he is removing the fin and doesn’t have anymore that commercial space, and on top he needs to find space for the number, so I think there is something wrong here," the Italian added.
McLaren's Zak Brown defended the decision for his team to veto the shark fin, adding that they are set to announce the two sponsors they have already signed up for the 2018 season - one of them being from the US.
"The rear wing is the very valuable spot on the racecar that with the current engine fin with the tight blocks the rear wing. I don’t think we… I’ve only been in the strategy group meetings for a year now.
"We don’t think enough commercially about some of the technical regulations that we discuss and so that there, if you look at today’s racecar, front wings are no longer commercially viable.
"We’ve got bargeboards and aerodynamic devices blocking the chassis side and now we’ve got this big engine fin that blocks the rear wing, so that was really more of a case of starting to free up some commercial locations on the racecar. "