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F1's 'submarine' cars spark safety woes

2014-03-24 09:47

SAFETY FEARS FOR F1: Caterham driver Kobayashi smashes into Williams' Felipe Massa at the 2014 Australian GP. Image: AFP

LONDON, England - Red Bull car designer Adrian Newey's pre-season fears about 'submarining' Formula 1 cars may have been realised.

Red Bull's criticism of F1's new era had to be heard amid the depth of the reigning World Champions' winter crisis after four consecutive seasons of dominance.

Newey 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.

Newy said: "I am concerned the opposite may now happen, that cars will submarine effectively."

Indeed, an alarming image of the crash involving Kamui Kobayashi  and Felipe Massa at the first corner in Melbourne has sparked safety fears.

The photograph depicts precisely what Newey had feared. The low front of Kobayashi's Caterham "submarining" under the diffuser of Massa's Williams was lifted 30cm off the Albert Park tarmac.

A similar incident at a higher speed could result in contact between the elevated rear-end and the head of the "submarining" driver.

Stay with Wheels24 for the 2014 F1 season – fresh reports every day.

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