LONDON (Reuters) - Formula One’s new crop of cars will look like something out of a science fiction horror movie with front ends that are the stuff of nightmares, according to Caterham principal Cyril Abiteboul.
“It does remind me a little bit of the monster in ‘Alien’,” the Frenchman told Reuters when asked about the nose on his team’s yet-to-be-revealed 2014 creation.
The new cars will hit the track for the first time in testing at Jerez in southern Spain next Tuesday but some teams are discreetly presenting them this week online.
Force India released a side-on image of their VJM07 on Wednesday, showing off a new, blacker livery while avoiding a front-end view. They said the front of the car was a temporary solution and would look very different for the start of the season in March.
“It is going to be ugly,” Abiteboul said of the Renault-powered Caterham, which will be unveiled in the Jerez pitlane on Tuesday.
”Kids should be dreaming when they see a Formula One car. I don’t know what sort of dream or nightmare you will get when you look at those cars.
“It does remind me of Alien...with something coming out of the mouth and whatever. It’s not very nice.”
The technical rules have changed significantly this season and cars have to combine a high chassis and low nose tip, which can be much narrower than last year. There has already been talk of ‘anteater-style’ solutions.
“I think it’s a natural consequence of the regulation and the impact system at the front,” said Abiteboul.
“It is what it is. Maybe we will have to address that as a collective issue of Formula One because we need to be seeing some dream,” he added. “I think it’s going to be a problem for Formula One that maybe Formula One will have to address.”
Formula One went through an ‘ugly’ phase in 2012, when cars had stepped noses in response to a regulation change introduced for safety reasons to ensure the high front end did not penetrate cockpits and injure drivers in an impact.
To improve the look, teams were allowed to use non-structural ‘vanity panels’ to cover the broken noses last year but the rules have changed again for 2014.
“Various solutions have been developed which satisfy the regulations but also try to recover some of the aero performance and that’s led to some structures that are a little bit different,” said Caterham technical director Mark Smith.
He recognized fans might not find the lack of flowing, continuous lines to be aesthetically pleasing.
“The regulation has obviously driven the tip of the nose down to help in certain types of impact situation,” he said.
“That has driven some solutions that clearly may not be the solution you’d come up with if you were purely looking for an aesthetic wing.”
McLaren are due to reveal their car on their website on Friday, with Ferrari following in similar fashion on Saturday and Sauber on Sunday.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Martyn Herman