Date: 10th May 2012 at 9:42am
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Over the course of the winter a lot of the discussions were about the designs of the 2012 Formula One cars front wings and noses.

A regulation change at the end of 2011 forced teams to re-think their design as the front of the nose had to be lower than in previous years to prevent it actually being higher than the cock-pit in the event of a side on collision.

This affected the majority of teams on the grid, which led to the unveiling of many different designs of front nose, but most notably, the broken nose design with a step.

The change didn’t affect the McLaren team as much as other teams as they ran a much lower chassis in comparison, which meant that they did not need to introduce a higher nose, or stepped nose, they simply continued their original design philosophy.

This obviously led to a lot of debate on who got the design right, with all the teams going one way and McLaren and Marussia [who hold a partnership with McLaren] going another way, many believed that it would be McLaren who got it wrong.

In Mugello, McLaren tested a new front wing nose design, it didn’t include a dramatic step, but it was visually a lot higher than the previous designs [click here to view], it might not look the same but the experts believe that this is a move to make the McLaren design similar to the stepped designs used by the other teams and the design could make its debut in Barcelona.

‘There’s a reasonable chance we will see it on Sunday, which will be the first time our drivers experience it,’ McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh told Autosport Magazine, McLaren of course were the only team to not take their main drivers to the test.

Neither Lewis Hamilton or Jenson Button took driving duties in Italy, with McLaren handing over the testing schedules to Oliver Turvey and Gary Paffett, who collected the necessary information and data for McLaren to make a decision.

‘We got a lot of feedback from Mugello, so we have the data to set it up and can find the performance on track.’

If McLaren opt to change their nose, Whitmarsh believes it will bring them a development boost in terms of airflow around the car.

‘Classically of course you are looking for lower drag and higher downforce, but be aware that nowadays incremental improvements are generally modest, In the case of the nose and front wing the attachment pylons are quite different and there are other subtle differences.

‘You are managing the airflow that is enjoyed by the rest of the car. Nowadays, in quite a critical part of the car you are looking to find very small improvements. [There are] a lot of restrictions around the back end of the car, so you generate more improvement by managing the flow that arrives there than by developing the rear itself.’