F1 testing 2017: Red Bull's innovative 'pingu' nose on RB13 explained
Sky F1's Ted Kravitz on the purpose of the hole in Red Bull's nosecone, if it's legal, and whether it will prove a 2017 game changer
Last Updated: 27/02/17 6:44pm
Formula 1 is back in 2017, with all 10 teams unleashing their new challengers on track at the first day of winter testing in Barcelona.
There are T-wings, 'shark fins', and many other modifications on show as the sport moves into a new era of technical regulations - but one of the more eye-catching innovations has been the hole in the nose of Red Bull's RB13.
Explaining the design feature which has already been christened the 'nostril' or 'Pingu' nose, here's Sky F1's Ted Kravitz on what it is designed to do and whether or not it represents a 2017 game changer...
What are we looking at on the RB13?
Ted Kravitz: "It's easy to spot - it's the very first part of the car in the nosecone and it's got a hole in it.
"But the first thing to stress is that this is not likely to be a game changer for Red Bull. That's certainly the way all the other teams are treating it.
"The second thing to say is that it's legal. I can't find engineers from any other team in the pitlane who would say that Red Bull's interpretation of the rules on openings in the nosecone is invalid.
"And, thirdly, it's very clever."
So what does it do?
TK: "It's a hole about the size of a credit card and it ducts air underneath the nosecone.
"The intention is to disrupt what's called the boundary layer, which is when air starts to get disrupted over a surface. While it might not cause too much disruption at the point it's hitting the nose, the disrupted air only gets worse and worse the further downstream of the car it goes.
"So by tidying it up early on, you make sure the turbulent air doesn't cause any damage to the bargeboards or the really sensitive areas where you are generating a lot of downforce.
"If you look closely behind the front-wing pillars, there are also a couple of pencil-shaped ducts on either side. They essentially perform the same function, taking a little bit of the boundary layer and venting it to the top of the chassis or getting rid of it into a safe area before it can do any damage downstream."
Are there any other advantages?
TK: "There's another purpose and that is to work the central part of the front wing harder.
"You'll notice among all the complicated front wings on every car there is a rectangular box shape in the middle. This is because it is blanked out by the FIA rules to be an area you can't develop.
"What Adrian Newey seems to be doing by putting this nostril duct here is just increasing the airflow over this FIA section and making it work harder than it otherwise would."
Is it something other teams are likely to copy?
TK: "It's very possible seeing as Red Bull have set a precedent as to its legality. The interesting thing is that it's effectively a false nose. The real nose of the Red Bull is behind this little duct and that's the bit that's satisfying the rules concerning the size of the hole you can have on the tip of the nose.
"This will inevitably attract attention, but there are plenty of other eye-catching bits of bodywork on the Red Bull RB13.
"We will go through them all in Development Corner on Thursday at 9.15pm on Sky Sports F1."
The Sky Sports F1 Digital team will be providing live commentary from dawn until dusk for all days of winter testing while Sky Sports News HQ will also deliver live updates from trackside.