McLaren defends shark fin block after Ferrari criticism

McLaren defends shark fin block after Ferrari criticism
Jonathan Noble
By: Jonathan Noble
Nov 25, 2017, 8:57 AM

McLaren chief Zak Brown has defended his team’s decision to block a plan to keep the shark fin in Formula 1, after criticisms from Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene.

Zak Brown, Executive Director, McLaren Technology Group
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H
Marcus Ericsson, Sauber C36
Nico Hulkenberg, Renault Sport F1 Team RS17

F1 teams had discussed the idea of keeping the shark fin engine covers in 2018 to help teams find a good location to position large race numbers.

But McLaren vetoed the proposal because it was unhappy that the fins were blocking views of the rear wing, which is valuable real estate for sponsors.

Arrivabene in particular questioned McLaren’s motive for the move – suggesting it was hypocritical for Brown to complain on sponsor visibility grounds when removing the shark fin cost potential space on the engine cover for logos.

“What is quite funny is that Zak said that the fin was interfering with the rear wing, and in the meantime he said he would like to have more commercial space,” said Arrivabene.

“So somehow he is removing the fin and doesn’t have any more that commercial space, and on top he needs to find space for the number, so I think there is something wrong here.”

But Brown has said that removing the shark fin was essential for his team’s sponsors, as he suggested rival outfits needed to wake up to the commercial realities of F1.

“The fin blocks the rear wing because it is too tall,” Brown told about Arrivabene’s remarks.

“What we proposed was an engine fin that started to come down and never broke the plane of the lowest part of the rear wing.

“If you look now on television, the second most exposed part of the racing car was the rear wing. Now, no matter what angle you are at, because of the height of the [shark] fin, and how close it comes, you never get clear visibility. So all we wanted to do was bring it down.

“You could still have the number but you open up the rear wing because the rear wing is more valuable than the shark fin. So I have absolutely done it for commercial reasons.

“But we go into the Strategy Group meetings and we need to start thinking more commercially about the decisions we make.

"I can tell you that from sitting in them, they are 90% technical and we don’t think through that if we do something, what are the commercial implications on the engine fins, for example?”

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams Ferrari Shop Now , McLaren Shop Now
Author Jonathan Noble
Article type Breaking news