Lotus surprised the F1 world with its aggressive Twin Tusk design for the nose of the E22. This is a solution that turns most peoples understanding of the 2014 nose tip regulations on its head. But none the less the design is legal and unlikely to be protested.
It appears that the E22 has a ‘twin tusk’ nose design, this splits the nose in a fork-like pair of extensions. These tusks form both the crash structures, and the front wing mountings. Curiously these tusks are of unequal length, with the right hand tusk longer than the left.
At first this seems at odds with the rules and other nose designs (explained here http://scarbsf1.com/blog1/2014/01/23/f1-2014-finger-noses/).
The rules mandate a low nose tip, the rules are specific there must be only one nose tip and must meet a 9000mm2 cross section centred at 185mm high.
15.4.3 An impact absorbing structure must be fitted in front of the survival cell. This structure need not be an integral part of the survival cell but must be solidly attached to it. No part of this structure may lie more than 525mm above the reference plane.
It must have a single external cross section, in horizontal projection, of more than 9000mm² at a point 50mm behind its forward-most point.
a) No part of this cross-section may lie more than 250mm or less than 135mm above the reference plane.
b) The centre of area of this section must be no more than 185mm above the reference plane and no less than 750mm forward of the front wheel centre line.
The legality of the Lotus Solution
What Lotus has done is to create a mandatory nose tip, in terms of cross section and height, but with just one tusk. It’s the right hand tusk that achieves this (highlighted yellow). But in order to avoid the twin tusk design being considered as having more than one nose tips, which is explicitly excluded in the rules, the left tusk is shorter as design the front and avoids being in the same plane as the right hand tusk’s tip.
Aerodynamically the twin tusk design makes these extension acts as awing mount and turning vane solution. The tusks will actually present slightly more obstruction to the airflow, as each nose tip may be around 90mm wide, so a total of 180mm of width. Where as the finger type nose has a similar 90mm nose tip and two wing pylons each limited to 25mm wide, creating a net 140mm obstruction. But despite this greater obstruction the effect of using the tusks as vanes to act along the Y250 axis and leaving he central airflow through the nose cleaner, means they may have a better overall aerodynamic effect.
The problem of unequal lengths is probably not a concern, while suggestions a left and right version of the tusks set up could be created for different track sis also unlikely to be practical or worthwhile.
For clarity the left hand tusk is a structural part of the nose and forms the part of the crash structure, it is not a vanity panel. Although theoretically it could be, but the need to mount the front wing with it, means the flimsy vanity panel construction would not support the load.