The odd feature – a quirk of new regulations – is the centrepiece of Ferrari’s new F2012, launched on Friday morning at Maranello, and the Mercedes-powered Force India VJM05, whose covers were pulled off in the chilly Silverstone pitlane.
“(The car) looks very different actually from what we have seen in the past two years,” said Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.
Agreed Felipe Massa: “Let me tell you that it looks very aggressive.”
Telegraph correspondent Tom Cary, however, had another view, insisting the Ferrari, Force India and Caterham have “nasty nose jobs”.
But McLaren’s new MP4-27 features a clean aerodynamic line at the front.
“It’s a bit of a hot topic this year,” Andrew Green, Force India’s technical director, acknowledged to Sky Sports.
“Obviously a lot of people commented on the McLaren a couple of days ago. For us, it’s not a big deal. It’s purely aesthetics.”
Paddy Lowe, McLaren’s technical boss, said the team had retained a more conventional look because last year’s car already had a “philosophy” in line with the new rules.
“You can’t see performance necessarily by eye, it’s a matter of fine-tuning the balance between all the relevant aspects,” he insisted.