Truly, these are faces only an aerodynamics engineer could love. This year’s crop of F1 racers are among the oddest-looking automobiles ever built. Brace yourself as we go in for a closer look.
Beauty is as beauty does, or so the saying goes. If a race car is fast, no one should care what it looks like—in principle, anyway. In 2014, Formula One teams have challenged the limits of these theories, presenting some of the strangest-looking cars ever found on a race circuit.
Designers place the blame on the 2014 FIA rulebook, specifically a mismatch between the regulations that dictate chassis height and nose dimensions. Build a car for maximum aerodynamic advantage that meets the dimensional requirements, and the result may well be fast, but it will not be pretty, they say.
The new front ends are probably the most unusual aspect of the 2014 designs. When the latest Toro Rosso made its official debut, one media wit tweeted, “It’s a boy!”
“This is how the engineers have found the best solution from the aerodynamic point of view, but I don’t think that these noses should have a big future, says Cyril Abiteboul, team boss at Caterham F1. “I think F1 is still show business and it should still be attractive to people. Kids should be dreaming when they see an F1 car,” he adds. “I don’t know about the dream or nightmare you will be having when you look at those cars.”
Series insiders are already calling for rulebook revisions. It’s certainly too late to do anything for this season, but expect rule changes for 2015 in the hopes of aesthetic improvements. In the meantime, here are the cars you will find on the F1 grid this year. Photos are courtesy of the respective race teams.
Force India Mercedes VJM07
Mercedes AMG W05
Caterham Renault CT05
Lotus Renault E22
McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
Red Bull Renault RB10
Sauber Ferrari C33
Toro Rosso STR9
Marussia Ferrari MR03
Williams Mercedes FW36