I’ve been an F1 fan for as long as I can remember and I’m getting seriously pissed off, this year the cars will look like weird ant eaters with dull V6 engines with stupid KERS systems.
Of course everyone says the F1 cars from when they were young were the best, but I think everyone can agree things have got worse. You could say it is just the technology changing, 200mph doesn’t necessarily mean pretty but if function is taking over form that’s fine, as long as it is to make it go faster, generally things that make cars go faster actually make them look better, like wider wheel arches to accommodate wider tyres. It’s when the stupid regulations are put in place with no thought to how it will make the cars look.
I’ll boldly state that F1 cars started to look shit in 1998, yes a few years before with the safety regs coming (high cockpit sides etc) they weren’t as nice but the skinny track cars were the first time I was really offended by pointless regulations making the cars look bad.
Take a look at the car above for exampl 1994 Williams, that’s what a proper F1 car should look like. Then below we have the horror of today;
Oh Dear! Actually this isn’t the worst looking modern F1 car, my vote would go for the 2009 Sauber or 2012 Ferrari
You do kind of get used to them being so ugly until you look back at the much better looking cars of a few years ago. An F1 car should look powerful and sound scary, not like some stupid toy car making a buzzing sound.
So lets have a look what happened in 1998. In an attempt to cut cornering speed they reduced the width of the cars (and wings) and gave them grooved tyres. 1997 was a great season so it was high time for the FIA to step in and try to ruin things.
OK so I slightly unfairly picked a car with probably one of the best F1 liveries every next to one of the worst by it is my blog so I’ll do what I want to illustrate my point.
Things stayed the same for a while until the FIA really tried to fuck things up…
For 2009 there were big changes, wings made far too wide at the front, and too thin and tall at the back making the cars look like some kind of crazy road sweepers. This has to be the worst of the changes since 1998 despite F1 trying it’s hardest!
So how could you possibly make things worse than this?
Yep! They did it, in 2012 for perfectly valid safety concerns they thought something needed to be done about the noses to lower them so they would not pierce a monocoque and injure another driver which is fair enough. But it just seems that there is no thought put into the asthetics of the cars. I don’t blame the aerodynamicists, it’s their job to make the cars as quick as possible. They were allowed to put a ‘vanity panel’ on the nose make it look slightly nicer however this would add weight so just isn’t going to happen. Had it been thought through by the rule makers they would have seen how bad the cars would look and could have adjusted the rules to prevent them looking so bad.
Sadly it seems there is no interest in this, which is really missing the point of F1, ask any racing driver or racing fan about the first time they saw and heard an F1 car and how it made them want to see more. This is what gets kids interested, the kids who become fans, engineers and even drivers.
I remember back to the late 80s and early 90s and the cars looked monstorous, exciting, loud and something I just could not imagine being able to drive like Mansell or Senna, just you look at them now and they look quite frankly pathetic, and will probably not sound particularly exciting anymore with V6 ERS engines.
The changes for 2014 just cement this, and show the lack of understanding of what makes people interested in F1. Hasty rules to change the noses again and make them a different kind of ugly.
If I was a kid turning on the TV or going to a race I doubt they would capture the imagination like they did just a few years ago, instead the focus is on silly rules like double points and DRS.
When the season starts and you hear the Ferrari just have a watch of one or both of these videos from 1995 of Alesi driving the last V12 F1 Ferrari and compare it to what you see Alonso driving today;
And after that I thought I’d treat you to the full horror of 2014!