January 5, 2009

Ugly Formula 1

According to many reports, there will be a collective gag when 2009 cars are presented starting ten days from now.  I thought it would be useful to revisit some designs failures of the past, just to put things into prospective.   

The 70's was fertile ground for ugliness. There were few regulations dictating how airflow should be handled and possibly, even less of a clue. Designers, for better or for worse, let their imagination run free.

Some cars are just plain inexplicable, the Eiffelland will likely never be surpassed in that category. Some have a semblance of a good idea but the execution looks hilarious in hindsight,  the mesozoically engineered extractor on the back of the 1975 March 751 comes to mind.  The 1976 Liger obviously had a Napoleonic complex while some of the cars are just a plain mess.  The 1975 Maki looks like it was made out of other teams ill fitting spare parts.

The ground effect era brought with it some of it's own hilarity, the 1978 Kausen looks all wrong and who can explain the 1979 Ensign N179?  Designed after watching Battlestar Galactica on mushrooms?

Did I miss any F1 monstrosities?  Let me know and we'll add it to this gallery.


  1. The Tyrrell-Ford P 34 should be on the list. There are really strange machines in there.

  2. The March 741 wasn't exactly a looker either.

    That said - I actually like the 1970's machines. Did they make sense in design? Hell no, but they certainly accentuate the time period from which they were born...the 1979 Ferrari 312 isn't particularly pretty either but it was still fast as shit and I can respect that.

  3. P 34 ugly? No Way! I wish I still had my Hot Wheels version of the P 34...

  4. All of these are before my time (I wasn't watching F1 when I was in kindergarten), but I always called the 1996 McLaren the "ugly car" because it had the little wing mounted on the back of the air box. It pales in comparison to the 1970s era cars!


  5. I think if you had to include. "modern" cars, the BMW walrus nose Montoya used to drive should certainly be on the list.

  6. Looks like the Eiffelland gets the AMC award for F1 design

  7. @AC

    From the looks of the BMW-Sauber interim test car, you better get used to that awkward nose. Unfortunately.

    Perhaps it'll inspire Kubica and Heidfeld to drive even faster so people can't see how awkward it looks. I, for one, hope they do!

  8. Hi

    Those X-wings did actually work, but was as ugly as can be...




  9. It's Formula 1. It's function over form.


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