McLaren win Formula One World Championship…

2012’s crop of Formula 1 cars appear to have hit every branch of the ugly tree on their way to earth and bare more resemblance to a duck-billed platypus than they do one of the most advanced racing cars on the planet…

Usually, at this time of year, I get quite excited. Testing for the next Formula One season is getting under way, drivers

Ferrari F2012

Two Ferrari F2012s, ready for the F1 challenge ahead

are back on track (some in new overalls), teams are launching their new cars.

This year, potentially, there’s more to be excited about. New rules, new broadcasters. Things in the world of Formula One are going to look a little different in 2012. Starting, unfortunately, with the cars.

When the rebranded Caterham F1 team launched their car on January 26th I thought there surely had been a mistake. I’m no aerodynamicist (clearly), but with that strange walled lump halfway down their nose I immediately relegated them to back-marker territory once again. Then, on February 1st, McLaren launched their car, and all was well in the world once more.

It went horribly wrong a couple of days later when Ferrari launched their car to the many gasps of terror and every mirror in my house broke. To top it off, Ferrari – clearly knowing something was wrong with the gaping maw at the front of their motor – decided to take the pressure off by issuing their drivers with the ugliest company cars in the world.

Usually known for providing their drivers with posh Fiats and expensive Ferraris to laud it up in, this year Alonso and Massa have been provided with a Scuderia Red Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 each which, quite simply, makes the new Ferrari F2012 look lovely. And I never thought I’d be able to say that…

Duck Billed Platypus

A duck-billed platypus, the inspiration for many 2012 F1 cars, including Ferrari...

So far, however, manufacturer after manufacturer have revealed their 2012 challengers, complete with the “stepped nose” concept apparently necessitated by the change in rules for this season. Even Adrian Newey, that bastion of beautifully designed F1 cars, has fitted the Red Bull RB8 with a similar monstrosity. And Michael Schumacher’s title hopes this year rest on another Ornithorhynchidae-inspired design, as these spy pictures of the car’s first outing at Silverstone attest to.

How on earth can that wind block at the front in any way shape or form aid the smooth flow of air over the car? I’m sure somebody will tell me but, despite it being fair to say that I have pretty much worshipped at the alter of Ferrari since I was a three-year-old, McLaren – who are so far the only manufacturer to produce a nose that’s smooth and attractive – have already won the championship, by deed of fact that their car does what a Formula One car is supposed to do: look as if it’s going damned fast even when it’s standing still.

The others all look like they’ve been hit over the head with an ugly stick and appear to be more genetically connected to a duck-billed platypus than being one of the fastest racing cars on the planet.

With such a disappointing looking grid of cars to face, I find myself hoping that Sky’s new Formula 1 channel can produce something spectacular to ease both the pain my eyes will feel each time I switch to F1 on a Sunday and the loss of the simply brilliant BBC coverage we’ve all loved these past years.

When you see the figures, it’s understandable that the BBC were struggling to justify the ongoing broadcast of the sport but it is painful to think that the only way we are going to be able to see the opening race of the season is by subscribing to Sky’s HD service (which I’ve just done – more about that in a later blog…) and everybody is hoping that they will produce something simply stunning to blow us away and make us grateful for their existence.

Because, right now, I’m struggling to generate much interest in Formula One this year. And I don’t think I’ve ever said that in my almost forty years…

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2 thoughts on “McLaren win Formula One World Championship…

  1. Mark

    Great post.

    I’m pretty sure that we all thought the 2009 cars, which introduced the wide front wings and skinny rear wings, were all well and truly beaten with the ugly stick, but we soon got used to them. I’m just hoping the same will happen with this years cars. Alternatively its the Elephant Man’s “bag over the head” trick for everyone but McLaren.

    • You’re probably right, but I didn’t think the 2009 cars looked quite this bad…! Not since the ‘walrus’-nose of the Williams have we seen F1 cars looking quite this bad. (Although, secretly, I quite liked that one…!)

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