Two for the Road is a hangout for mystery writers Tammy Kaehler and Simon Wood to chat, reminisce, gossip, speculate and argue about all things motorsport.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Yeah, But It Could Be Worse

By Simon

Last week, the first glimpses of the 2012 Formula One cars were in the first winter testing session at Jerez in Spain. Because of the technical specifications for this has meant the introduction of the “step nose.” This has meant the front of the grand prix cars is so long and flat that it resembles something similar to a plank last seen on the side of Captain Jack Sparrow’s Black Pearl pirate ship for people to walk.

Over the last twenty years or so, F1 design has approached something akin to a work of art. The aerodynamic demands have resulted in curves and lines that would make DaVinci weep. So the changes made (as pictured by the Ferrari here) are a step backwards. But it could be a lot worse. For me, the 1970’s were an awkward time for grand prix designers. Aerodynamics and down force were being were in their infancy and with all infants, not every newborn is a pretty one.

So before anyone judges this year’s crop of Formula One racers, I’d like to share some blasts from the past. These images could cause vomiting and temporary blindness, so please have adequate precautions close by.

In their time, Tyrrell was responsible for some great innovations and all three of Jackie Stewart’s world titles, but this six-wheel mistake still makes me wretch 35years later.

At the time, Hesketh F1 were the darlings of their time because they were a bunch of amateurs with a dream, but that doesn’t forgive them for this monstrosity.

If you're looking for French elegance then you won’t find it with this Ligier. Is that an air intake or a sail? God knows how it handled in a crosswind or a stiff breeze for that matter.

More sailboat design, this time from McLaren. Luckily, Bruce wasn’t alive to see this thing bearing his name.

For some reason, this 1979 Ensign decided to incorporate a staircase, no doubt to make entry into the car easier for their drivers.

Finally, we've got a March which looks have crashed into a surfboard.

So there we have it. Yes, 2012 isn't a banner year for grand prix cars, but it could be a lot worse. :-)


  1. OK, I'll grant you that it could be worse. But dear God, man, it's not GOOD.

  2. You're right -- they're butt ugly. And unless you've changed considerably in the last couple of years, the picture doesn't look like you. Miss my Bay Area crew. Hoping to get back......

  3. Oddly, since that pic was taken, everyone has said the same thing.