Fan opinion: Are 2019 F1 cars prettier than their predecessors?

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Fan opinion: Are 2019 F1 cars prettier than their predecessors?
Mar 8, 2019, 1:39 PM

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By user craigwoollard on Motorsport Fans

It is impossible to define beauty. Whether something is pretty or not is subjective. Cars, especially racing cars, also do not have a set of rules to outline whether one is beautiful or not. The 2019 Formula 1 regulations were conceived with the idea of making going racing easier, but have the cars also been made more aesthetically pleasing as a result?

We have now witnessed all 10 cars in action, and the team at Motorsport Images has produced some excellent photography to showcase the new machines. There are definite changes to the shape of the cars – the front wings are more simplistic and are wider, which in a way does hark back to the regulation changes from a decade ago.

But the comparison to that change stops at the rear of the car. The rear wing has been lowered, the DRS flap widened even further than was the case previously and there is much more dependence on the likes of the T-Wing to produce downforce in that area.

The new front wings don’t seem to be to everybody’s cup of tea. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel has stated that he’s not a fan. Some of the designs, such as Mercedes’ conventional front wing, definitely look nicer and cleaner than some of the interesting concepts as deployed by Alfa Romeo.

The sides and floor of the cars are largely unchanged – if anything they are evolutions from the previous two years. The sidepods have become so tight and the area in front of them have become so complex and simply messy. This is what I like to call ‘scaffolding’.

And this scaffolding has appeared towards the rear of the cars as well, and what cleanliness we had at the front of the cars has been nullified by what has sprouted up in the middle and towards the rear of the machines.

The floors are also messy, but other than from a top-down perspective, it’s not easy to spot. All of these aerodynamic quirks that get the technical experts all giddy are not necessarily nice to look at, but that has been the case ever since aerodynamics were introduced to the racing car.

The overall shape of the car – which has converged more and more to the ‘coke bottle’ approach, is quite simply a work of art. It shows how tightly-packaged the 734kg in each car is.

It’s difficult to not notice the likes of the halo and the sidepods that have been so high for more than two decades now, especially when comparing to the cars of the early-1990s. The continued cocooning of the drivers has not improved the looks of the cars one bit, but safety has rarely ever been sexy.

It’s not just the shape of the cars that have changed, it’s the liveries too. Mercedes has tweaked its livery and arguably for the better, with some lovely three-pointed star detail on the engine cover that is a throwback to its first car after returning to F1 back in 2010.

Ferrari has gone matte with its paint, which is a ‘Marmite’ decision. Some love it, and some hate it. Personally, I’ve never been keen on matte paint on F1 cars, so the Red Bull is not exactly a looker either. The outrageous one-off launch colour scheme was nicer.

Renault’s interesting scheme has not changed much, which is fine. The same goes for Toro Rosso, which has run one of the best liveries in recent years. Alfa Romeo and Racing Point may have new identities, but the colours have not changed much. Those schemes look more refined, although the Racing Point does look a bit messy with its many (odd to say that about a contemporary F1 car) sponsors.

Haas’s JPS Lotus-inspired livery brings a welcome return to black and gold to the grid for the first time since 2015. It would be nice if the gold was more prominent, but in hindsight from the side it would look too similar to the Renault.

McLaren has done a good job with its livery, utilising some of the bits that stick out to its advantage, and hiding some of the messier aspects of the car as well. It is not perfect, but it is better than what it was in the previous years of this orange era. If only there was a nice, bold sponsor on the side of the car…

Williams’ new, post-Martini colours have been likened to a tube of toothpaste, but it’s not exactly what can be called ‘mint’. Some will disagree, and will see the Williams as a pretty machine, even if it’s not likely to be a fast one.

Ultimately, this isn’t the prettiest grid ever, but it’s far from the worst. It’s so much better than half a decade ago when most of the cars were some sort of shade of grey and most of them had nasty appendages stuck to the front. We’ve come a long way since then. The little changes made arguably makes this a slightly better-looking grid than was the case a year ago.

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