At the start of the year there was a lot of discussion about whether we’d ever get used to the peculiar 2009-specification cars with their bizarre front and rear wings.
So, has time made us more fond of the new-look F1 cars? How do they compare to the designs of previous generations? Have a look at them and vote below.
Which era produced the best-looking F1 cars?
- 1950s (3%)
- 1960s (12%)
- 1970s (7%)
- 1980s (11%)
- 1990s (27%)
- 2000s (35%)
- 2009 (5%)
Total Voters: 2,354
1950s: Front-engined brutes
In the 1950s drivers sat behind thundering great engines to which wheels were attached. The pilots then tried to trick these brutal beasts into going around corners, mainly by approaching them sideways.
1960s: Rear-engined cigar tubes
Those who think the coming of wings in 1968 destroyed F1 often point to the early-to-mid sixties as the time when the cars looked their best. With beauties like the Lotus 49 (below), it’s hard to argue, although these look so unlike modern F1 cars it’s hard to find points of comparison.
1970s: All things weird and wonderful
The 1970s was the final decade of great freedom in the regulations, and the designers dreamt up all manner of radical things: six-wheeled cars, ground effects and more. Cars appeared on slicks for the first time and soon they were sporting monster rear wheels too. This was F1’s gawky, awkward, pubescent phase.
1980s: Turbo muscle
Awesome power, huge wings, and not too much in the way of sophistication. That defined the turbo monsters of the 1980s.
1990s: Lean and low
The decade that’s probably going to get my vote, as much because of rose-tinted specs as anything else. Low, wide cars with slick tyres, but without the ungainly bulk of their 1980s predecessors. Lots of good liveries too – this generation produced the fantastic Jordan 191.
2000s: The aerodynamic age
For those who love clean lines, the winglet-infested cars of this decade were hideous creations. I never warmed to the narrow-track, grooved-tyre look, but the 2007 Monza-spec McLaren MP4-22s (below) were among my favourites from this time.
2009: Snowploughs and smooth sides
When the first of the 2009 cars started to appear we all gasped in horror. Half a year later, some of us have grown used to them and some haven’t.
And I’m definitely in the latter group. I appreciate the winglet-free sidepods (although more and more of them are coming back as teams find ways around the rules) but the fundamental problem remains that the front and rear wings are massively out of proportion.
Which decade do you think had the best F1 cars? Post examples of your favourites – and least favourites – below…
Images (C) Mercedes, Ford, Ferrari spa, BMW ag, Renault/LAT, Sutton