Caterham, Barcelona, 2012

Who’s got the best-looking car in 2012?

2012 F1 season previewPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Caterham, Barcelona, 2012
F1 teams have different solutions to the nose problem

The F1 cars of 2012 will probably not be remembered as the most attractive the sport has ever produced.

New rules have led most of the teams to add an unsightly step in the nose of their cars. Added to the oddly-proportioned front and rear wings in use since 2009, it makes from some strange-looking machines.

But as ever some cars look better than others and some teams have done better jobs of presenting their racers.

Which do you think is the best-looking car of 2012? Compare them all below and cast your vote.

Red Bull RB8

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Barcelona, 2012
Mark Webber, Red Bull, Barcelona, 2012

McLaren MP4-27

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Jerez, 2012
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Jerez, 2012

Ferrari F2012

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Barcelona, 2012
Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Barcelona, 2012

Mercedes W03

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Barcelona, 2012
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Barcelona, 2012

Lotus E20

Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Barcelona, 2012
Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Barcelona, 2012

Force India VJM05

Paul di Resta, Force India, Barcelona, 2012
Paul di Resta, Force India, Barcelona, 2012

Sauber C31

Sergio Perez, Sauber, Barcelona, 2012
Sergio Perez, Sauber, Barcelona, 2012

Toro Rosso STR7

Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso, Barcelona, 2012
Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso, Barcelona, 2012

Williams FW34

Pastor Maldonado, Williams, Jerez, 2012
Pastor Maldonado, Williams, Jerez, 2012

Caterham CT01

Vitaly Petrov, Caterham, Barcelona, 2012
Vitaly Petrov, Caterham, Barcelona, 2012

HRT F112

Narain Karthikeyan, HRT F112, Barcelona, 2012
Narain Karthikeyan, HRT F112, Barcelona, 2012

Marussia MR01

Timo Glock, Marussia, Silvestone, 2012
Timo Glock, Marussia, Silvestone, 2012

Vote for the best-looking car of 2012

What's the best-looking car on the grid in 2012?

  • Red Bull RB8 (5%)
  • McLaren MP4-27 (57%)
  • Ferrari F2012 (3%)
  • Mercedes W03 (2%)
  • Lotus E20 (8%)
  • Force India VJM05 (7%)
  • Sauber C31 (1%)
  • Toro Rosso STR7 (3%)
  • Williams FW34 (1%)
  • Caterham CT01 (2%)
  • HRT F112 (7%)
  • Marussia MR01 (5%)

Total Voters: 696

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Images ?é?® Jamey Price/F1 Fanatic, McLaren/Hoch Zwei, Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo, Mercedes/Hoch Zwei, Lotus F1 Team/LAT, Force India/Sutton, Sauber F1 Team, Red Bull/Getty images, Williams/LAT, Caterham/LAT, HRT F1 Team, Marussia

132 comments on “Who’s got the best-looking car in 2012?”

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  1. Tough decision. Though I really like the Ferrari from the side view, the nose step is just too odd for me to vote it the best looking. The Force India and the HRT are beautiful, but I thing the best overall in terms of car shape and livery is the Toro Rosso. Still the best livery on the grid and it looks aggressive and purposeful. Love it.

    1. I think they had the best livery in 2010 and earlier in 2011, but the Cepsa and Falcon sponsorship completely ruined it. :(

      1. I think the flashes of red and gold from both those sponsors make the STR. They still have my favourite livery and they are the best of the step nose brigade looks-wise. However the Macca is easily the best looking car out there because it has no step nose, and the Marussia is just fugly.

        My take on the 2012 rules is that the cars look purposeful rather than beautiful. I really like the look of the post 2009 cars, with no odd flicks and bits and high noses, and I think the RB5 was the best looking of the 09 cars and the 2010 Force India, I think it was the VJM03, is the best looking of the no refuelling cars from 2010 through to now.

        I really liked the shark fins and the outboard mirrors, both of which are now gone.

        However, back to the original question, the McLaren is easily the best looking car out there…

    2. I kind of like the ferrari as well. The angular shape has a nice futuristic look to it. The rest more round bumps just look plain ugly. The caterham is really bad looking just like the merc.

      Of course the matte looking red color of the ferrari makes the car look better than the horrible green of the gatorham…

    3. I voted for STR as well. They have one of the most seamless-looking duck-billed nose; RBR’s solution of putting an air intake also works quite well.

      The Ferrari looks reasonably purposeful, while the McLaren, while it gets kudos for the front-end not looking worse than last year’s, and the back end looking tidier, I don’t really like their flashy silver paint scheme — or their blunt-looking nose (I really liked the Sauber and Mercedes noses from last year).

  2. Must be said the pictures do make them all look pretty good :)

    1. @welshtom I don’t agree, I think they look awful.

      It’s like when you see those toys at fairgrounds that are cheap knock-offs of the real thing – the shapes and lines just don’t look right. We’ve still got the weirdly squashed rear wings and stretched front wings, and now we’ve got these odd noses as well.

      The McLaren is marginally more pleasing to my eye, and the Marussia too. But it’s like looking at 12 pigs and saying the one with make-up on is the looker.

      1. @keithcollantine

        Haha yes I suppose. You can’t make a silk purse out a sows ear and all that.

        I voted McLaren, as I am a big fan of them anyway and it is clearly the best ;)

        The Merc looks the worst! I think after looking at them for a few weeks I am kind of used to it (and I never thought I’d say that)

        1. I thought Merc looked best in that picture Keith posted where MSC is sitting on the front left wheel. Juuuuuust hides the step.

          Voted MAC, naturally.

      2. I disagree, I dont think they are that bad, especially the McLaren and the Lotus. It baffles me that people salivate over the cars in th e 70s, and 2005-2008, and yet bemoan every aspect of these cars like they are an affront to nature itself. theyre no.

        The wings are out of proportion, but the DW12 has weird spaped sidpods and, baisic from wing, and a massive, high, barn door rear wing. Its sitll a good looking car from a lot of angles.

        These cars are sleek, thebody looks aggressive and fully aerodynamically trimmed – despite the wings. The wings are bad, but i dont think they overshadow the rest of the car. I dont understand how people like the aerodynamic appengaes littered all over thge bodies of the 2008 cars, with the unsigthly bridge wings, and yet cant see past the wings of the current formula.

        The Lotus is a looker. The Red Bull is intriguing. The McLaren looks angry. At least they provoke a response.

        1. I think for some people some things are easier to get used to, than others. If I look at road cars, I don’t like current Ferrari’s. I like the old 288 gto and the Miami Vice Testarossa.
          But with F1 my taste evolves: I like the current cars, even while I hated them when I first saw those new wings.
          I just wish it doesn’t spoil the pleasure of watching too much for all the people who can’t get used to it.
          By the way, I voted Ferrari.

        2. I totally agree with your general assessment of the current cars. The pre-2009 cars were getting uglier by every added piece of bodywork (except maybe the Mclaren “horns” on the engine cover). I actually believe the current cars would look amazing with 2 key changes:

          1) Remove the step from the nose. While a lot of people would also prefer lower noses, I like them more aggressive and generally more on the high side. I really don’t like droopy noses like the Brawn had.

          2) Make the rear wing wider. I believe the proportions would be greatly improwed by the rear wing being pre-2009 width (or slightly wider) and current height (or slightly lower but not as low as pre 2009). Possibly also make the front wing very slightly narrower. I am not sure if it would actually look better to have the front wing reach the middle of the front tire instead of outside, but I wouldn’t want to see the wing narrower than that.

          Out of the current cars I’d vote for the Toro Rosso, closely followed by the Red Bull and Lotus (all three have for me the least ugly bump and decent liveries). Mclaren has the best nose, but the car looks boring compared to the others and I really hate the livery (too much red and really really boring. they should go orange). Out of the rest Force India would be in my top 3 in terms of the car itself, but the livery totally kills it for me.

          1. ThatĀ“s still not going to work for me. What should happen to make these cars attractive again is making the whole car wider along with the rear wing, perhaps keeping the same height as we have now. Make the front wing narrower and most importantly, disallow those hideous attachments running from the front nose to the front wing, directly attaching the wing to the bodywork of the car. Something like this:

            I think low noses along with a front wing attached to the actual bodywork will improve the looks of the cars by a LOT.

        3. Agree with your assessment of the newer cars.
          I like both the 05-08 and the 09-11 cars. They have different qualities which make them more beautiful. The 08 cars look like beasts, while the newer cars look like sleek missiles.

        4. come on, the cars of the 70,s were fantastic, they were all different, look at the 73,74,75,76, 77, grids and youll see, as for the modern stuff there all the same,just different paint jobs

      3. Nice analogy. In the US we have a specific expression about make-up and pigs. The underlying wisdom is so valued that when the now-President used it in reference to an opposing female candidate(‘s views), there were tears.

        The McLaren looks best The rest look like Lego modells of F1 cars. And I mean the budget sets like I had as a kid that had only rectangular pieces.

      4. When we first saw the interim BMW at the winter tests at the end of 2008, I was shocked by those wings and couldnt ever imagine myself liking them, but over time you get used to them and they seem fine to me now.

        Most of the 2009 grid were an odd looking bunch, with one or two exceptions (Brawn and Toyota looked good IMO). Even in hindsight, they remain ugly for the most part. The BMW and McLaren particularly.

        The longer cars for 2010 though were a different story; I really think they grew into their new look thanks to the refuelling ban, as a longer chassis seemed to balance the aesthetics of the wings. They were the best looking cars of this generation in 2010.

        Of the 2012 cars, the McLaren looks magnificent. I like the Lotus too, they made the step look half decent. The Ferrari is hands down the worst looking car.

      5. May I ask which you would go for, Keith?

        1. Sorry, just read McLaren.

          1. That’s alright, saved me writing another reply!

  3. The MP4-27 will kill the opposition in this poll, I’m afraid.

    It’s, by far, the prettiest car on the grid. The bulk round the back of the sidepods spoil it a bit, but the rest is just perfect.

    1. I agree, but I just wish they use the silver rims, instead of those black ones!

    2. Actually, now that I’m semi-used to the stepped noses, the McLaren one seems too much sqaured and flat. But it’s definitely the best for me, as it looks as last year’s cars (or from 2010, even). The HRT is lovely as well (they tend to produce nice but slow cars) as it’s very similar to last year’s.

    3. The MP4-27 would probably do well in a poll like this no matter what it actually looked like, as McLaren are so popular.

      I appreciate that it doesn’t have a stepped nose, but apart from that, I’m getting a little tired of the silver, and the curves of the sidepod look slightly odd.

      There is no really gorgeous car on the grid this year, but my vote goes to the Lotus. The stepped nose looks like it actually fits the car. It’s only the red Total endplates that let it down, as they clash with the black and gold colour scheme.

      1. The shape of the cars is what defines it, anyway, as the grid rarely sees changes in liveries.

        Appart from HRT, there’s hardly any massive change. I don’t like the silver and red, to be honest, but as a car, the MP4-27 is the prettiest one.

        If it was painted like the Caterham, it’d be even better, IMO. But you can’t get it all!

    4. The sidepod bulks were very different and much prettier on the version used in the final hours of testing. I don’t have a pic but I’m sure you could find one in the gallery either here or on the F1 website.

  4. Lotus just beats out the McLaren for me because of the livery and slender nose. I prefer the lower body shape of the McLaren though.

    1. I totally agree.

  5. This is actually really difficult! I love all of the cars. If you ignore the noses, we’ve actually got a very good looking set of F1 cars this year. No funky sidepods, no ghastly “blade-style” rollover hoops… All very nice really. The Red Bull and the Caterham have really grown on me, and I really love the dangerous-looking Sauber and Williams machines. They actually look scary!

    The McLaren is quite nice and a big improvement on their last two cars and the Ferrari is actually quite pretty if you ignore the very square nose-cone.

    It’s a pity I don’t really like the Toro Rosso livery this season, because they have one of my favourite cars this season. The addition of all of that gold has not done it any favours…

    The Force India, despite being probably my least favourite car last year, is surprisingly another one of my favourites. The livery has been improved and made to look a bit more “funky”, but they still could do with even less white. The shape of the car is probably its best aspect though.

    The E20 is brilliant. The stepped nose is kind of subtle and the overall shape of the car has a distinct ’90s feel to it. Well, for me it does, at least!

    As for the others; I don’t really care too much. But I certainly don’t like the Mercedes’ nose.

    Oh, now I have to vote! Um…

    1. @damonsmedley

      If you ignore the noses

      Hard to ignore them really though all things considered! They all look disproportianate to me and recent years has seen a lean to function over form from the designers. I’m not suggesting that teams score points for asthetics but I think we have now reached a pinnacle in offensive car designs ;). The HRT colours are nice and the McLaren has the better front end. I can’t see past those narrow rear wings that look to high, I guess I’m getting old!!!

    2. Nice to see you got yourself liking these cars @damonsmedley :-)

      I like te McLaren for its nose, and the rest of the car is fine. But that livery is really growing ancient by now, so I couldn’t vote for it. Not to mention it makes the car look big and fat somehow.

      I do like most of the STR and the backside of the Ferrari, and the Caterham looks interesting as well. Not a fan of the Red Bull’s slotted broken nose-look.

      In the end I voted for FI because the livery really did brighten up for me and their interpretation of the humped nose is probably the least ugly one of them.

      A thought for the Virgin Marussia as well, because they have a nose making me think back to 94/95. But their livery is not really my taste and the rest of the car is not that great looking.

  6. Pft. Anyone who doesn’t vote HRT is kidding themselves.

    I love it. E20 in a close second.

    1. Agree,

      The HRT is like a stunner of a bimbo. You know there is nothing under the skin but on looks alone the others are well beat.

      1. Agree. HRT has in my view by far the best livery. Maclaren is second but only because of no stepped nose. Other than that it’s livery is not really special. The rest is far away behind those two

      2. thats because its basically the same car as last year.

        they are very far away from the cutting edge of what the rules allow, so the new technical regulations didn’t really force them to change their design. and since the cars looked better last year, it turns out to be more pleasing to the eye than the rest of the grid, who are taking an extreme view of the regulations which results in a strange look.

    2. That’s got a lot to do with the livery surely. I voted for the Force India as I think it has the best shape, with the smoothed edges on the platypus nose moving back through the more gradual step. But again the livery is a big draw.

      Would great if we could see the cars all in plain white so we can examine the actual shape of the car rather than being drawn in by the paintwork.

    3. Well my top 3 in no order was the McLaren / Lotus and the HRT. I think the livery and air intake makes the HRT my favourite.

    4. I like the shape of the HRT, but frankly I think the livery is hideous on it. I voted for McLaren, but I also would like for them to change the livery.

    5. Better than last years carnival wagon paint job????

    6. I agree that the HRT is the prettiest of the stepped nose cars – and the livery is great. But my vote had to go to the McLaren which is definitely more elegant nose-wise.

  7. I’m starting to like the noses. (Ok , they are not unlike mine, so obviously…). Obviously the Mc Laren’s shape is quite satisfyingly clinical. It looks a bit bulky, but maybe it’s the picture. I actually like the cars post 2008. Simple, slender, longuish beasts of speed. As for this year’s breed, I’d go for Caterham. I like FI and Torro Rosso’s shapes, but the liveries just don’t do it for me. Mercedes, just like last year, gets my most ugly car vote. The greenish silvery livery just has to go.

  8. I can’t believe the Mclaren is winning this. It’s one of my least favourites; it is bloated and has absolutely zero character.

    I went for Lotus but I love RBR/STR (basically the same) and the FI too. Merc and Ferrari have really grown on me. HRT and Virgin are pretty too. The Sauber livery is hideous as is the Caterham livery (nose wise I don’t get all the complaints) and Williams is as dull as ever.

    1. I don’t think it’s pretty, but it does look aggressive. And I’d rather something a little characterless than the character being a hideous nose. Although the Force India, HRT and maybe Lotus wear there’s far better than most.

      1. It’s not just about the nose for me @matt90 . The whole shape of the Mclaren is bloated.

        1. Fair enough, although I don’t particularly see the bloated thing. Any impression of that though isn’t helped by too much bare chrome though. For example, the sides of the bulkhead look flat and rubbish in profile, largely because of the lack of a sponsor to break it up. That’s my biggest complaint with the car.

    2. Yeah, I agree – I don’t particularly like the looks of the McLaren. For me, it’s a toss up among the Red Bull, Ferrari, and Lotus, with the RB8 edging it as my favorite. (Can’t swear 100% that there’s no bias involved there. ;-) )

  9. By now I reallyl tip the the Marussia as the cutest (and probably the slowest) but I don’t now why after my vote, it still looks like 0%

  10. I voted HRT, but only to be contrary. :P

  11. McLaren… by far :)

    Stricly on the livery part, i like the Force India :)

  12. I cant vote because im not a member but i would definatly vote the Mclaren. Awesome looking machine.

  13. Call me weird -but I love the way that RBR’s nose duct looks.

  14. If I had two votes, I’d have given one to HRT as well as McLaren.

  15. Force India VJM05 or HRT F112. Decided to vote Hispania

    1. I decided the other way around @huhii, but I agree with you on both being nice.

      1. I quite like the HRT as well (Even if McLaren is the best looking to me) … But I find this picture is not the best for hispania, and it would have been interesting to also have a vote for the worst looking (which is sauber to me)

    2. Your asked to vote the best-looking not the most hideous car :)

  16. @keithcollantine make another poll of which one is the ugliest. I think it’s the Ferrari but who knows what’s on everybody else’s minds?

    1. @omarr-pepper I’d agree with you there. Although it sounds like the Ferrari is as slow as it is ugly so let’s not kick the Tifosi while they’re down! ;)

    2. Great idea! If the Ferrari isn’t the ugliest it is certainly one of the ugliest.

      1. Agreed!

    3. What are you talking about Ferrari-haters? ;) The F2012 is one of the best-lookers. It’s nose is a piece of art compared to Merc’s and FI’s snouts. It’s livery is clean and slick compared to RedBull’s and TR’s overpaintings. McLaren looks bloated, HRT and Marussia are GP2 cars.

    4. I’d go for Sauber, that livery is just terrible, like a crude Need For Speed livery

  17. Mercedes for me, the satin silver, the blending into the aqua and the slim nose and sidepods makes it look dainty. I hate the stupid chrome paint on the McLaren

    1. If you think that looks pretty, here is my answer. Compare: This years Mercedes W03 and last years model that had a lot in common, but for the ugly nose

  18. I think this pole should be “Which is the ugliest car” because then it’d be a closer and more interesting result!

  19. Only one answer really, has to be McLaren, the rest are horrible.

  20. Voted RB8, now with the bodywork upgrade, it really looks nice. Caterham and Force India look good too.

    I don’t like the Mclaren in this particulair picture. It has a rounded nose, but looks fat in some way.

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