Carlos Sainz Jnr, Toro Rosso, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016

Abiteboul unimpressed with “ugly” F1 cars

F1 Fanatic Round-upPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

In the round-up: Renault team principal Cyril Abiteboul is concerned F1 cars are too “ugly”.

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With Renault eager to see more exciting liveries, Yoshisune gives a verdict on this year’s batch:

I always look forward to this poll. I know, it sounds stupid, but I like rating the cars and electing my best looking car on the grid.

This year I choose the Manor MRT05: I really like the look of the car. It seems that they put some effort into the livery, which is surprising, because Manor/Marussia liveries have been quite boring. And I like the long nose more than the thumb.

The Renault RS16 looks interesting. I liked it even with the black livery, but I want to see the yellow livery in action now. I also like the Toro Rosso. OK, the livery is boring, but the car is just so cool. Shame about the nose, but the rest is very neat.

Probably the worst looking car for me is the McLaren. I really hate the livery, to be honest. Bigger numbers are cool, but it just lacks character in my opinion. The black Renault livery was much, much better. I also don’t like the Sauber. The car looks boxy and the livery has a lot of potential, but it’s wasted because they didn’t put any effort into the design.

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50 comments on “Abiteboul unimpressed with “ugly” F1 cars”

  1. I think the cars look better than they have for a while now.

    1. I agree. These modern F1 cars look Fast! If one wanted to look for an ugly race car, then let look no further than a go-kart, which is probably more fun than most of us could handle. The aesthetics of Formula 1 should be about what works, not about our personal opinions of what looks good. Unless this is not a sport and is just an entertainment. Perish the thought.

  2. As @bigchrome says, appart from the very tip of the noses which are quite wierd, the look on the cars have improved massively from the 2012-2013 “platypus” and the 2014 “gentlemen’s area” cars. They are simpler in a way, and very complex if you look in detail.

    The only thing ruining it are the liveries, which are not as sharp looking as they used to be. They are very badly executed (Renault’s being one of them in my opinion), and they are quite empty in terms of sponsors.

    Other than that, I’m fine with them, as I’m sure many are. Expect them to change it for the worst then.

    1. @fer-no65
      As a designer, let me tell you that Renault’s livery is very good and well executed. This is not debatable. It’s not down to personal preference. It’s a professional looking livery, well balanced and well suited to the shape of the car.

      Manor, which people are raving about, is actually a bland design. Might seem there’s more to it to you, since they have bigger blocks of bright colors, but actually it’s quite bland. Not too bad, but there’s nothing particularly good about it either. The underdeveloped shape of the car doesn’t help either, nor the fact that those two shades of colors don’t really look so great together.

      Sauber’s main problem are the shades of colors it uses. They look like they are straight from the can. Very amateurish shades of blue and yellow.

      Ferrari is a bit of a mess. Like there were three different designers working on it, each on their own, and then they came together and tried to mash it together without hurting anyone’s feelings.

      1. Seems i’m in the minority but the Red Bull looks glorious this season.

        I wish Merc had gone with chrome as was rumoured at the start of last year.

      2. @fer-no65
        One thing I do agree, though, is that liveries used to be much sharper. 2004 for example had amazing liveries all the way up and down the grid. Only Minardy looked a bit below average, but it was still a better livery than half of today’s grid. Every car had a livery that looked both professional and exciting. Which is a bit strange, since, in design, it’s easier to make a good design when you don’t have to cram too much stuff into it. I’m surprised we are not seeing some better designs today than we did 10+ years ago. Mercedes and Williams look like the only ones that are both well-branded and tastefully designed. Red Bull looks cool, as do Renault, but they don’t really have too much branding apart from their own.

      3. Oh, thank goodness we have a “designer” here to set everyone straight as to what looks good1

        1. As a designer, let me tell you that Renault’s livery is very good and well executed. This is not debatable. It’s not down to personal preference.

          @flatdarkmars, @john-h – Stopped reading right there.

      4. Not sure how certain shades of colours can be called amateurish? And what else would you do with the paint after its out of the tin besides spraying it on the car? Taste it?

        I agree the Ferrari messy. That’s because its designed by Philip Morris advertising ninjas to accidentally on purpose form the Marlboro chevron on the left side of the engine cover.

      5. RaceProUK (@)
        17th March 2016, 1:46

        Because the one thing we can measure with absolute certainty is beauty, because everybody judges by exactly the same standards :rolleyes:

      6. Wait, what metric do you use to say it’s not debatable? A single block of color is well executed? McLaren has the best livery then. For me aside from the bring single color, the black patch on the engine cover is actually awkward ( ).

        Also you berated Sauber because its like they don’t do fancy mixing of the paint? Nevermind that it’s their sponsor color, but what’s wrong on using basic color? You the type who said RGB #000000 is bland black compared to RGB#010201 do you?

        Also what’s wrong with Ferrari? They use standard scheme of main color on body, with secondary color on engine cover and front wing elements. Also not mentioning the straight out of the can color? Adding a bit red on the shark fin to sneakily placing Marlboro chevron there. For me it’s much better than Renault’s.

        1. What’s wrong with the Ferrari? Have you seen the right hand side of the car? The side without the chevron. It looks almost looks like red, white and black dazzle camouflage with its odd shapes and lines. How the black stripe shrinks to meet the “team logo” in an ugly overlap, and then grows again as it moves back,creating two triangles. And then there is the red spine stripe that doesn’t connect with the rest of the red on the car and that clashes in shape with the red triangle of the logo. Its a mess. All this so that the left side of the car keeps the sponsor happy while keeping the advertising standards people at bay.

          1. @the-last-pope The black part doesn’t bother me honestly. The only thing that wrecks that is because Ferrari is using their unbalanced logo without mirroring it, like for example USA flag on Haas, or the usual McLaren logo on the top of McLaren sidepod. Remove the logo, and everything works fine. Doesn’t need to suit everyone taste, but looks fine IMO.

          2. @sonicslv Yeah it would have looked better if they had reversed the logo for the right side. But then it would be rather obvious to the standards people why they had done that now after 5 years of not doing so. I don’t think they would get away with the coincidence plea if the chevron was on both sides.

      7. As a designer, let me say that a bold yellow is a good first step, but the weak undersized proportions of the sponsors logos undermines the design of the new Renault livery. Red Bull seem to have grasped this principle of livery design this year (for the first time in my opinion), and their car looks Grand! If Renault were to just increase the size of their sponsors marques by 25 or 30%, the whole design would improve dramatically. Cheers!

        1. @ferrox-glideh For me, RedBull design is has Red Bull text on the front wing and sidepod is too big. The rear wing one looks nice tho. Also I don’t really like the yellow border for the bull outside the yellow circle. Yellow/red combination is always hurting my eyes.

          1. I like the changes made from last year, especially the matte finish. I guess that I have been disliking this livery for so long that the change has me off guard! Yellow/red/blue is meant to hurt your eyes!

        2. Yes but each team has models and estimates of how much an area of the car is worth. If a sponsor is giving a million dollars, the team isn’t going to give them space on the car worth 5 million just because it looks better.

          1. A better looking car rewards everyone’s investment.

        3. @ferrox-gildeh since this appears to be the thread for designers to drop their credentials like we are the freaking Royal Family, I agree with you: the Red Bull looks glorious and the Renault looks good but could use a bit more black, maybe for the sponsors like you said. and this is gonna sound weird, but I actually preferred Renault’s black livery, but that’s down to personnel preference, I think [for me, yellow on black looks better than black on yellow]…

          other than that, I wholeheartedly agree with Biggsy ;)

          1. Remember the William’s livery from testing before they displayed their new Martini livery? That was my favorite! Stark!

      8. All designs are debatable. Unless we are graced with the omnipresent presence! Oh Joy! God deigns to speak! (Sarcasm intended here Biggsy).

        1. HAHA! :)

          but to be fair to Biggsy, I don’t think he said anything wrong: the Renault stands out in the grid, has a nice warm color and prominently display its sponsors, with good legibility for all of them. may not be my favourite livery, but it’s undeniably a good design! ;)

          1. Renault surely stands out, and I respect anyone with an opinion that they can back up.

      9. @Biggsy
        finally someone who think the Manor livery looks bland, on the livery voting page, every comments on Manor is good. I just don’t get it.

      10. At least no one is using Comic Sans…

      11. A couple years ago, I was at an “IT town hall”, where all the IT people were gathered in an auditorium to discuss, well, information technology (it’s a fairly large university + hospital, so there are a fair number of IT people involved). The CIO got up, and spent 20 minutes discussing our new logo– How the font was chosen, how the colors were chosen, how the layout was decided on, etc., and what the meaning and thought was behind all of these decisions.

        I know just enough about graphic design to respect that sort of language– but I have no interest in it. It was a terribly boring 20 minutes that had absolutely nothing to do with me. I respect that the effort went into these decisions, so when you say you’re a designer, and “this design” is great, and “that design” is bland, I’m absolutely certain it’s the equivalent of me looking at computer code and saying “this developer knows what he’s doing” and “this guy is an idiot, fire him before he hurts someone”.

        The Manor design is colorful. It sticks out. People remember it. All those subtle cues and details are lost on the non-professional. Just like last year’s Sauber (and this years) which has been described as a “GP2” livery– But, on an overhead shot, a wide angle shot, a closeup shot– no matter what the view of the track, I can instantly pick out the Manor and the Sauber. Now, the Renault stands out as well.

        So from an advertising point of view, what’s better to have? A clean, well-executed design that meets the standards of a graphics designer? Or something that the average race fan can instantly identify anywhere on the track?

      12. Biggsy has obviously never heard the expression “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
        Beauty is subjective, not defined.

  3. To think that Sauber’s Swedishish blue and yellow are bland must be insulting to those footing the bill for that particular car.

    1. @faulty Banco de Brasil?

    2. You know Sauber’s a Swiss team, right?

    3. Some South American’s heritage flags and coats incorporate old european colors. Especially for port cities, I suppose Banco de Brasil incorporate some sort of Swedish ancestry, or maybe it’s just good old liberal blue and Habsburg yellow.

  4. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    17th March 2016, 3:54

    I actually think these are the best looking cars we’ve had since 2010. Last season also had some very nice looking cars.

    Re: Cyril Arrbeetbool:
    Geeze, there’s such an “F1 Bash Train” going on since 2014 it’s crazy. Not everything is great and that’s fair enough, but no racing series is perfect. I think it’s mostly born out of people seeing the potential of F1 being somewhat squandered with gimmicks like DRS and marshmellow tyres, however they’re using these new power units as a scapegoat.

    But when you have guys like Bernie, and now Cyril, coming out and just saying negative things for the sake of it, it’s really damaging to the sport. And now it’s rubbing off onto the fans. Go to any Youtube video of the 2014 spec or later F1 cars, and all the comments are about how terrible the new cars are, with terrible sound and terrible racing.

    The 2014 season was fantastic with some utterly brilliant racing. 2015 I agree left a lot to be desired with only two decent races (Silverstone and Austin), but come on! I’m getting really sick of people expecting Brazil 2012 every single bloody round. It’s sport, sometimes there’s going to be boring matches, fights, games or races. That’s just part of it.


    1. As a sometimes cynical fan myself, I recognize and applaud your positive stance. 2014 was pretty good, but 2012 was GREAT, maybe the best in a generation. Austin 2015 was as exciting as motorsport fans could ever hope for. Modern F1 is not in decline. I am excited for 2016!

    2. I watched a 2010 re run race yesterday and the cars looked bulky and unrefined next to this years cars. I used to and still do like the wide track cars from the early 90’s but sometimes when I look back they look out of proportion a bit like a Danny Long Legs due to the longer suspensions compared to post 98 cars. I hated 98 cars when they came out but things change in everyone’s minds over what looks good. In the early 90’s shell suits were in fashion, 70’s flairs, guess the same with car designs. I guess it is good Renault are pushing for even better looking F1 cars though as they are responsible for some stunning cars especially the Renault Espace. The new Clio is plastered over teenage boys walls the world over due to it’s stunning beauty.

    3. @tophercheese21 wait you don’t think hungary was an exciting race

  5. On this day in F1 also: Kimi took his most recent race win at this weekend’s venue back in 2013.

  6. From the day I joined I enjoyed both the content of the blog/site, as the comments by my fellow readers. We don’t always agree but at least we have good discussions based on facts and opinions rather than just emotions.

    As some of you have noticed, I was somewhat disappointed about the ‘everything is bad’ tone recently. I won’t say it is great but I’d rather talk about what’s good and what could be even better than plain criticising.

    The annual best-looking car poll is a great part of this website. But I was hoping to see more comments about the curves and visible engineering features of the cars than only about the colours and placement of sponsor logo’s. And even today in the round-up all comments are about the colour of the cars rather than the other news items.

    I watched a great football match yesterday (Barcelona-Arsenal). And as much as I’d like to talk football fans down compared to my friends here on F1F, I did not once hear somebody talk about the design of the shirts, colour of the shoes, or stripes on the ball!

    1. And then the car seemingly winning the poll is not even a real car! It’s like Zoe Saldana winning Miss Universe. At least she’d take the meaning of ‘world peace’ to a whole new level ;-)

    2. I know how you feel. Many a time i’very written a response to a post with my personal opinion, then hastily deleted it rather than have to spend the rest of the day arguing not my opinion, but my right to have one!

      1. PS. Can’t wait for track action to start. More driving, less talking! :)

  7. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I personally think we just need a much simpler front wing.

    1. @thef1engineer – Totally agree. That is probably my single biggest complaint on current F1 cars as far as looks go. When the rest of the car looks like a support system for the massive uber-complex front wing structure, it’s just too much.

  8. Cyril is being irritable already this year. Things are going to go downhill fast – it took over 2/3 of the season before he was that narky.

  9. Just on that Mercedes sponsors and Hamilton bit, boy do they have the wrong idea. They sponsors should be asking Hamilton “what can we do to make you want to wear our shoes / jewellery.”

    They’ve got (albeit round about) access to one of the most influential characters in the World and they’re complaining about why he isn’t doing what they want rather than taking the opportunity to please and learn.

    Great round-up today, lots of insight from different personnel. Ron Dennis hinting at F1 finally embracing digital and talks being held privately about that are getting my hopes up, on the flip-side though the talks of the Honda performance being good but slowly being turned up over the season with “some surprises” sounds like same old to last year. I wonder if the surprises will be the continued complete and utter lack of pace and reliability even going in to the final stretch of the season.

    Abiteboul sounds dumb. While it’s a great bold livery he’s obviously not the first to have such a revelation with doing different things with the livery and his remarks hardly smack of truth now. Only McLaren/FI/HAAS(kind of) really are the ones with the dull looking livery common to recent years… If he’s ashamed by F1 and looking at a fancy paint job to get people talking rather than 110% focusing on performance I wonder if he’s in the right job at all to be blunt.

    Verstappen actually revealing details about contract talks shows he’s still got some growing up to do. Tries to immediately correct with “of course I’m happy with Red Bull” but whoops.

    Grosjean article was great, to think he could have done a cooking course rather than re-enter motorsports. I love those kind of “what could have been” stories. Really hope he gets the championship pay off in the end for sticking with the racing.

    1. Totally agree. Really, the question isn’t “What can we do to make him wear our clothes?”, but “What is wrong with our clothing line so he doesn’t want to?”.
      As an aside, I am sure he got on the bus I was driving when he was in Auckland. This man boarded and I was thinking “I’m sure I am supposed to know this person”. I hope he enjoyed his stay, although according to the media reports he did have some points of discontent.

  10. Cyril, friendly tip here, race cars look better the faster they go.

    1. So maybe the livery should have motion blur? ;)

  11. I’m unimpressed with the Renault ‘engine’

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