What cars are you missing?
Majority of cars from the 1950′s :-). However, it should be noted that a typical missing car ran in only one GP, typically Indy, often not even finishing. One could call them “one-miss wonders”. Then it gets much better and the wallpapers are complete as of late 1970′s.
I wanted a single object that I could look at and see the flow, appreciate the development of Formula 1 through the years. A truly complete set would just hide the important trees in a forest of incompetent, so to speak. This actually brings me to the long story. Soon after getting the original jpeg I found a site where somebody arranged individual pictures by teams (http://www.fijen.net/f1/teams/index.html) and I liked it, then I decided to do the same but arrange cars by seasons and add some more information (drivers, results) to offer the substance of F1 at a glance. It got a bit out of hand, as I decided to also include links to pictures (a side view does not really give you a proper idea of a car’s shape), and once I was at it, I decided to include picture of a car with every (notable) driver for every season, which helps to explain why it took so long. I started to see this as a sort of test: How good is Internet really as a source of photos? And the answer is that not all that good.
I went chronologically, so naturally the first cars that I found missing in the jpeg were those I did not care for very much anyway. However, the omissions grew more serious. Eventually I found 26 cars missing that finished their season in top 6 in the standings, including 6 cars that won (or helped to win) a championship (1970: Lotus 49C, 1976: McLaren M23, 1981: Williams FW07C, 1985: McLaren MP4/2B, 1987: Williams FW11B, 1990: McLaren MP4/5B). By now I was too deep into the whole idea to give up and I decided to fill in the missing cars, hoping that an Internet search would be enough. But first I had to decide where to draw the line. I knew I did not really want all cars, but do I need to see, say, a Trojan? In the end I decided to include all teams/constructors that contested at least one full season. As with every rule, there were exceptions, some cars seemed too interesting/important to leave out even though they drove less than a full season. Once I decided, I could make a list of cars that were missing in the above sense. Some stats on the original jpeg:
Cars to fill in: about 120.
The teams with most missing cars: McLaren (9, 6 of which were in top 3), Williams (8, 5 in top 3), Tyrrell and Lotus (7), Ferrari (5).
Big name/traditional team with least missing cars: Brabham (1)
Year with most missing cars: 1974 and 1980 (9), 1975 (8), 1981 (7)
Best represented decade: 1960′s (only 8 cars missing).
The poster was nearly complete from 1997 on.
So I hit the Internet and as you would expect, things got a bit more complicated. I found usable pictures for only a third of the cars. For half of the cars I found pictures that needed some work, or a decent side photo that could be used as a basis for a picture. Here you can see what I mean by a moderate work.
This left me with some 20 cars where I would have to draw a picture from scratch, sometimes reconstructing the shape from some oblique-angle photographs. I was scared, since I am not a painter nor a computer graphics guy, but I am sort of familiar with Photoshop so I dived in. After some false starts I found the right groove and things worked better than expected, I am quite happy with the outcome (see e.g. Era G (1953), RAM02 (1984), or Rials of 1984/5). In the end I even did some cars there were in the original jpeg but I would be ashamed to use them (e.g. March CG911 of 1992), bringing the total of new pictures to about 130. I was sorely tempted to tinker with even more cars (and I did with some from the 2009 season), but by this time I was getting tired of the whole business so I gave up. I learned a lot, but I am glad it is over :-).
Now I just need to finish the web page.