2014 rules will lead to ugly cars – Newey

2014 F1 season

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Red Bull chief technical officer Adrian Newey has warned the 2014 regulations will force designers into creating unattractive cars.

As was the case last year, when most teams built cars with stepped noses due to a rules change, there are concerns the lowering of noses next year will lead to some strange-looking cars.

“The low nose that we have next year is… I think there could be some fairly awkward-looking aesthetics arriving,” said Adrian Newey during a press conference at the Circuit of the Americas. It’s something, in my view, that should be given a bit more consideration when the regulations are drawn up.”

Newey said rules changes had been eroding the aesthetic appeal of F1 cars for 15 years. “I must admit I think the regulations have caused some ugly areas,” he said. “In terms of the stepped nose, I think aren’t as attractive as they used to be.”

“But probably, in truth, the narrow-track cars I don’t think have ever looked quite as attractive as they’ve always looked a bit out of proportion compared to previous pre-’98 cars.” The maximum width of F1 cars was reduced from 2000mm to 1800mm in 1998.

F1 designers would not sacrifice performance for style, Newey pointed out. “[Aesthetics] are important but they are kind of dictated by the rules in as much. Technically, obviously our job is to make the car as quick as possible rather than win any styling awards. So we are at the mercy of the regulations in that regard.”

However Ferrari technical director James Allison said awkward parts of a car’s design become less offensive with time.

“I think if you look back over the years there are some prettier years than other years,” said Allison.

“When 2009 came along I didn’t like the look of those cars at all but I’m wholly used to it now and I think they look pretty sexy. I think the stepped nose, again I didn’t like that to start with but I’m OK with it now.

“I think as technical team we really have a duty to try and make the thing quick rather than make it beautiful. Hopefully the beauty is got for free along the way.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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36 comments on “2014 rules will lead to ugly cars – Newey”

  1. Pat Fry looks awfully like James Allison don’t you think? :P (Just kidding)

  2. A quick car is a beautiful car

    1. Most of the race winners last year looked ugly as sin even after they’d been successful.

      1. Yeah. Sure proved that saying wrong!

    2. Yes and Red Bulls are not good looking, but they freaking fast, who cares about McLaren pretty car?

    3. nope. The Red Bulls haven’t looked good for the last 2 years, neither have the Mercs, nor last years Ferrari with the LEGO nose, and while Lotus’ step was a bit better masked, it still was far from being beautifull. I have not gotten used to that look even now

      1. I hate every past 2009 car,liked the cars before that a LOT more. Ever since 99 the cars looked pretty great IMO. Now they’re just hideous looking pieces of junk.

  3. I agree about the narrower cars generally looking worse, although as they became more pinched around the sidepods and engine bay they began to look better (before they had too many appendages and the front wings were raised).

    1. @matt90 I can’t say I’ve liked the look of F1 cars since 1998. Getting rid of the silly grooved tyres in 2009 would surely have helped matters, but the mess they made of the front and rear wings spoiled that. And now we have the horrible stepped noses too (which have been mitigated this year but still look daft).

      I think Newey’s called it 100% spot on. These cars aren’t designed to look good, but the regulations force an ungainly and in some cases downright weird look on them. We as F1 fans may get used to a certain appearance but you have to ask whether they’ll impress new fans of the sport and I’m not sure they will. My inner 12-year-old doesn’t want a picture of the current Ferrari/McLaren/Red Bull on his wall.

      1. That’s probably got a lot to do with you growing up with F1 through different eras. You also have hindsight and knowledge which new fans won’t have (yet). A lot of new fans may see these current cars and think they look fantastically outlandish. Most ’70s cars actually look ridiculous, and must have been so much more so when they were fresh. Though their shapes may be evocative and powerful they aren’t beautiful in a traditional sense. Of course I still think many cars from that period are superior to the gawkiness now (besides the disproportionate wings there always seems to be something that stops a car from looking properly good: shark fins/f-ducts, pitched at a funny stance, secondary intake on the snorkel, uninspiring livery, nose step, nose being crooked, too flat, too sharp, too narrow etc.), but the point is still that a lot of new people might just be brought in by current wackiness.

        You are right that its unfortunate the ungainliness is a symptom of the restrictive rules rather than less restrictive rules of the past.

      2. @keithcollantine My outer 19 year-old has a picture of Jenson and Lewis driving their MP4-27s on his wall. I thought that was a beautiful car, particularly in the first few races

        1. While I agree that the regs have harmed the aesthetics of the car, I wonder then what the regs would have to be in order for the teams to build pretty cars, and who decides what is pretty.

          Watching the practice last night I noted commentator Gary (not sure of his last name) opining that he thinks F1 should go the direction I have been touting for years (not trying to take any kind of credit because I think it is many people’s sentiment)…reduce aero downforce effect by 40 to 50 percent, and put bigger tires on the back…make the cars faster in slow corners and slower in fast corners and reduce the potential of one guy running away from the whole field. For me, regs that did that would make for beautiful cars if not aesthetically then at least in terms of the show they would provide.

  4. I saw a side profile a couple of months ago in ScarbsF1 and I liked the low nose very much. But recently I saw the sort of aadvark styled nose and I was horrified. Of course, nobody cares about aesthetics but the fans. But sometimes engineers want their creations to have some sort of appeal. I hope some solution can be found in advance. I have to say, this year’s vanity panels look very nice. Maybe something like that.

    1. @carlitox
      The problem is that a ‘vanity panel’ equivalent is impossible.
      The reason the teams are going to supposedly make the lowest part of the nose so narrow is because they want as much air underneath the car as they can. So they are not going to cover that up with a panel.

  5. Who cares? When some teams insist upon painting their cars in some vomit-inducing chrome colour, there’s no set of regulations in the world that would make them look nice.

    The rulemakers should focus on rules that make the cars follow one another closely without the use of DRS or other gimmicks, and that encourage innovation in areas that might actually be relevant to other areas of motoring (i.e. not aero). The aesthetics are secondary.

    1. @red-andy

      The rulemakers should focus on rules that make the cars follow one another closely without the use of DRS or other gimmicks, and that encourage innovation in areas that might actually be relevant to other areas of motoring (i.e. not aero).

      I would vote for that. I appreciate cars that do not look hideous, but regulations that would do away with DRS and allow for closer racing and passing should be the priority.

    2. I still think the 2010 mclaren was absolutely stunning. Chrome paint job an’ all!

    3. @red-andy The only way to make the cars follow one another closely without gimmicks is if all cars are the same. Feel free to watch Indy, Nascar, GP2, etc. and thank me later.

  6. Nothing can be as bad as the stepped nose in my eyes. Nothing.

    1. Lol, go check out what scarbs thinks it will look like next year. MUCH worse than the stepped noses!

      1. I’ve seen that and it is horrendously bad. But then I’ve seen more subtler designs that look OK. We’ll just have to see. Give me “the Anteater” design any day.

      1. LOL I totally forgot about the ’01 Arrows, ridiculous. I think at the time though I didn’t think much of it because of the X-Wings Ferrari, Jordan, Prost, Sauber, Tyrrell and a few others ran in ’97/’98.

  7. I prefer ugly cars & a good fight for the world championship like last year’s season rather than beautiful cars and a boring season

  8. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    15th November 2013, 23:45

    Who cares?
    As long as they’re fast and insanely loud then I’m all good.

  9. “But probably, in truth, the narrow-track cars I don’t think have ever looked quite as attractive as they’ve always looked a bit out of proportion compared to previous pre-’98 cars.” The maximum width of F1 cars was reduced from 2000mm to 1800mm in 1998.

    Hail Hail !

  10. How can F1 cars be any uglier? It simply is not possible.

    1. thou shall see in a few months time

  11. I don’t care about the rear wings they look find to me, what I see as an issue is the front win that should be shortened instead of being as long as it is. It would cut down tire issues when contact is made, and it would help aero wise as well.

  12. Maybe he’s talking from personal experience, maybe the RB10 is ugly as hell. I think most of the cars will look similar to the BGP001.

    1. I quite liked the look of the BGP001

  13. There have been some interesting indeed at times great looking F1 cars over the years. But for me beauty dropped out of the equation after the Lotus 49. Which was and always will be the most beautiful F1 car.

    Ultimately it doesn’t matter if it’s beautiful or not. Can it win?

  14. I actually agree with Allison rather than Newey on this one, there have been plenty of ugly F1 cars in the past. In 2009 I thought the cars looked absolutely horrific, but in the years since they’ve evolved to the point where I really love how they look. So maybe next year the cars will start looking terrible, but then as they get a handle on the aerodynamics they’ll move to a more aesthetically pleasing nose design.

  15. But the cars since 1990 have been ugly. We need a change

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