New cars’ looks are “not good enough” – Alonso

2014 F1 season

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Fernando Alonso says F1’s engineers need to find ways of making this year’s generation of cars look better.

The appearance of many of the new cars has drawn criticism as teams have resorted to unorthodox solutions to new aerodynamic regulations. Many cars feature long, thin noses while Alonso’s Ferrari has a steeply sloping front.

“They are uglier,” Alonso admitted in an interview for CNN. “I think we have to be honest with our fans and ourselves first of all.”

“They are not good enough because people look Formula One like excellence of motorsport, of aerodynamics, excellence of performance and technology. And when you see those front parts of the car, it doesn’t look like all the things we’ve said.

“I think we will find different solutions. The engineers are clever enough to make the car fast and also beautiful.”

Alonso added he will have to perform at the top of his game this year in order to stay ahead of new team mate Kimi Raikkonen.

“I think he’s very talented,” said Alonso, “so that is a huge help and a huge motivation for myself, first, and also for the team because the team knows it has to deliver a good car because Kimi will deliver a good result.”

“Myself, I know that I need to deliver at my best. If not, I will not be able to be in front of Kimi. So that is only a good and positive news for Ferrari.”

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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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73 comments on “New cars’ looks are “not good enough” – Alonso”

  1. I don’t think the Mercedes looks that bad.

    1. petebaldwin (@)
      4th February 2014, 16:18

      It doesn’t look good either though. It’s ok but there’s nothing on the grid that is beautiful.

      1. I think your in a minority.

        1. petebaldwin (@)
          4th February 2014, 16:35

          Really though? Does everyone else think that compared to other years, it’s a really beautiful car?

          1. “Really though?”… What kind of expression is that? Yes, the Mercedes looks good. Not just “it doesn’t look bad.”

        2. @full-throttle-f1 I don’t like the Merc either…

        3. It still has a very flat snout and the camera mounts look weird, calling to mind Honda’s elephant ears in 2008. I really don’t think it’s a minority view to say it’s generally better than the rest but not actually conventionally pretty.

      2. It’s pretty ugly too. I only like it because it reminds me of the Brawn.

      3. @petebaldwin Disagree. I think the Merc is a beautiful car compared to 2012-13 cars as well, not only others from 2014, of which it’s miles ahead

        1. That’s the point. It’s a beautiful car compared to uglier cars. But it’s not something that would catch the eye of someone who’s never heard of Formula 1. I can look at something like a private jet and think that it’s gorgeous, even though I don’t have much idea about models or previous generations of aircraft. It’s pretty in itself, not just in comparison to something else. Current F1 cars don’t have that, IMO.

          1. @ironcito I disagree. In fact the opposite is true. It’s the hardcore fans who had seen it all, that are hard to please. To someone unfamiliar the “alien” look of an F1 car will automatically make it attractive, provided it doesn’t have offensive features that look like male private parts.

            I had actually tested it on my girlfriend who has never seen a race in her life. She was amazed by the Merc and disgusted by the Toro Rosso and Force India(IMO the worst implementations)

            Same would happen in your proposed experiment. Suppose you’ll see a Sessna on a plane exhibition and say that it’s beautiful. immediately 20 Sessna anoraks will jump in disgust and say that the 1984 Sessna was the model of beauty and since then it’s going downhill and this new one is the worst of the lot

      4. I agree, the Mercedes is the best looking car. But it only looks ok. That’s not good enough. The FIA was warned and they did nothing. I really can’t comprehend they’re decisions sometimes. I’m also concerned about these lower noses being much more dangerous than the higher ones. Cars could be launched right into a drivers face. There’s a middle ground here that would also look a lot better.

      5. Speaking just of appearence you have to admit that red bulls are actually beautiful, the only team IMO that got it right

        1. I agree with you. I think the red bull looks pretty good (except their stale livery). The cobra front is awesome, but i’m glad they kept the “running nose” black.

          1. Yep, a very tidy looking car.

      6. I like MP4-29

    2. I think Caterham somewhat lowers the global score … :)

      1. And everyone tries to park next to Caterham…

    3. I think the Mercedes is good besides the way the nose slopes and widens towards the “peak”: for me the RB10 is the best looking car so far as it’s the only one which has a properly decent nose (the McLaren however would be the best if they just simply painted those pylons!).

      1. Mclaren has a pretty sexy car this year. It’s rare that I’d say that.

        Their livery, it’s a temporary testing livery right? As with Williams? I’m not sure

    4. I think most cars look brilliant.. if you take away the nose.
      In side view most of the cars look great!
      Next year might be super in term of looks :)

    5. The key word there is “that”. It doesnt look good, but it doesnt look that bad.

    6. My humble rankings of best to worst looking:
      1. Red Bull (would love to see a new livery)(by far the best adaptation of the front appendage)
      2. Ferrari (super tight between Ferrari and Merc but the red gets me)
      3. Mercedes (love the addition of the black)
      4. 100,000km abyss
      5. Lotus
      6. McLaren
      7. Marussia
      8. Williams (livery is horrible)
      9. Toro Rosso
      10. Force India
      11. Another 100,000km abyss
      12. Caterham

      1. *10. Force india (new livery almost saves it – side on = beautiful, as with most)

        1. Gees…forgot Sauber…make that ‘6’.

  2. It’s not the responsibility of the engineers to make a car look good. It’s their job to make a car that can perform as best as it can within a certain set of regulations. Frankly, it’s embarassing that people are making such a big deal out of this.

    1. If you trace the history of motor sports, you will always find a concern with the aesthetics of the race car. Always.

    2. @ciaran What’s truly embarrassing is people who slam others’ opinions only because they disagree with their own.

      No one blames the teams for this debacle, as no one in their right mind would expect teams to sacrifice performance for looks. But it’s a debacle nonetheless for which the FIA is responsible, and those who were in charge of framing the regulations should be sacked. But of course they won’t be as the FIA is never guilty of anything it’s always others’ fault

    3. I agree, @ciaran. I actually don’t mind how the cars look. I didn’t mind stepped noses either. For me it’s more about the competition and technical development than the looks.
      I agree that the cars mostly aren’t pretty this year, and I think it’s ok to have it as subject of debate. I must admit I giggled quite a bit at the launches of the cars this years. But if Toro Rosso’s dong turns out to be the fastest solution, then so be it. I don’t think the engineers should be worried about the looks, it’s not their job and it would be a waste of resource to invest time and money to optimize “the looks”. At the end of the day, the car that appears to most on TV will get paid the most by the sponsors, and that is usually the fastest car.

    4. Perhaps it should be their responsibility. You would consider aesthetics when designing a road car for instance. The current cars with their various “appendages” are not what you want a poster of for your bedroom wall, nor in sugar form on top of a birthday cake, nor a double-page spread in a magazine advertising a sponsor’s product. All of those things have been part of F1 for a long time.

      1. Perhaps it should be their responsibility.

        No, that isn’t what engineers do. That is what designers do. There is sometimes a cross-over, but I expect a lot of top F1 engineers couldn’t design a car aesthetically at all. They design parts with a purpose and that is it. It isn’t their job and I don’t see why it should be.

    5. soundscape (@)
      5th February 2014, 0:49

      I agree @ciaran. An engineer’s job is to extract performance and efficiency within a set of rules or bounds. Designer’s design. This is fundamental across all disciplines.
      Engineers being required to make things also look pretty leads to conflicts of goal. Fix the rules, fix the engineer’s final product.

  3. To be honest, there are much bigger problems than “it doesn’t look nice”, like for instance the financial state of the sport and tyre life.

    1. @andae23 True, though we don’t know yet if the tire life will be a problem this year. And you haven’t even mentioned the elephant in the room: the-Bernie-has-lost-his-mind-super-duper-tesco-car-park-first-sector-is-quite-good-but-the-rest-of-it-is-s*i*-doubly-important-race-bonanza-etc-etc

      1. @montreal95 That’s indeed the biggest problem: the obsession with trying to fix things that aren’t broken.

        1. That’s indeed the biggest problem: the obsession with trying to fix things that aren’t broken.

          I think you defined F1 in one line. It’s so sad, but so true.

          I think that’s actually a sign of a much larger problem. It’s a bit like a band that’s trying to stay “relevant” but they are really so far off removed from what life really is for a normal people and fans, that they actually have no clue what to do with themselves. I feel F1 is in the same situation. The sport became so overbloated with money, glitz, fame and sense of selfimportance, that it doesn’t even have a clue what is that it’s supposed to be anyway, but at the same time is so obsessed with being what it thinks it’s supposed to be.

          They forgot what they actually are, underneath all of that added, ultimately irrelevant, side effects of success.

    2. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      4th February 2014, 16:35

      I don’t have money, but my wife is beautiful. It helps me to smooth bad times :P

    3. @andae23 Agreed, give me financially stable teams, a competitive 30-car grid, real tyres, get rid of DRS and double points and I’ll be over the moon even if the cars look like octopuses.

      1. Indeed @girts, @andae23 that would be a sight to look forward to

      2. So basically a tyrrel with another two wheels?

  4. Well, the last time I thought a thought normally reserved for a woman of an F1 car was 2008. I’m more inclined to look at LMP1 cars if I want my x-rated race cars.

  5. As the 2011 cars were, as were the 06-09 cars. Who cares really? We complain about them when they’re introduced, but after a few races we realise the racing is what really matters.

    N.B Fernando, the cars aer ugly due to the designers. It’s important to note the Red Bull, Mercedes, and to some extent McLaren engineers were all able to follow the regs and produce pretty nice looking cars.

    1. Yeah, and the racing is pure rubbish so what we are left with are ugly cars. I actually like most of the new cars but compared to pre 2009 it’s embarrassing. F1 needs to go back to its roots on all fronts and scrap everything that has been introduced in the last decade. There hasn’t been one positive change i can think of and it continues to get worse every year.

      1. @racectrl How can you judge the new changes before one qualy or race haha? It doesn’t make sense. Give it a chance buddy :) It’ll be much better than expected.

        1. My bad. I forgot about the exciting feature of drivers conserving fuel as well as tyres. This year is going to be a carbon copy of 2013(driving within set limits) with the added spice of unreliability. Personally I don’t believe that’s enough to hide the bad taste.

  6. I think the hideousness of the 07 and 08 cars deserves a second mention. The amounts of winglets was a joke! The cars looked as if they’d gone through a carbon fibre spare parts bin at full speed!

    1. Didn’t Brundle call them warts or something? He wasn’t far off. Especially on that Honda. Awful.

    2. I actually quite liked the 08 cars. Especially Ferrari was amazing. It looked like it will try to kill you in few seconds :)

  7. If the nose were straight like a Ferrari 641, and the wings were black, then the Ferrari might actually look ok. (but that wouldn’t get enough air under the nose, so it will never happen)

    I don’t know about the minority/majority of opinions, but I think almost every 2014 car looks worse than their 2013 counterpart.

  8. Paul Armsyrong
    4th February 2014, 17:55

    The Merc, ferarri and the Mclaren look great to me. Better than the last few years at least.
    The fact fact that the grid will look so different this year, reminds me of 70’s and 80’s when there the designers had different interpretation of the regs.

    1. I think Mclaren actually good looking especially with those lap times :).
      Did Alonso just mention someone else’s car again? Well, pretty soon then.

  9. Not a fan of the noses on the cars this year either but it really doesn’t bother me. As long as the racing is entertaining I really don’t care too much what they look like.

  10. Many beautiful cars on the grid this year. I find it odd that some are suggesting there is a need for a change as if there is some agreed definition of what makes a car good or bad looking.

    1. There is actually otherwise you wouldn’t hear so much complaining. Look at the force india or the marussia again and tell me that isn’t offensive.

  11. I’m surprised that a lot of people seem to talk about “the” noses on this year’s cars as if there were no variety, when quite the opposite is the case. To my eye, besides the backmarkers, the only truly unappealing designs are the Toro Rosso and (sadly) Sauber. Force India and Williams are maybe not too exciting to look at, but they’re quite good looking. Ferrari is funky, but interesting. Mercedes is an aggressive looking machine and the McLaren is as sleek as you could wish for in an F1 car. If only the back wings would be lower… Overall I find it’s it’s quite a good looking batch of racing cars.

  12. I’m already tired of this discussion about the looks, get over it …

  13. The only problem is the nose, and that will probably look better when the teams start refining them. I’ve said it many times, the 2009 cars looked horrible at launch (with the exception of the Brawn), then over the next few years they got better and better, stepped noses notwithstanding.

  14. Compared to the step noses of the last two years I think this generation is an improvement. Except maybe the Caterham.

  15. I am getting quite used to this already and by now I can not for the life of me understand how anybody could possibly chose the high noses – or even worse; the stepped – over this years designs!

    Looking at the high noses now they look just awful, clunky and worst of all SLOW!

  16. I don’t think the looks have been good enough since 2008, and many others would say that looks haven’t been good enough in F1 since long before that.

    To be fair, I’m sure most drivers would drive the double-pronged Lotus (or that funny looking Toro Rosso) in a heartbeat if it meant that he could drive harder and faster. If all the cars were equally fast… then definitely, I’d want the better looking one. Funny that he’s complaining since I think the Ferrari and Mercedes look the best with their more conventional-looking noses.

  17. I just can’t get used to the look of the Ferrari, I’ve tried to let it grow on me and it just feels like that nose doesn’t belong. it goes from square edge to round edge quite oddly.
    But all cars aren’t ugly, the Mercedes looks good, but it feels like someone stole the front part of the nose, (looks incomplete).
    But of all the cars, the red bull looks amazing, one of the best cars I’ve seen in years, even better then any of the raised nose era.

    Honestly the re bull is very beautiful and what I would expect a F1 car to look like.

  18. New cars’ looks are “not good enough” – Alonso

    Fernando the founder of the team you drive for today used to say that “una machina e solo bella quando vince”

    English translation is “a car only looks beautiful when it win’s”.

  19. I strongly believe that the looks of the F1 car will grow on people. Now the new looks are all fresh and everybody is crying out.

    If we had 2014 looks first and 2013 immediately after, I bet people would be equally appalled.

    By the end of 2014 we will all love all this year’s anteaters, penises and reverse quasimodos.

  20. The FIA doesn’t care this.

  21. I’m pretty sick of everyone involved in F1 publicly moaning about F1. If you bang on and on and on about how cars are hideous looking, then people will believe it. The cars don’t look bad – some of the frontal appendages are a bit odd looking, but otherwise I think the cars generally look great. Definitely better than the cars which featured those hideous fins connecting the airbox to the rear wing, that made the cars look like vans in profile. And y’know, it’s really time to stop complaining about this. The look of the cars was predicted almost as soon as the rules were published, and now the cars have rolled out looking exactly how we expected them to. There was ample time for people to take action back then but nobody wanted to, so here we are. Just accept it, stop whining about it, because about ten minutes into the first session you will have gotten used to them. Just like we got used to the odd wings in 2009.

  22. All of this years cars look great on radio.

  23. Let’s face it, 2014 is the year of the Lego car.

  24. LOLWUT?!
    I don’t understand this criticism at all! The 2014 cars look 1000 times better than last season’s cars. They actually are some of the best looking cars in the last 10 years.

    Low nose (with or w/o the penis) >>> High flat plate nose of any kind.

  25. It looks like Ferrari has been trying out different noses, possibly trying to come up with something that looks a little better, and yet satisfies aero and F1 requirements.

    This one reminds me of something; I can’t quite put my finger on what.

  26. Why is everyone so worried how they look when all we want is to see are cars racing .
    How many of the early racing cars were criticised on their looks. Lets just hope they’re fast.

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