It’s a new season with ten shiny new cars so it’s time to get superficial! Team Back Of The Grid have spent literally minutes debating the looks of the new cars and their liveries, so here’s the definitive top ten, worst to first.
10. Force India VMJ10 Mercedes
To really see just how bad the VJM10 looks, let’s cast our eyes back to 2010 and the VJM03.
See all those colours? A bright, vibrant car based on the bright, vibrant flag of a bright, vibrant country. Now let’s take a look at this years offering.
Grey and black have been creeping further and further into the Force India look for years now, but this time they’ve gone all out. The giant, blank, grey sail sticking out of the top of the engine cover has all the hallmarks of someone who left their homework until the last minute. Then there’s the hump between the front wheels that they are affectionately, affectionately, calling a forehead, which frankly sounds like something new parents would say about a baby they know is ugly but don’t dare admit. Literally the only good thing about this car is the thin green stripe along the bottom of the bargeboard. Good job whoever painted on that stripe, give them a raise.
9. Haas VF-17
Two cars in, Hass seem to be doing a reverse-Force India, with an interesting livery slowly creeping out from under the corporate shell. Manufacturing machinery grey has made way for battleship grey (both on your favourite Dulux colour chart) which isn’t exactly an improvement, although the red sweeping from the nose along the bodywork looks nice enough. They’ve actually made a feature of the fin with the most interesting bit of design on the car, but it’d be much better looking if that pattern extended further along the bodywork.
8. Sauber C36-Ferrari
For their 25th year in Formula 1, Sauber have gone for a retro-inspired livery of dark blue, white and gold. Unfortunately, instead of merely taking inspiration from the era of tobacco advertising, the car has ended up just looking like a cigarette packet. The more cars that have launched, the boxier the Sauber has looked, although they do have one of the most interesting roll hoop/airbox arrangements on the grid. They at least had the decency to paint the fin black which improves the look in the studio shots, but on a sunny track in Spain it’s more than likely going to look monolithic.
7. Williams Mercedes FW40
Williams are sticking with the iconic Martini livery which is no bad thing, but you’d be hard pressed to tell it from last years. The design flowing onto the fin is a nice touch, but it also makes it look colossal, and from the side the whole car kind of looks the wrong shape because of it. Minus points for basically doing the same as last year, plus points for it still being one of the best paint jobs out there.
6. Ferrari SF70H
There’s some nice aggressive aero going on around the sidepods and bargeboards, but yet again it’s no looker in the nose department. As for the livery, yep, that sure is a Ferrari. They’ve got the shade of red right. There are some white bits and some black bits. Errr… The Italian flag stripes on the fin are a nice touch. The…hmmm… Does this count as a paragraph yet? Yes? Nice, moving on.
5. Red Bull RB13
It’s hard to make a call on the Red Bull as it’s clearly missing a ton of aero parts that will no doubt be added throughout testing. The vacuum cleaner attachment nose is unfortunate, but that matte paint and dayglo logo still look great, even if it’s essentially a copy paste job from last year.
4. Renault R.S.17
Largely black cars are usually dull, but paired with the yellow this is one mean looking banana. The shape and the flash of colour at the top of the fin make it actually look appealing unlike almost every other example on the grid and the all black front wing looks like it’s come from a stealth bomber. It could be number one on our list, if only we didn’t know that Renault already have arguably the best livery in racing today on their Formula E car and didn’t just copy it.
3. McLaren-Honda MCL32
IT’S NOT GREY! After years of disappointment in the livery department, McLaren have finally done something different and it’s generally worked out well. The orange is certainly striking, although the overall design is a little reminiscent of the old Manor/Virgin cars. It doesn’t seem quite as tightly packaged as most other cars but there are some nice aero details, especially the gills on the nose cone.
2. Torro Rosso STR12
Where did that come from?! Holy moly that’s a good looking car. The shape is so Mercedes-esq they are no doubt checking for leaks in Brackley right now, it’s great to see another team ditching the ‘thumb’ nose. After years of being the less interesting Red Bull car, the new electric blue, red and silver look is gorgeous. The bull’s tail extending onto the fin is a nice detail, as is the tiny Italian flag under the nose. A proper looking racing car.
1. Mercedes W08 EQ Power+ (No really, that’s the full name)
It just had to be. One of the most aggressive looking F1 cars in years. There’s so much going on in front of the sidepods I swear there’s a magic eye puzzle in there, and as the only car that launched without a fin we can only hope it stays that way. The green and blue lines snaking along the car look fantastic on what would otherwise be a fairly standard corporate paint job. If it’s as fast as it looks, the rest of the grid should be worried.
So there we have it, that’s the highly unscientific Back Of The Grid rankings, but what’s your favourite? Drop us a comment or tweet to tell us how wrong we are and look out for the first full episode of the podcast after the first test!