Ranking the 2014 Formula 1 Cars on Their Appearance
Formula One's four-week break is almost over; the battle on the track will resume at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit on August 24th.
Before that, there's another important fight to contest—the F1 Summer Beauty Pageant.
We don't have a strong field in 2014. The regulations on nose dimensions have resulted in some rather unappealing outcomes. Fernando Alonso called the cars ugly back in February, and he wasn't kidding.
But one or two manage to rise above the others, mostly through the use of attractive liveries.
So looking at those two key areas of nose and livery, here's my take on the 11 entrants.
Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder, so you no doubt won't agree with everything you read. Feel free to comment with your own rankings.
There's an old saying, that if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.
Fortunately such things are only advisory.
Even so longer after its debut, one still cannot ignore the hideous front end of the Caterham—the double nose is the worst of a bad bunch. Painting it black helped a little, but it's still very much there.
And while British Racing Green is a beautiful colour, some cars just can't pull it off. The CT04 is one of them.
10. Toro Rosso
Toro Rosso have a somewhat unique nose solution which doesn't give the front of the car a very appealing look. The groove down the middle draws the eye to the thing; in an ideal world, we'd have our gaze directed elsewhere.
Moving to the colour scheme, the livery of Toro Rossos has always looked a little bit "off."
The shade of blue doesn't mesh well with the large Red Bull logos around the engine cover and red writing on the sidepods.
And unless the car's sporting soft tyres, the gold on the nose looks a little isolated and out of place.
The E22 is a curious little beast.
Aside from the Caterham, it has the worst-looking front end on the grid, and the different-length tusks make it especially difficult for those of us with any sort of obsession with symmetry.
But what the Lotus lacks in the front-end department, it makes up for a little bit in the paint job.
The team colours of black and gold always look good on a racing car, and are complimented rather than detracted from by the red of sponsor PDVSA.
Transplant the livery onto another car, and it'd be much higher up my list.
Ferrari eschewed the finger-nose solution and chose a swooping, lumpy front-end.
The result is what looks like the child of a beluga whale and an extraordinarily aggressive vacuum cleaner.
Disappointed tifosi can at least take solace from the fact the livery is on the pleasant side.
The three main colours compliment each other nicely, and the only real downside is that the rear end is perhaps a little bit too heavy on the black.
We have a lipstick on a pig situation, and the result is a moderately attractive, nicely rouged swine.
But a swine it remains.
Sauber have again gone for a dark, neutral colour scheme.
The grey is dull but lends itself reasonably well to the C33—as we knew it would, because the 2013 Sauber looked lovely sporting a very similar shade. The 2014 effort also shares its predecessor's white-and-red flecks, albeit in a slightly less attractive position.
What lets Sauber down is the nose. The shape isn't bad in comparison to the rest of the field, but colour scheme draws attention to it.
They even put little stripes on the front, highlighting the shape.
A step back from last season, but at least they beat their engine supplier...
6. Red Bull
Red Bull use a slightly different shade of bluish purple to their younger siblings at Toro Rosso, so usually produce slightly more attractive cars.
The gold on the top of the engine cover helps to lessen the impact of the never-lovely Red Bull logo just behind it, and the coloured stripes on the side of the monocoque are a nice touch.
The keel nose is a more aesthetically pleasing solution than the finger too, especially when painted a nice concealing shade of black.
But overall it's a little bit too functional and filled up—and while the chosen shade is nicer than that of Toro Rosso, it still isn't a very nice colour for a racing car.
The 2014 Marussia is their best-looking car to date.
Their front end is on the attractive end of the finger-nose scale, with a much shorter protrusion than most of their rivals.
It's also painted black, and from some angles it's hard to tell it's there at all.
The rest of the car is kept fairly simple. Black dominates the lower regions of the body, with a splash of red on top of the sidepods and engine cover to form a vague approximation of the letter "M."
It looks quite tasteful for a logo, and a dash of white completes the look.
McLarens have tended to be attractive cars for a very long time. The beautiful red-and-white Marlboro livery of the 1970s, '80s and '90s gave way to an equally appealing silver-and-black-based paint job when West took over as sponsor.
So it came as quite a shock when the MP4-29 was unveiled as a bland, featureless lump of grey misery. Happily, it has since improved.
The front of the car features an average-looking finger-nose, with wide-flaring support posts either side of a droopy proboscis.
But the colour offsets that somewhat. The black and silver go beautifully together, better than any two colours on the grid. The sparsely spread sponsor logos compliment the overall scheme.
It's not quite as nice as last year's red-splashed car, though. And this version would be better still.
The front end of the W05 is the most attractive on the grid. The downswept nose isn't going to land it a starring role in Baywatch, but within the 2014 regulations it's as good as we were ever going to get.
On the paint side, it's not unlike the McLaren—predominantly silver. Maybe too silver.
The black on the engine cover breaks up the monotony and looks very good, but the curious Petronas green flips between nice and nasty depending on how the light hits it.
Overall a quite attractive car, but could be a little better.
2. Force India
The complimentary-colours wheel suggests the Force India shouldn't work, but for some reason it does. The predominantly white design of 2013 is out, replaced by a much darker, black-and-orange-dominated livery.
The smaller patches of green and white have been tastefully applied to create a very "busy" but also very attractive car.
The red Claro logo looks a bit out of place and the rear-wing end-plates are an acquired taste, but overall it's one of the nicest-coloured cars out there.
Nasally it's quite disappointing, with an above-average size proboscis grafted onto an otherwise pleasant front-end.
But by painting it a nice concealing black, the team have reduced its impact.
The launch-spec FW36 was a bland blue, but once Martini came on board the car was transformed.
It's let down slightly by the nose, which isn't as appealing as that on the Mercedes or Red Bull—but of the finger noses, it's one of the nicest.
And the livery is without equal.
The gleaming white is broken up with a lovely looking Martini logo and the famous stripes which run from exhaust to nose. The engine cover and front wing supports deserve extra attention.
They could probably get away with slightly thicker Martini stripes down the body, but that's just being picky.
It's one of the best-looking cars of this millennium—and even looks stylish upside down.