Today, Williams unveiled its wing package for the 2009 season, and I have to say, it isn't a looker.
True, F1 cars have grown increasingly complex and vulgar with their shark fins, pieces on the side pods, and even nose wings (like on the McLaren and BMW Sauber this year). However, all these horrible pieces of aero equipment pale in comparison to the monstrous creation concocted by the new aero rules in 2009.
With the banning of spare parts on the main body of the cars, a large part of the many changes made for F1 in 2009, I had hoped that the cars would go back to a more sleek, nimble design.
In the early 1950s, and even up to the late 1990s, F1 cars were designed to make us marvel at the technical achievement, but also the beauty and elegance of these machines. Especially how they were so cool and calm at 200mph.
I do not see that in this F1 car.
The 2009 model is designed around that concept. With a high rear wing and wide low front assemblage, it has taken pursuit of aerodynamics to another level, with the wide and low nose (surely begging to be swiped by another car, kerb, or bump) and the vile rear wing. But to me, the changes look unnatural, ugly, and off-putting.
Of course, if they help improve racing in F1, then I may be able to get used to them. But what was wrong with simply toning down the number of aero parts on the car? Simply removing all the tiny appendages on the sidepods?
The cars worked before (1998-2000) and we saw some of the most thrilling action and racing in F1's history. So why is it necessary to destroy the aesthetics of a car so much?
What truly unnerves me about the design is that it really looks like some strange experiment that the team is testing out. Remember the wings on the nosecone used by Arrows and Jordan in 2001? Those strange wing mirrors used briefly in 1998? Or how about the six-wheeled F1 cars? These were radical changes, but they were never permanent.
The FIA and F1 teams are seriously putting forward this concept as the future of F1. It worries me that while the most recent cars were not exactly pretty, this contraption beggars belief in its inability to charm the audience.
F1 is about the racing, of course. If the new aero regulations allow better racing, more action, more incident and controversy, then this new form of vehicle will probably be accepted.
But, in essence, these cars have no soul. Even if we see a great season in 2009, I will still look at that rear wing and say, that car was not built for the people. It was not built as a classic design or to admire F1 for its ability to reach the highest height of technology, but also pull off an excellent piece of design.
If anything, this is a testament to the soulless, corporate nature of F1 where winning is everything.
There is no style, no glamour, no pizzazz about F1 anymore. Anybody who has any knowledge about this sport will tell you that isn't what the pinnacle of motorsport is all about.
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