It’s the pinnacle of motorsport, but there have been some seriously ugly F1 cars over the years. Here are five of the worst.
2007 Honda RA107
Having taken a breakthrough win in 2006, their first year as a full-blown factory team, Honda’s hopes were high for 2007. Unfortunately the Japanese manufacturer proceeded to build a pig of a car that the combined talents of Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello could do very little with. Worst of all was its livery: they overlaid a map of the world on to the car, ostensibly as a pro-green statement. However a few cynics suggested it was more to do with the fact that they hadn’t attracted a major sponsor for that season. Either way, it was not a looker.
1979 Ensign N179
The first thing wrong with Ensign’s N179 is that it shares its name with a London bus. Aesthetically it could pass for the 2014 Ferrari’s long-long-lost grandfather, with what look like metallic stairs on its ill-conceived nose section. Of course, all would be forgiven if it had been fast – but alas, the N179 was every bit a bus in this respect. From 15 attempts it qualified for just six races, finishing only three. Derek Daly scored their best result, an 11th place on debut in Argentina.
1972 Eifelland Type 21
When caravan magnate Guenther Hennerici entered F1 in 1972 he commissioned Luigi Colani to design the car. Colani has a fascination with roundness, which explains why there are no sharp angles on the Eifelland Type 21. What cannot be justified, however, is the presence of a rear-view mirror directly in front of the cockpit. Driver Rolf Stommelen kept his head down – literally – and did a solid job, but the car failed to score points and the team withdrew before the season’s end.
2001 Arrows A22
The so-called ‘X-Wings’ became an F1 fashion craze in the late ’90s. Pioneered by Tyrrell’s genius designer Harvey Poselthwaite, they were in fact re-modelled leftovers from elsewhere on the car, and soon sprung up on several rival machines before being banned in 1998. But in 2001 the struggling Arrows team resurrected the idea in the most bizarre manner possible, placing what resembled a mini-rear-wing on the car’s nose – and directly in the driver’s line of vision. And where did they choose to do this? At Monaco, of course, the calendar’s most challenging circuit. Needless to say they looked ridiculous and were promptly banned.
1975 March 751
The monstrous rear-end of the 1975 March could be described as a very primitive attempt at a diffuser, but it clearly lacks the sculpted elegance of modern day examples. Add to that a snow-shovel front and an airbox that resembles a gigantic periscope and you have a seriously unattractive machine. However the 751 was a reasonable piece of kit, and fortunately it had been tidied up in time for its moment of glory. Vittorio Brambilla won the 1975 Austrian Grand Prix for the team with a much less offensive rear-end, though he did manage to crash immediately afterwards.