As I have stated in the past, I don’t really do season review posts as other bloggers do a much better job at these than me. But there is one retrospective question I do like asking, and thankfully it is a question with no real correct answer: Who, in your opinion, had the best looking car during 2007? I like asking this because, to me at least, Formula One is the pinnacle of international motor sport and thus, should be heading the tables in every aspect. Now I know F1 doesn’t always achieve this, but regarding the spectacle of the machines involved, it tends to not do too badly in this area.
So, which one made your jaw drop in 2007? Was it the bling appeal of the McLaren MP4-22, or the interesting livery of Honda’s RA107? What about the moustache-adorned Williams FW29, or the simple-but-effective BMW F1.07? Below is my rank of the ’07 field, but feel free to list yours in the comments at the bottom.
Once again, the Oxfordshire lads and lasses built a good-looking car and continued their retro-ish livery of dark blue and white. Although it wasn’t the greatest performer, the FW29 had charm and elegance, even when it was missing wing-parts and gear cogs. Something F1 lacks all too often is character, but the 2007 challenger to come from Grove had this in abundance, and to me that sets it aside from the rest of the grid.
McLaren almost won last year as well, but again I feel the Woking team should sit behind the Williams. The MP4-22 is pretty with very tight lines and an absolutely gorgeous rear-wing mounting assemble, seen best in Monza trim. The chrome-effect paint job is certainly an area that marks them out among the field, but unlike Williams, the McLaren lacks the distinctive personality that F1 cars should have. To put it simply, it’s a bit too sterile.
Despite the disappointment of the F2007 launch where the car was hardly seen, Ferrari did produce a real looker this year. With tight lines almost equal to McLaren, the Ferrari looked every bit as technical as it did elegant. A change of colour part-way through the year also brought a smile to my face, seeing the Scuderia revert to a more traditional shade of red.
I remember the launch of Renault’s R27, and the subsequent cries of sorrow across the internet and paper publications. The marque had finally moved away from Oviedo-blue with reference to losing its Spanish driver and tobacco advertising. But while many lambasted the French for going giddy over new sponsors and changing the colour scheme (or throwing it out of the window, depending on your viewpoint), I liked it. The yellow remained, and the dark flourishes were almost retro-like, heralding from Renault’s long history in the sport. The car looked good and almost made up for the lack of pace.
Red Bull Racing
Red Bull have never featured so high in my most desirable list before, so perhaps the addition of Adrian Newey to their design department has done some good. Although the RBR3 spent most of its time stuck in one gear, the brief flashes of speed complimented the now standard livery. Red Bull’s look has never been outrageous (on the track), but the understated colours have grown on me. Coupled with a few ‘borrowed’ nuances from McLaren and the car looked great. They also allowed me and thousands of others to change their livery in aid of charity at the British Grand Prix, raising oodles of money for Wings For Life in the process.
Super Aguri: Simple. Understated. Based on a known quantity (the Honda RA106). Reasonably quick on a good day. Why go out of town for shopping when sometimes the local shop is equally as good, even stocking the same product at equal price.
If you can, for just a minute moment, ignore the fact that hundreds of names were printed in tiny letters over a map of the world wrapped around the skin of an F1 machine, you might see that the car wasn’t so ugly. Not underneath, anyway. I remember seeing the RA107 in its now traditional colourless guise during testing, and it was a fine specimen. It’s just a shame it didn’t really go anywhere fast. Oh, and that they painted a picture of the Earth on it.
Scuderia Toro Rosso
STR made a leap forward in the latter half of the ’07 season, perhaps thanks to the adverse weather, maybe even the decline of Super Aguri’s development. But with their new-found success I looked at the car a little differently. I guess it is best described as the Red Bull’s younger teenage brother; loud, lairey, moody and uncontrollable. With mood swings and garish clothes that rebel against its peers, STRs red bull motif has begun to grow on me a tad. Perhaps it is because I now see the comedy-value in the team, what with my perception of them being mirrored by the political shenanigans that dogged them mid-season, but it wasn’t that bad looking, was it?
Orange has played a part in Formula for many-a-decade, and that is why I like to see the colour continue to cause upsets with sponsors today. The colour annoys corporate bigwigs because it is so hard to get it to display correctly when being filmed. Sometimes it comes across as red, sometimes pink and other times it can be shown in a sort of mustardy hue. So to see Spyker line up on the grid with an orange motor made me smile. Of all the teams to add an extra challenge to their growing list, the poorest of performers seemed like an unnatural candidate. Another trait the F8-VII follows Williams, and that is character. The car developed a plucky back-of-the-grid personality, and when Marcus Winkelhock led the European Grand Prix, albeit briefly, I couldn’t help but smile. Personality is important, and Spyker transformed the passionless Midland into the happy middle-ground between Jordan and McLaren.
Like with the Toyota below, BMW have fallen into the corporate hole of blandness. While branding is absolutely vital these days, some manufacturers take it to new levels, refusing to attempt anything outside of the box through fear of causing a monumental crash in sales and reputation. Which is a great shame for the German squad as they had the third best car out there in ’07 and did an awful lot to open up Formula One to the fans. Their ‘Theme Park’ attracted praise from most quarters, but the white cars with blue and red stripes is becoming tired. I would suggest green and pink for the F1.08, but I don’t think my message will be heard.
As with BMW, Toyota couldn’t design themselves out of a crayon box. And to add insult to injury, the car was not the performer their budget allows.