The 2012 Formula One season has dawned upon us. With the recent rule changes regarding the height of the front nose on the cars, the majority of this years cars ar equipped with the controversial "step nose". A lot of fans, journalists and even teams have been commenting how ugly and unsightful they look. In my opinion, they honestly do not look that bad! I'm sure with time, they will be accepted by the fanbase and media as the norm. Today, we will look at some of the cars that have made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Welcome to the X-Files...
Theodore TY01 (1981 - 1982):
Designed by Tony Southgate, the man responsible for Jaguar's success at Le Mans in the late 1980s, the car had an unusual wing mounted atop of the nose. The car was not competitive by any means and often struggled to even qualify in the hands of talented drivers like Derek Daly, Tommy Byrne and Jan Lammers to name a few.
Ensign N179 (1979)
The Ensign was unveiled to the world prior to the 1979 season starting to quite a lot of disbelief. It had all of it's radiators mounted in the front nose. Whilst this layout was not exactly ground breaking (teams had been running radiators in the noses of F1 cars for years), the general consensus was that the exposed nature truly made it one of the more uglier cars to grace the grid that year. The cars designer, Mo Nunn, had later decided after the first three races that this wasn't the way to go and reverted back to mounting the radiators in the side pods like everyone else that year. Funnily enough, it was Theodore that took over the ashes of Ensign in 1983 and Derek Daly who drove the car back in 1979... Seeing a pattern here?
Williams FW26 (2004)
The "walrus nose" Williams FW26 was another radical design that stunned the press during the 2004 pre-season launch. It featured a very short nose with tusks that integrated the front wing into a more flowing design. With factory BMW backing at the time, the car was a consistant points finisher at the hands of Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher, however covention prevailed and the nose was redesigned by the Hungarian GP.
Eifelland Type 21 (1972)
You could say that the Eifelland Type 21 launched in 1972 was doomed from the start. Based on the majorly unsuccessful March 721 chassis, car designer Luigi Colani who was later contributed to penning the designs of the Mazda MX-5, built the bodywork. The first designs resembled more of an open-top Le Mans prototype than an open wheeler, however with track time, the design evolved into a more customary shape. The most outlandish feature of the Type 21 was the periscope rear view mirror, which was mounted right in the drivers line of sight. Whilst it may not have impeaded the drivers line of sight too much with the narrow mount, it surely would have been distracting for its driver Rolf Stommelen. Adding to that the air intake placed infront of the driver, if anything it certainly looked to be ahead of its time. Due to the terrible March 721 chassis, it's hard to come to a conclusion if the bodywork played a major part in the cars failure. However, if the factory March teams performance that year was anything to go by, it surely wasn't the only contributing factor to the Eiffeland's demise.
Lotus Cosworth 4WD (1969)
Finally, we have the Cosworth 4WD. Colin Chapman's foray into the world of 4WD race cars. Back in the late 1960s, aerodynamics was still very much a black art in motorsport. It was the advent of the aerofoil/wing era with weird, wonderful and sometimes crude additions to the cars. Teamed with Maurice Philippe, Colin used his success' at the Indianapolis 500 to transfer the technology over to F1. After several fruitless outings with drivers Mario Andretti and John Miles behind the wheel, the car was scrapped for the rest of the season. Colin did play with 4WD F1 cars over the next few years, however with limited success. In 1969, Lotus played around with some outlandish aerodynamic designs to try and help aid the lack of pace possessed by the 63. As you can see, they weren't exactly the prettiest cars in the paddock.
There are certainly, many more examples that have graced race tracks around the world. So tell us what cars you think should make the cut!