Well blow me down with a big fat feather. Ferrari has once again won the race to become the first team to reveal its latest challenger, when the team unveiled the F150 at Maranello yesterday. Remarkably, its 2011 car is scarlet red, has Santander logos emblazoned upon it and doesn’t look too dissimilar to the all-conquering Red Bull RB6. Who’d have thought it, eh?
Well me actually. Which may explain why I wasn’t in the slightest bit phased by the fact I couldn’t watch the launch live online due to work commitments. I don’t know, maybe it’s a by-product of getting old, but the pulling of the covers off the latest Formula One cars does very little for me these days.
I used to get all excited when the time came around to see what each squad had managed to conjure up in the factory over the off-season, but as time marches on my excitement levels have rapidly diminished.
Now before anyone reading this gets too excited and thinks I’m prattling on while wearing rose-tinted spectacles, hear me now: I still enjoy grand prix racing and tune into every single race. It’s just that everything is so fairly predictable when it comes to launch time, a time when I should find myself thrilled at the prospect of seeing the new cars ahead of a season’s racing.
I don’t want to detract from those of you who go into raptures over the minutest of alterations to a sidepod or wing mirror shape on the latest Sauber or whatever – I’m rather jealous of such enthusiasm for such trivialities in fact – but in all honestly, it’s tough getting excited about what is essentially a showcase for new colour schemes and I feel disloyal to the sport I love as a result of it.
The unfortunate problem is that the latest Formula One cars are not designed for looks but rather to be clever and technically efficient, whatever that may require. The logical extension of this is that nearly all the cars will have achieved the optimum within the rules of Formula One, and thus, they all look more or less the same in appearance. This is the price of progress.
So, thanks to tight regulations, any innovation is so subtle they’re hardly noticeable visually. Therefore, I expect all of this year’s cars to look boringly similar. Line them up side-by-side and remove their liveries and I believe that even the most ardent of racing fans would have a tough time telling them apart.
I do live in hope that someone will surprise me early next week when the bulk of the F1 field breaks cover on their new cars for this year, I seriously doubt it though. But I do think I’m long overdue a “wow” moment like the time I saw the Williams ‘walrus’ nose seven long years ago. Ugly and ineffective as it was, at least it was original.