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What’s the prettiest F1 car ever?

  1. More than Lewis’s turn of pace, more than Jenson’s resurgence, more than Kevin Magnussen’s raw talent or the problems at Red Bull, there was one topic that dominated the first F1 test at Jerez.

    Yep, it was the strange look of the cars, specifically those nosecones that resembled, um, futuristic marital aids.

    ‘Are these the ugliest bunch of F1 cars ever?’ asked some of you. In an attempt to answer, we drew up a list of the biggest Grand Prix mingers in history.

    And then you lot got a bit angry, and said we had no idea what we were talking about, and that the 1979 Ensign N179 was actually a Mona Lisa-esque stunner. Apparently this whole ‘beauty’ thing is rather subjective.

    So now’s your opportunity to turn it back on us. We want you to tell us the prettiest and finest looking F1 cars from history. As a prompter, we’ve included some to get you started. And none of them have a nosecone that will feature in Ann Summers’ upcoming Easter collection…

    Pictured: Ferrari 412 T1 driven by Jean Alesi

  2. 1954/1955 Mercedes W196

    Time for a crisis. It had a short life, but a pretty one. The streamlined body in the pic above was built for the faster tracks, but its open-wheeled variant was equally drool-worthy (Fangio’s actual W196 sold last year for a record £19.6m, don’t forget).

  3. 1977 Wolf WR1

    Austrian businessman Walter Wolf restructured his Formula One team going into 1977 - with Jody Scheckter on board - though nobody expected them to take victory in the first race of the season with Scheckter ending up 2nd in the drivers’ championship behind a certain Niki Lauda.

  4. 1975 Brabham BT44

    From the pen of Gordon Murray comes the BT44, and it looked really quite excellent. An early attempt at ground effect aero came via those side skirts, while underneath sat a 3.0-litre Ford V8, good for around 430bhp.

    We managed to haul the BT44 - and its Martini liveried brethren - into the Top Gear studio for a little photo shoot. You will want to click here to see the results.

  5. 1989 McLaren MP4/5

    Big car, this. Not only did it look entirely brilliant, it also allowed McLaren to take TEN victories during the season - six for Senna, four for Prost - giving ‘The Professor’ (that’s Alain Prost) the ‘89 driver’s title, and McLaren the constructor’s championship. Its successor in 1990 would become even more famous after that Japanese GP when Senna and Prost collided, handing the championship to Ayrton. Unbeatable in its day.

  6. 1978 Lotus 79 'JPS'

    The car that helped Mario Andretti to the ‘78 F1 title, and the one that pioneered proper ground effect aero, it’s one of the most famous - and important - Formula One cars in history. Wins in Belgium, Spain, France, Germany and the Netherlands meant it was quick on its day - though it was plagued by problems, with four retirements over 1978. But still. What a car. What a livery.

What do you think?

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