With another flood of — to quote the rest of the F1B team — super exciting car launches today, we’ve got a look at the top Formula 1 cars for the 2013 season. And I bet Todd’s working on getting up Toro Rosso’s entry right now.

So, we are at the point in the pre-season when Big Question No. 2 rolls around. (Big Question No. 1 is always: Which driver got a raw deal and is out of the sport? This year, that seems an especially prickly question with no clear winner. The year before, it was Rubens, hands down. Next year’s front-runner: Felipe Massa, of course.)

And that question is: Which car, purely on looks, do you like the best?

As Paul suggested on last week’s podcast — or maybe I read between the lines or just forced by own interpretation onto what he said — these “livery roll-outs” aren’t really about what’s underneath the exterior, or even just how aerodynamic and innovative that exterior is. It’s about the sponsors, how well they are being treated and highlighted. It’s about the aesthetics of the car, a bit more generally, too.

When it comes to pleasing the sponsors, Mercedes may have scored first and best. Petronas and Blackberry (remember them/it?) have got to be very pleased.

mercedes F1 W04 2 c600

 

That’s some good, clean placement for both.

When it comes to aesthetics — a prize Ferrari ought to win every year, but doesn’t — I’m going with Sauber. I don’t know what it is about the C 32, but I love it. Seriously. Given how, to some extent, F1 cars no longer look like F1 cars, I can’t imagine one of these machines looking much better than this.

Sauber C32 launch c600

Probably part of the beauty — and you can compare it directly to the Mercedes — is the lack of livery. That is one sleek, and dare I say fast, looking car. Imagine if Telmex had put in enough money to get Petronas’ placement, though.

Much as Paul, again, last week talked about having to balance a paid driver vs. paying one, possible points (and money) vs. the dollars from a driver’s sponsors, the livery is a balance, too. It’s just that looking fast doesn’t make a car go faster — but it may capture a fan’s attention and hook him or her. Is that worth anything?

Maybe.

One final car — before pitching it to you to say which one you like best — to mention: Force India’s VJMO6. I of course want to like it (and I finally, stupid me, realized what Force means — got that while in India), but there’s something off. The Sahara is jarring, and the rear wing is an abomination of the DRS variety.

Force India VJM06 2013 c600 2

OK, so… your favorites? I know there’s been reaction to individual cars, but how about each of them, side by side?

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Steve
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Steve

What do you mean by “…and I finally, stupid me, realized what Force means — got that while in India” ?

Negative Camber
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Negative Camber

I think Steve turned to the dark side…along with Darth Vader. Or maybe it’s a Hindu spiritual thing being as he’s the world’s most accomplished Ashtanga master. ;)

SJ Skid
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SJ Skid

It’s nothing that sinister. I’d always wondered why there was “Force” in the name (seemed sort of silly), and never wondered enough to bother looking it up… it’s just a car maker in India. Not as big as Tata, of course. Oh, and I also saw Sahara billboards. So that’s not just a reference to the desert.

If the picture isn’t totally clear, I sent the holiday in India. I keep expecting Todd to have me on a podcast to talk about it.

Matthew Lewis
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Matthew Lewis

Livery is a huge factor to the casual fan but not necessarily the die hard’s who will naturally support their teams and/or drivers. Go to any race club or national meeting where the cars are similar manufacturer and drivers less well known and your routinely hear fans picking the cars to support in that race that appeal to them the most, that’s probably no different to a casual F1 fan. Also ask a fan to pick his favorite cars from the post sponsorship era and you’ll be surprised how often the 7-Up Jordan or JPS Lotus will come up… sponsor… Read more »

SJ Skid
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SJ Skid

I was thinking, in part, about a younger fan — maybe just getting the “bug.”

Negative Camber
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Negative Camber

I really like the Sauber for some reason. Looks great!

Philip Pegler
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Philip Pegler

The RB9 looks beautifully crafted; as are all cars by Adrian Newey. There is never any waste, no unnecessary parts; everything that you see has a purpose, no matter how subtle. Most crucially, as with all of Adrian’s projects, it’s what you can’t see that what does the ultimate damage. The MP4/28 is attractive, Sauber’s revised livery is striking, and Ferrari have returned to having an attractive car once again. Today revealed both the Mercedes and the Toro Roso. The latter is rather slick, as was the STR7, but the Mercedes has the odd-looking, forward-slanting front wing assembly and it’s… Read more »

Niyoko
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Niyoko

I’m going to say the Sahara Force India car is the best looking out of the bunch this week. Force India’s car is nicely filled up with sponsors, good on them. It’s not the prettiest color scheme, but I have to think that they are trying to play to the Indian crowd and not Americans or Europeans. If there was a team with the stars and stripes plastered all of it, I would LOVE it, hell ya America! I imagine people in India have some affection for seeing their country’s color on an F1 car. No one will go mistaking… Read more »

bazl10
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bazl10

The problem is that the majority of the sponsors on the FI are brands in the ownership of VJ and/or Sahara, so it wasn’t tough for them to slap them all over the car. I don’t mind their colour scheme but the high nose and narrow sidepods give a line to the car which just isn’t in harmony with the rest of the bulk of the design. As well as that the Force India part of the Sahara Force India name looks like it’s gotten lost under the sidepod. I’d agree that the Sauber is by far the prettiest this… Read more »

SJ Skid
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SJ Skid

Am I right, though, that the livery on the rear wing sort of messes with the Indian colors?

I will probably, finally, be getting some Force India merc though. Especially if I can manage the USGP.

Last2 late brake
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Last2 late brake

I love the Macca flow it’s always a sexy car.
Ferrari have a pretty car but that Sauber is sex.

Mercedes looks nice but I’ve said that before.

The Red Bull with that purple is orgasmic in terms of flash.

It’s not a fashion show though. We will see in Australia what’s what.

Btw Heikki got shafted this year, he will be missed.

Rik
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Rik

Sauber seems to have taken a cleaner approach this year as last year’s car was BFU with that aweful color scheme. This color is not attractive but it suits the car very well. Last year Lotus was a good looking car but seems to not look as good as the logo has less gold color to it, in the photos at least.

Mark J Daniels
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Mark J Daniels

I think they all look much better than last year, with the exception of the Lotus, which has stuck with that silly platypus nose.

But on looks alone, for me, it’s the Ferrari that’s winning.

Tim
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Tim

For me, it’s the Sauber hands down. The only thing it’s missing is a major sponsor on the side pod. Maybe with some good finishes, that might change sometime during the year.

dom
Guest
dom

The Ferarri has a nice clean, classic look to it. Good balance and use of colour. It’s distinctive and recognizable without going too far. I’m not a fan but it’s a beautiful car. The Caterham is also nice. Force India and Red Bull are both far too garish – with Red Bull probably taking the first prize – as Jack Flash said in another post it’s like they’re going for this hipster street racer aesthitic which to me looks awful. I agree also with niyoko above that too many of the grey cars start to blur into one another but… Read more »