F1's "spectacular" 2017 cars have banished ugly noses

Formula 1's 2017 cars have delivered on the looks front, with leading figures insisting there is no repeat of rule errors like that which opened the door for ugly noses a few years ago.

F1's "spectacular" 2017 cars have banished ugly noses
Jenson Button, McLaren F1 Team
Pat Symonds, Williams Chief Technical Officer
Sauber F1 Team
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing testing the new 2017 Pirelli tyres
Pat Symonds, Williams Chief Technical Officer
Sergio Perez, Sahara Force India F1 VJM07
Jenson Button, McLaren MP4-29
Toto Wolff, Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director in the FIA Press Conference
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari testing the new 2017 Pirelli tyres
Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull Racing testing the new 2017 Pirelli tyres
Pascal Wehrlein, Mercedes AMG F1 testing the new 2017 Pirelli tyres

As well as the changes coming for this year being aimed at making cars faster, some of the tweaks were aimed at making F1 cars look more aggressive again.

It came against the backdrop of F1 having faced criticisms about its previous generation of challengers, which included a spate of ugly noses.

Former Williams chief technical officer Pat Symonds, who played a role in helping frame the F1 2017 rules, believes that the cars will be appealing to look at, which was one of the areas that the teams were asked to address.

"I think the cars look great," Symonds told Motorsport.com, having followed closely the progress of the Williams car before his departure at the end of last year.

"I've said before I was really worried that they'd look quite retro, but they don't. They look quite nice.

"As with all these things, we could have tidied up a few areas and done things better to improve the aesthetics of the cars. But it's not like the horrible [stepped-noses] things we had in 2012 or that sort of time."

Status quo change

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff acknowledged that, while the new cars look "spectacular", the chances of getting it wrong with the design of the new car are higher.

"I am most excited to see how the new cars are going to go because we expect them to be much faster," said Wolff this week. "They look spectacular, and it is going to be much more physical for the drivers.

"But when there are such a regulation change, it gives opportunities and risks and we have set aggressive targets for where we think the car should be going to and also the engine. We are pushing flat out to achieve those targets, but will those targets be enough or will other teams come out of the blocks better than we do? We don't know.

"But whether there is a regulation change or not, it is always the time of the year where we are all very sceptical, where we question ourselves on whether we have done a good enough job.

"It has always been our mentality in the team. It doesn't make our days more happy but it is how we function."

Symonds also reckons that the regulations changes could alter the pecking order at the front of the grid.

"In terms of the racing I think the jury's still out, but I do believe it has a very good chance of altering the status quo, and I think that's quite a good thing, just because it's a reset," he said.

"One can understand why Mercedes were perhaps not quite so keen on any change."

Overtaking issues

Symonds concedes, however, that downforce levels making it harder to overtake could become an issue after the first few races.

Overtaking was not part of the discussions as the rules were being drafted.

"The brief, for what it was worth, was to make it five seconds quicker. There wasn't even any rationale as to why we should do that," he said.

Symonds is hopeful that with the help of Ross Brawn - who will be the sport's managing director - F1 will have more coherent planning in the future.

"I hope that if nothing else we have a strategy in F1. We had a Strategy Group but they didn't really understand the meaning of the word. Hopefully things can be thought through, and in addition to thinking it through you can be looking at where we might be in years to come.

"I've always worked on three-year plans. I revise those three-year plans, I don't wait until the end of them and start again – I look at them at the end of six months, extend them by six months, and see what's valid and what isn't valid.

"I think F1 needs to do something similar – five years rather than three years because of the complexity of it."

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