Analysis: Ferrari concept shows looks matter in Formula 1

The surge of excitement created by Ferrari's concept Formula 1 car shows that a big change to the look of grand prix machinery would be popular

Analysis: Ferrari concept shows looks matter in Formula 1

Although there has been some negative feedback about the design, the buzz surrounding the concept shows that perhaps the current generation of F1 cars do not inspire anymore.

In fact, Ferrari's bid to generate debate with a futuristic car comes on the back of a push by many teams to try to recreate the magic of past F1 cars - with wider track, bigger tyres and 1000bhp engines as they were in the 1980s.

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McLaren and Red Bull did produce some concept ideas at a recent strategy group meeting, but both teams have declined to release these images to the public.

It was at the Italian Grand Prix last year that McLaren chairman Ron Dennis spoke openly that it was essential F1 improved in the visual stakes.

"My own view is that we should actually commission stylists to create what a new F1 car should look like," he said.

"It should be something where a child is absolutely itching to grab it and go 'zoom, zoom'.

"It has to be futuristic - and then what we will do is reverse engineer the regulations, so that the rules give birth to that car, whatever that car looks like."

Dennis believed that IndyCar's decision to adopt a bold new look for 2012 showed the value of aesthetics, even if that category's design was not universally liked.

"Look at IndyCar," he said. "It looks considerably different to what the car looked like three or four years ago.

"Now, good, bad or indifferent, I think we have to look at a modern F1 car."

But one thing that Dennis has stood firm on is that any change needs long-term planning, and the longer the window to implement it the more radical it can be.

It is hard to imagine F1 could agree to go down the Ferrari route within a couple of years, but maybe over a five-year spell a bold new route could be adopted.

Dennis added: "We need some practical objectives when we bring out F1 2020, so no one fears anything.

"No F1 team, engine manufacturer or car manufacturer should fear anything if it is long range. We know we have to evolve to it.

"What is horrendously expensive is overnight change. It doesn't matter how radical an F1 car looks in 2020.

"It doesn't matter how big the engine is or small the engine is."

As Ferrari's concept shows, how the cars look is of much more interest to fan than how wide its suspension is or what configuration of engine is inside it.

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