I am unable to agree with Raph’s rant about the lack of beautiful Formula One cars from the other day. Complicated, intricately curved and folded aerodynamic bits are entirely my jam. Then Force India whipped out its new VJM10 with a penis-nosed front end that is truly the ghost of ugly F1 cars past. Oh, no. Bless their hearts.
Ninety-five percent of Force India’s Mercedes-powered 2017 car is brand new, according to Force India Technical Director Andrew Green. However, certain elements feel more like flashbacks to old ideas we’d rather forget.
The VJM10 has a hideous steeped nose reminiscent of the ungainly workaround teams developed in 2012 to get around new crash safety rules. The steeped noses at the time were so visually offensive that F1 revised its regulations once again to allow a non-structural laminate fairing to cover it up for 2013, GPUpdate notes. Sure, Formula One is all about function over form, which I adore about the series—but that doesn’t mean we aren’t still going to yearn for more elegant solutions.
Worse yet, the silver strip highlighting the elongated central part between the two nostrils in the front of the car’s nose only serves to make it look like one of the much-loathed dong noses from 2014.
This fascinating two-nostriled nose should grab my attention as a completely new and interesting solution as to what to do with the volume of air assaulting the front end of a Formula One car at high speed. However, placing a bright silver shaft on top of the assembly is right alongside “hold my beer and watch this” and “eating an entire lasagna before a road trip” in the Bad Decisions Hall of Fame.
The silver livery itself is yet another nuisance, should the F1 grid return to the unfortunate 14 Shades of Grey schtick it’s had the past several years. Believe it or not, some of us would like more visual cues to easily tell the cars apart from a glance, and you don’t achieve that by painting your car the same metallic silver as three other cars on the grid.
The rest of the car is much of what I love and Raph doesn’t: tons of complicated aerodynamic forms. I’m going to need to see neon green flow-viz oozing over that hyper-complicated front wing immediately because it’s so cool. There is a thoroughly massive shark fin down the middle, which was no doubt emphasized further by the angle at which the car was displayed today.
The wide uprights for the rear wing are also angled back, much like the other 2017 cars we’ve seen so far.
Force India stopped development of their 2016 car in May to focus on getting this year’s challenger up to snuff ahead of the new regulations. Despite that, 2016 was the ten-year-old team’s best year yet, ending with a fourth-place finish in the constructors’ championship.
Overall, this car is perhaps best viewed from behind. Please be fast, Force India. Esteban Ocon and Sergio Pérez, you’re our only hopes. We really don’t want to look at the front of your cars.