F1 Winter Break
Ferrari take new direction in bid to recapture the magic
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  03 Feb 2012   |  12:48 pm GMT  |  237 comments

When we look back on the 2012 F1 season in photos and yearbooks, we will wince at the ugliness of the cars, especially the nose sections. Luckily it won’t last long, it’s a passing phase, because in 2014 the new rules mean a totally new generation of F1 cars.

Ferrari, arguably F1’s most stylish brand, has today unveiled the F2012. It’s a car whose nose is aesthetically challenged, but if it’s fast, no-one at Maranello will care about that. And it needs to be fast, because this needs to be the year Ferrari gets back into the winners’ circle on a regular basis.

The nose is a significant talking point for aesthetic reasons, but the pull rod front suspension is a talking point from an engineering stand point. It’s not been done for a while and it shows the current Ferrari technical management are not averse to taking risks.

“I’m sure that this season I can say it will be a red season.” This was the confident prediction of Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo as the Italian team pulled the wraps off the radical-looking car that it hopes will take it back to world championship-winning ways in 2012.

The Formula 1 world had long been expecting Ferrari to ‘go aggressive’ with the design of their new car in wake of two seasons largely playing third fiddle to Red Bull and McLaren and so it was little surprise that the new challenger unveiled at Maranello on Friday, titled the F2012, was more outwardly different to its predecessor than was the case with the latest McLaren earlier this week.

With severe snow and ice in the area having forced the team to abandon plans to do the unveiling event at their Fiorano test track, and instead run a purely online ceremony via their website, team principal Stefano Domenicali joined race drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa on stage for the reveal of the car on stage before a recorded message from president Luca di Montezemolo was played in.

Montezemolo had already previously been quoted as describing the F2012 as “ugly” and the car duly features a new-style stepped nose – first seen on the Caterham CT01 last week but which didn’t feature on the more conventional-looking McLaren. Ferrari’s interpretation of the new nose-height regulations appears the most aggressive yet though with the angle down to the nose particularly sharp and then flattening out dramatically. The rear of the car is far sleeker though, with tighter sidepods and tightly-packaged rear bodywork as Ferrari attempt to claw downforce back lost through the banning of blown diffusers.

The design programme has been led by new technical director Pat Fry and much is expected of the new car. After being criticised for being too cautious with designs in recent years, Domenicali admitted that they had “learned” from the past and developed a new car that features “plenty of novelties and new developments”.The radical design appeared to impress both race drivers, with Massa expressing delight at its “very aggressive” appearance, while effective number one driver Alonso hopes it will give him the basis from which he can finally win his third world title. “It looks very different actually from what we’ve seen in the last two years,” he said. “I believe in the skills we have here at Ferrari, we always have to be optimistic. We have to fight for this title and get as many points in every race.”

For Massa, meanwhile, although it may only be the start of February, it was made clear that there would be no hiding place for him this season – the final one of his Ferrari contract. The vultures have been circling the 30-year-old for some time in the wake of two largely lacklustre seasons alongside Alonso, and at the launch di Montezemolo sent out a clear message to the long-serving driver: “Massa has to do something great, and something special, after a non-positive season. We are offering him the best conditions to do a great job.”

The Brazilian hasn’t won a race since melodramatic season finale of 2008 in Brazil when he came within about 30 seconds of being champion. In wake of what’s come since for Massa – including the Hungarian GP accident on 2009 when he suffered a fractured skull – his days as a serious title challenger seem a long time ago now, but for 2012 he’s feeling positive about making a return to the winners’ circle.

“I’d like to say this is going to be quite an important year for me and the whole team as well,” Massa said. “We want to fight to get the championship back and I really believe in my skills, this team and this car. I really feel focused on winning – there are plenty of positive thoughts in my head. I want to start the championship in the right way and finish in the right way.”

Domenicali had begun his speech by announcing that major sponsor Santander had extended its agreement with the team for a further three years up until 2017. The Spanish bank came on board in 2010 at the same time as the arrival of Alonso, who last year committed his future to the team until 2016.


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I don't care if this car is fast, it's fallen from the ugly tree and hit every branch on the way down!


another Duffy Duck nose car 🙂


most of the field are going to look like they came straight from the front impact test 🙂


I have a feeling they will have to "beautify" it with an antenna on the tip of the nose - like those feelers on 70s car corners so grandma wouldn't scrape the house on the way out of the rear garage.

Am I alone in thinking that nose cone visibility with this step is going to provide plenty of broken gear boxes and tears in 2012?

Adrian - out a titanium collision protection cage on the rear of the Red Bull for Seb's sake please.


Visibility shouldn't be worse than in previous years, the nose of the cars has been sloping down for quite a while and drivers were never truly able to see the front of their cars. The new regulations which stipulate an even lower nose than before will not change that.

As a matter of fact Heikki Kovalainen tweeted about this earlier this week and confirmed that the new lower noses don't reduce visibility as they couldn't see their nose anyway even in previous years.


ha ha ha...very funny


Although I voted that they look awful, no-one will care if they are winning. The mclaren looks great, but if its slow, it won't be long before they're copying the others. We won't really know until Australia if the ferrari is quick compared to the rest.


Looks like it's made of lego.



You can build good looking F1 Ferrari with LEGO. Check out my 1/4 scale.


James is becoming a master of politically correct. Let's adopt this phrase to describe all ugly F1 things in 2012: "aesthetically challenged"

Perhaps there should be a contest to give the F2012 a new name? How about F1GLY?


Good job!


It certainly looks like the lego cars I used to build. ¦¬)

Yours is way, way better!


It was fun to build it. Slow progress, took 4 months. Looking at it years after it was built - I think it lacks details. Perhaps one day I will refresh it.


i think the Lego car looks better than the Ferrari just launched it's awful


But real one is faster. 🙂


Hey Sebee, your car's cool.


Thanks. I like to build. (Garth in Wayne's World?) 🙂


I thought the same. Even if it is I'm sure Alonso will drag it round faster than it deserves. But it looks shocking.


Whilst I agree that so far, with the exception of the McLaren MP4-27 which is beautiful, the new nose designs are awful. I'm sure we'll all get past the questionable aesthetics soon enough. Things are beautiful if you love them and things are beautiful when they win. I'm eager to see the approach RBR are going to take.


I would really, and I mean really like to know what the difference aerodynamically is between the two. Efficiency wise as well.

Many others here have said, and I'm thinking it may be true - that Mclaren are not showing their final nose on the launched car. They knew it would be the way the cars would look, so by putting a different nose they are making everyone in the press show the "beautiful" car and say how ugly others are compared to McLaren. Then they will show their broken nose in testing.


However, they don't need a "broken nose". The bulkhead height on the M/P4-27 is below the maximum, unlike the other cars we've seen. Their very different approach with the low bulkheads, low nose and snow-plough means they comply without the need for the stepped-nose design. I agree the McLaren will be changed during testing, but given their completely different front-end design philosophy, the nose shape won't change. To do so would require a completely new monocoque and crash-testing.


Take a look a Craig Scarborough's MP4-27 Launch Analysis:


It seems as though the nose is below the required maximums and, as such, has the real possibility of sticking around.


Very nice.


Hi James

Any thoughts on why McLaren are the only team (so far) to have had an entirely lower front end, to avoid the need to step it down for the nose?

Have other teams missed a trick, or are McLaren going to find that this is a disadvantage?

So far, its safe to say the McLaren is easily the nicest looking car to have been unveiled, and it is purely because they've not got the platypus nose.


McLarens have had a lower-than-average nose for some time now and in the end of last year their car was as fast as the Red Bull, so I guess they must have felt pretty comfortable with keeping the nose low this time. Their "snow plow"-vane seems to work pretty well, so why change?


Look at last years Mclaren next to this years. the height of the nose is not much different. They will use this nose they know their solution works.


Hey!!!We have an imposter in our midst!!!


Maybe it's another person called Brad...


Different aero philosophy


Do you think a lot of these cars are in their final form, just the new ferrari has last years wings (front and rear) and seem to have taken a very simple approch to the step (compared to the CT1 and Force Indias curves in that area)


I voted awful because they are, but to be honest, if the cars are fast, it won't matter.

We will get used to this look in a race or two and all the talk will move from their looks to their speed and new innovations.


May I say the car is ugly?

Yes, I am McLaren fan, but I really like other car designs... but this (also Caterham, and thanks god in much smaller scale Force India) - I don't like like.


Anyway, can't wait till the tests begin! I know, they might not provide clear season start form guide, but it will be nice to see, who will be quick or not.


"I’m sure that this season I can say it will be a red season.” I agree; there will be many red faces in Australia.

“Massa has to do something great, and something special, ...” It is the Alonso factor which has dented Massa's confidence and hope. Ferrari has given Massa a car but not the necessary kind of support or the opportunity to finish in front of Alonso. I hope Massa wins the title instead of Alonso.

Vettel won two championships without the help of his team mate. But if Alonso to win, he will need Massa's help. Or other front running cars should bread down.

The car doesn't look that bad.


Vettel's 1st WDC could well have gone to Webber. Not saying Webber helped, but that one was half luck half genuine, it wasn't like Vettel dominated in 2010.


Vettel had at least 3 wins, bahrain, Australia, and Korea, that he didn't get due to car failure in 2010, he should have won with a much larger margin. His breaks broke in Spain too that year, and I'm pretty sure there was at least one other instance where he had a mechanical failure and lost significant points.


"Vettel won two championships without the help of his team mate. But if Alonso to win, he will need Massa’s help. Or other front running cars should bread down.

The car doesn’t look that bad."

Your kidding right? where have you been looking - RB FULLY support Vettel - at Webbers expense.

No it doesn't look that bad - its awful.


Alonso needs Massa's help to win a title? The first two he won he had hardly any help from team mates. Vettel had no help from his team mate? Help involves a team-mate that takes points/wins from others. Webber was leading at the final race of his first title season. The facts speak for themselves.


I voted awful, but I think the Mclaren looks great!

It's the stepped nose making these cars look ugly, I actually quite like the rest of the Ferrari package.


If McLaren can still produce a good looking car, why didn't Caterham and Ferrari ?

We will only know the answer when we see what difference the stepped nose cone makes to the Aero performance.

Ferrari is all about style beauty and performance. If the McLaren performs well, I can't see Montezemolo allowing Ferrari to persist with a nose design that he has already criticised as ugly.


they cant change it now the chassis stays the same all year


Unless the rules have changed, they can change their car, just its a massive task for any team and espcially with the RRA in place.

I remember Mclaren updating their MP4/18 to B spec, that was fundamentally a new chassis mid season, but because they had had such a poor year, it made no difference to their championship


They could remove the step by producing a new nosecone that has a slope upwards and extending back to meet the top of the step.

The bodywork incorporating the step itself is almost certainly a separate cover over the chassis because it doesn't appear to have any access hatches in it to get at the brakes and suspension. So there's nothing to stop that being redesigned either.


Removing the "step" would involve creating a whole new monocoque (with a lower joint to the nose cone) and whole new crash tests. It would also mean that the aero-design would have to be completely overhauled, because the lower end nose will impose a completely new air flow to the sidepods and the floor, all the way back to the rear. It's almost like designing a whole new car and you don't do that if you're not in desperate need to do so.


The nose has to be at the height it is where it is. There is no way to alter the chassis now, as it is homologated at the crash tests. They have a built in 7.5 mm step requirement that will not go away. I am very puzzled by the pull rod front suspension angles; there will be enormous loads and very little travel with those angles. How are the going to get shock absorbers to work? It almost seems like they won't have any suspension movement at all.


It also begs the question how Mclaren have managed to avoid the stepped nose in their interpretation of the rules? Higher rake? Does this mean the Red Bull will also avoid it?


They have a lower bulkhead height on the monocoque. Everyone else builds to the maximum height to get the most air possible under the nose. McLaren use a low nose in combination with their snow-plough device underneath it to generate the same performance.


Hi James,

A pretty awful looking car at the front but sleek at the back. What are your thoughts on these stepped noses? In the regulations, I think, the FIA have said that they have lowered the nose to stop the front of the car going into the cockpit of another car in the event of being hit in the side. These noses look terribly high and look as though they would go straight into the cockpit and could result in some pretty horrific accidents!


There kidding with this right?

Surely this is the actual car that failed the FIA crash test...


They must have used the online Lego model designer.


I bet where the front wing supports meet the underside of the nose isn't as rigid as other parts. They way it can push then section and tilt the wing down. The very thin and curling nose would also lend very well to this flexi-wing method.


I suppose we are all hopng that the 'ugly' noses seen so far prove to be slow and they get back to something more like the mclaren.

the ferrari,caterham and force india are uglier then a Ford Edsel and thats saying something! http://www.edsel.net/eds58.JPG


I know I probably will get hammered for this. I actually think that it's beautyfull in an agressive, purposefull way. It has some faint relation to ferrari 312 t4, which won them WDC in 79.. Maybe its just me (Ferrari fan since 77). dont know. If it wins races it's a thing of beauty, if not they'll


What I wanted to say before accidentally hitting the submit button was, that if it (the new Ferrari) does'nt win races they probably dub it the ugly duckling 😉


Heard it all before, seen it all before.

As they say 'When the flag drops, the bs stops' and so it is for another year.


We now have 3 of the four new cars with the 'beautiful' nose job. I wonder, has McLaren missed something here? I don't think it will be easy to change the nose if it becomes necessary.


The rule changes seem to have forced many of the 2012 designs to have this stepped nose - which to me looks wrong. It's not pretty. I can understand why there's the rule, but would it not have been better to have had a minimum area below a mandated height - that's what would help in a nose-to-side impact, spreading the load at a level where the protection exists.

I hope this Ferrari can challenge Red Bull, Mercedes and McLaren, so that we have an exciting season.


James, I've been waiting for your feature on the Ferrari car and it has arrived. Thanks!

A few questions and firstly the stepped-nose. I'm no expert on aero but would the stepped effect not disrupt airflow? Would it offer any benefits over the 'normal' nose? I wonder if Mclaren have got it right and interpreted the rules well. Look forward to seeing the RB on Monday to see what they come up with!

As for the pull-rod front suspension. How would it differ in performance (warm and cool conditions) in terms of grip and tyre life compared to push-rods?

I've just had a look at the following pic and a few details have caught my eye - http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/58272000/jpg/_58272990_ferrari.jpg:

1) The additional intake/scoop above the drivers head, its just slightly behind. 2) The fin on the engine cover. 3) The side-pod consruction as a whole looks interesting. Especially the way in tapers off towards the end. 4) The black aero piece just under the stepped portion of the nose. 5) Not sure of the exact term here, but the verticle part joining the nose to the front wing seems to have a large surface area.

Can anyone shed any light on these 5 points above please? Scarbs maybe? 🙂

Of course, theres also rumours about a super-special floor design but we wont see that unless its on a crane!


Phew! What a relief to know that we won't be tortured with the looks of such ugly ducklings come 2014.

I mean forget the nose, just look at the enormous mouth on that thing, that car is going to swallow lots of small animals whole that dare venture onto race tracts.

Seriously sports cars, let alone racing cars should look nice for try convincing clients to buy unattractive road cars.

But hey, from the nose backwards, that's a really pretty car Ferrari got there & from the very confident sounds of everyone at Maranello, am sure it will be pretty quick for in the past decade, Ferrari have had a knack for putting out rockets every even years e.g. 2002, 2004, 2006 (ish), 2008 and 2010 (ish)

Anyway, a quick Ferrari is good for the sport, I personally am hoping the F1 gods keep an eye on that saint Alonso like the have always done since 2007.

Yes, Alonso wants every trophy on offer in 2012 so bad, he could almost taste them but us real F1 fans know exactly what he's up to.

You see Alonso knows if he wins the year he would not only get immortalized with a wax figure at Madame Tussauds as the most complete driver EVER but he would also join that very exclusive bunch of drivers i.e. Senna & Schumi as drivers that won their third WDC at the age of 31.

But luckily the F1 gods & real F1 fans know he doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as those two savages (which should 3 savages TBH - Fangio) because Alonso is average in qualifying & pretty clumsy in the wet plus has never had a dominant wet race performance.

So methinks the F1 gods are going to throw a bloody tool box into that Ferrari front wing's mouth and if the snow storm at Maranello is a sign of things to come (Ferrari had to abandon their official launch), then we're going to have many more things not going Ferrari's way e.g. More cold weather races this year = More tyre heating issues.

May the good times roll.


Am already getting nervous on what a Massa desperate for wins is willing to do *cringes*


The enourmous mouth on that sir is due to ferrari moving the sidepods rearwards, giving more room to one of the most important areas for aero performance - hence the need to reinforce the side driver protection (probably the reason why they failed the crash test) shows that they are pushing the limits. The complete new front and rear suspension is a risk, but risk is good..!! Im guessing the stepped nose does not have a big effect on aero as the underside of the car is much more important... Eg highest nose possible, huge tongue.

Alonso is deffinetly the most complete driver, and there is absolute no doubt that he will win if the car is - not the fastest, but just about the fastest. He is one of the few drivers like shumi and senna that can literally push and pull the pace of the team forward. He has a never-die attitude which would make most of the drivers on the grid just that little bit special which is the difference between champions and the also-runs.

Although as always talk is cheap and qualifying of the first race is coming up fast... Lets see if the pretty Mclaren and the ugly ferrari can spoil the Bulls party...! Cant wait


I understand you quoted the last decade, but 2001 wasn't too bad, 2003 won half the races, and didn't Kimi win a load of races and the Championship in 2007???


Mclaren and Ferrari have chosen two different nose designs,if the two nose designs have a big performance diferences then we will be up to another year of a no mclaren ferrari fight, no classico.


Worst looking car to date!

Hopefully it's at the back of the grid so we don't see it


If the old adage of "if it looks right, it is right" is anything to go by, it won't be a read season this year.

My personal feeling is that straight line speed will be vital this year, as teams have now got the measure of DRS, which appears to be much more targetted as a qualifying tool, this year.


The winged keel on Australia II didn't look right but won the America's Cup and was copied immediately.


It does look THAT bad...

Quick question - are these demo / old wings they use for launch?


Yes, they won't give anything away. Even what they test with till the first race isn't the full article, the wngs are some of the easiest items to copy etc


So, with this and the earlier reveals I wonder about McLaren. Have they missed a trick? Have they something even moren revolutionary in mind and are holding back the true reveal? Is it just that their overall package works with a slightly more traditional nose? Much of the car that McLaren revealed looked like a dummy mock-up to me, it all just looked so clean and tidy, too clean and tidy! Time will tell.


I just think McLaren have chosen a different philosophy rather than missed out. The main chassis shape is fixed, so I don't see them being able to raise the bulkhead and adopting the bumped nose. They've chosen to have the whole front end lower. Time will tell which works.

Clearly though McLaren have less room underneath to generate as large a mass flow of air through the underside of the car. They're not stupid though, I'm sure they have good reasons for their choice.


Now we just need to wait for the new RBR...


I keep getting a little ditty in my head: "There once was an ugly duckling..."

Let's hope some of these ugly ducklings turn into swans!!


Have a look at this picture of the F2012.


From this angle, that step in the nose doesn't look very aerodynamic. It might be the angle from which the photo is taken, but the look and the aero will both be highly improved if they would fill the space between the very front of the nose and the top of the chassis where the step begins.

Here's the link from a picture of the F2012 car modified as I see it 🙂 Please be gentle with my painting skills 🙂



The rules limit the nose so your mod would be outside the permitted dimensions



For your design to work it will require the bulkhead to be lowered which will change the design of the underside in the section. The end.


but your mod breaks the rules on nose height.


I thought it matter the distance from the ground to the lower part of the nose. If the nose is lower, it will not catapult the car in the air in case of a collision.

Never thought about the distance from the ground to the top of the nose would count.


It's the entire area of the nose that has gotten lower limits in the regulations. Whereas the chassis didn't. Hence the step most F1 cars now have.


Don't you think Ferrari might have thought of that?


What, the oldest team in F1, unprecedented success over the last decade, a design team of top level engineers as most other teams employ?

I'm with you Spyros.

On all the forums I've visited, this question gets asked countless times, and I'm scratching my head trying to figure out why casual observers, ie us, who don't work in F1 on any level seem to understand more about F1 aerodynamics than an established F1 giant.

I've looked at the Mclaren and apart from their nose, there is nothing inspiring about it at all.

Gary Anderson was quoted by a member here saying much the same.

Yet apart from the Ferrari nose, there's some interesting work going on elsewhere on this car.

Pat Fry used to be a Mclaren man, he would have brought that way of thinking to Ferrari, yet maybe Fry, like Newey has found a different organisation which allows their ability to flourish.

Lets be honest, apart from 1998 and 1999, whilst Ferrari were building up strength, Newey never won another championship again at Mclaren.

Regarding aesthetics, well this is not a car to be sold to the public. It's a tool to win Championships, and if it wins, trust me, the Tifosi won't complain

1992 was meant to be a gorgeous Ferrari, the twin floored "fighter jet" car, yet was a disaster.

1996 was ugly as sin, yet Schumacher won 3 races in it.


I think you will find the nose is at the maximum allowed height for it's entirety, and an angled nose would be too high and illegal.

The higher section is the old maximum nose height which ends at the exact point the new lower nose starts.

Hope the RB8 looks prety


Hey James, arguably a very bold design. Where are the sidepod wings that Rory Byrne was reported to be working on?

Could that be something that Ferrari might introduce to the car at the final pre-season test or did it just turn out to be a rumour that didn't ring true?


They are there, above leading edge of the sidepods. But less pronounced than Piola's drawing


I have come to the conclusion that Piola's drawing was actually a scarlet\red hang-glider perched on the tub, for Felippe to fly off into the distance with, after another bump with Lewis 😉 [I am joking folks!]


Does not matter how it looks as long as it wins race's.

I think Mclaren are going to be the odd one's out, we will find out in Aus if they have got it right our wrong, hopefully it's the latter and Ferrari have got it right.


Hi James,

At first glance i thought i was made of lego!

It is different and Rory Bryne giving a month of his time in October to help it on its way too.

Looks are not everything just hope its fast and hopes its stops Red Bull winning and turning into another one sided contest.

3 way fight ....please!


It does look like Lego


Didn't santander go through a phase of advertising in the uk based on Lego ? Maybe it's an extension of the new santander deal ; }


The ugliest Ferrari I have ever seen. These noses should be banned on grounds of aesthetics alone. It does matter what F1 cars look like as ugly cars will damage the sport's image in the long run. I just hope that the Mclaren wipes the floor with the rest of the ugly mob.


James, it might be a silly comment, but won't that nose step cause a bit of drag to a certain extend, even by a few hundreths of a second? Why not have the cockpit area continue smoothly until the end of the nose?


they want to keep the nose as high as possible so they can have more air flow go under then around the back of the can.


Possibly for pilot comfort?


Well the front looks like its been made out of Lego, but if its fast I doubt anyone will care too much.

Its going to be fascinating seeing which solution (drop nose or McLaren's low swoop) turns out best. I can't wait to see which direction Red Bull have gone in...


Maybe teh Gatorham is not so bad looking after all.

Enzo would be turning in his grave. He would rather have sat out 2 seasons than put the dancing donkey on that monstrosity

People buy Ferraris for the power AND beauty. One without the other will do the brand no favours as all.


“Enzo would be turning in his grave. He would rather have sat out 2 seasons than put the dancing donkey on that monstrosity”

Not at all! To Enzo, all that mattered was performance; he hated selling to customers who would not be taking his cars to the limits.

I really love the F2012. The stepped nose does not really bother me that much. As far as a I amconcerned this is one interesting car. I am keen to see it in its full configuration rather than the stripped down version that was presented to the press.


Yes they buy Ferraris for road use... this happens to be unavailable to the public, well maybe in model form.


It has been said that Ferrari have an innovative rear wing. Could the design of the flat edged nose and the step be to maximize the performance of the rear wing?? i.e. the nose cuts through the air cleanly separating the airflow below and above the car with the step deflecting airflow towards the rear wing.


"And it needs to be fast, because this needs to be the year Ferrari gets back into the winners’ circle on a regular basis."

Or what? They will leave F1???! Silly comment to my mind. Where will they go? It is an ugly car, ugly cars have bad lines and bad lines make slow cars! So dont count on them having a wining design!



Whilst it remains to be seen whether it'll be fast or not, I love your reply Adam 🙂

This is exactly what I say to the red fanboys whenever they say Ferrari should be entitled to win.


My eyes, my eyes !!


James, *if* both the Ferrari-style solution and the McLaren solution do both produce results, do you think we could be in for a 2007-style season where tracks are generally either suited to one style of car over the other? (I think it was the wheelbase of the car in 07 that was the big difference between Ferrari and Mclaren leading to 'Ferrari Tracks' and 'McLaren Tracks', was it not?)


Could be. But we get that anyway, don't we?


Yes we get it every year to an extent, but I remember it being particularity prevalent in 07. On a side note, if the McLaren is the only car that doesn't use a stepped nose of some description, they're going to look awfully out of place on the grid.


"...this season I can say it will be a red season."

Mmmm - I seem to recall similar statements in 2010 and 2011?

At least the Mclaren looks like a racing car. This is dog ugly but hey - if it's fast.....

Thomas in Canada

I recall a number of years back when Williams were desperate to get back into the winners circle and went aggressive with the design and came up with the "Walrus" nose.

That didn't work at all well for Williams and I fear this ugly son of a bitch won't work for Ferrari, which is a shame because I really would like to see Alonso battling for the Championship.

Thomas in Canada

Maybe we should call this the "platypus' nose design.....


Well yes, and it seems to work pretty well for the platypus. Often following natures designs results in benefits. This may be mk1 for f1 stepped nose. But for our creature friends its after many years of evolution.


Sure looks like a red truck for ploughing. It had better be fast so we can miss the ugliness of it. I voted Awful.

The front really has killed the high tech feel, I'm trying to understand the aerodynamics. Why didn't they curve it smoothly down to the nose cone like McLaren. Well I sure hope McLaren stay as is when the real thing happens.


That looks one Fugly car to me.


Damn 🙁


Somehow these 'platypus' nose cars look like they are made from Lego... 🙂

The new McLaren looks great though.


That's it! Lego. I knew I had seen this design before.


Ugly car, but that's beside the point. I see that they've gone for the most risky and aggressive exhaust strategy.

I hope that it will be - just like Kubica & Prost - not pretty but fast! 😀


LMAO @Kubica and Prost


A bold design...but Pig UGLY!

I feel for Massa this season. Am I alone in thinking that the only hope of him retaining his seat is if he beats Alonso? Even if he could do this, I don't think he'd be alowed to! 🙁

Poor guy...


i think he just needs to show that he can... so that when alonso has an off day, massa can move over and give the position to alonso. we saw this so often with barrichelo and irvine, where they would concede position to schumacher when he was having a bad day. as of the last couple of years, massa has usually been several places behind alonso, and therefore useless to helping alonso win the wdc.


My my! So Prost's impression of Ferrari being a truck did come true eh ? The F2012 makes Ford F150 look like a beauty queen!


This has to be the ugliest car I've ever seen, even the Caterham did not look so bad.


The ugliest Ferrari ever. Cars this ugly shouldn't win titles. It's bad for F1


I just dont understand why the new noses vary between cars, surely areodynamicaly its better to have a smooth McLaren stle nose than an aggressive Ferrari/Force India style step up?


The higher nose (Ferrari, etc) allow more airlow under the front. The McLaren has a lower nose design so this allows them to have a more sweeping profile. While it does not allow as much airflow, they have used a similar approach last year and they were not far off the RBR pace (sometimes faster)


I dont think its that ugly, its not that bad at all and compared to the ghastly shark fins a couple of years back these cars are a massive improvement, phew.


Need another box on survery! The cars look good from some angles. If it wasn't for the nose, the rest of the machine looks pretty nice, lots intricate detailing and sculpting. I am most interested to see how Newey deals with it.


James, now that 3 teams seem to be employing the "stepped nose"(so far). I was wondering if you could shed some light on the benefits of using this design. Obviously it's not for aesthetics but is it strictly aerodynamic?


Here's a thought; there has not been a pretty car since the 50s, and that's what I love about the sport, there's only one thing important on a car - things that make it go faster. That's what makes an F1 car beautiful, its speed.


I hope it is a race winner.


Oh dear what have they done that is ducking ugly!!! well that,s three out of 4 that all look pretty much the same so lets see what Redbull come out with.

0n that comparing to the Mclaren which is still ducking ugly but much better, Mclaren's car looks likely to be either really good or really bad on race day unless that picks are a complete throw away from reality.


James, I read that you expect there to be some legality issues with the new Ferrari. Do you know parts are in question?


And it starts......


I think there are legality issues with several cars. There may be some funky things going on with winglets mounted on brake ducts for example. There is some very edgy stuff still going on around the diffuser too


The McLaren looks so much more refined than this, particularly the front suspension area.

However - how will having / not having a hump affect driver comfort? Could the McLaren be a very uncomfortable car to be in for 2 hours?


This is really the ugliest Ferrari F1 I've ever seen! SuperUgly


To me the new Ferrari looks like one of those toy cars you pick up from a seaside shop that pretends to be the real thing but isn't. Of course it's only ugly if it's slow - time will tell.


As in previous years. the graphics dept. at "Marca" have come up with great work.


Even if you speak no Spanish, it´s easy to click on one of the grey "angles" then use the slider for a before and after look.

What strikes me is not just how ugly the nose is, but how stubby it is compared to last year.

Also, James, can you confirm that for 2012 wheels are "cambered"? Maybe it's just my eyesight, but from photos of McLaren and Ferrari it looks like the wheels lean inwards?


mate, it has an english language link there.

and yes there are very good pics


That is VERY cool...they really moved the mirrors also...quiet a bit.


Now that is a cool link


Great link. Strangely enough the 2012 nose seems higher than the 2011.


I hope the Ferrari is on the pace just to see how good fernando really is. He hasn't had a proper good car since 2007. Deserves one now. If he gets one now beware as I think he has improved massively since then and he wasn't exactly bad back then either.


oh deary, Fernando still has to prove huimself to some f1 followers


What are you talking about? Fernando in my eyes is the best driver in f1. I mean if he gets a good car he will put himself down as one of the all time greats of the sport. He is that good in my eyes.


Vettel will get there b4 him and will be even greater


Well, from the front axle stubs back it looks OK to me. It won't win any beauty contests but if it takes it to Red Bull, who cares 😉


My thoughts too, if u look at the car from a rear angle it is a piece of art.. having said that it's always going to be about the nose


Yep, beauty is in the eye of the beer holder. I know most people won't like it, but I do. The top-view is quite striking.

But what I like the most is that Ferrari delivered on the promise of a radical new design.


I agree, and somebody mentioned That Luca will have a re-design sorted by mid season.

Does anybody really believe he hasn't been privy to this since it's inception?


So Pilota was wrong then?? No aero wings to speak of.


When was the last time ugly was fast? I honestly don't remember.... Anybody?






Ugly? Can't be said of any of those cars. Might not be to your liking, but they weren't ugly.


Alain Prost?


Yes I agree. Alain is an extremely ugly man, yet he was fast. Lauda also comes to mind. Alan Jones was no oil painting either 😉

Carwise, the Tyrell P34 (1976), Ligier JS5 (1976)


Haha, knew the 6-wheel Tyrell, but man that Ligier is awful!!! It's like the driver's being chased around by a ghost in behind them!

Michael Kavanagh

What was this new regulation for the nose's meant to do safety wise?


Also avoid cars getting airborn


I thought I had read it also had to do with the height of the noses being a danger to spearing into a driver in a nose/sidepod collision. ?


Yes, it's to do with that also. Remember Luizzi's car goin' over Schumacher's in Abu Dhabi '10?


That,s a neat little feature then from that point of view, They should obv be able to lap a little quicker too when the wing is broken/missing i prosume? still though it looks terrible though!

Wonder if Mclarens choice not to go down that trend of design would have anything to do with the fact they have went into the production car market i.e. in fear of it effecting road car sales if there F1 cars look like dogs, i wonder!


After "kinky Kylie" and "luscious Liz" we get "UGLY Betty" and her cousins....


...or Hideous Helen!


Yeah with there broken/buckled battle axe noses! 🙂


Beauty is as beauty does.


Personally im already tired of all the "its ugly" comments. Who cares... its still the greatest sport in the world... and we will all tune in regardless! 🙂


Damn, that's the painful part!


Yes, only a face a wind tunnel could love. But isn't that the point?


Those who drafted the sporting regulations are ultimately responsible for this not-so-great chassis evolution and one team dominance. Hopefully, 2012 will be a nice shakeup even if RBR is still the car to beat.


To me this feels like a bad state of affairs for F1 from a technical standpoint. Aero dominates design due to regulations and restrictions, and now further restrictions have meant a non ideal optimum solution has been found by several manufacturers. Ultimately they are now trying to find marginal gains from small changes to what appear to be spec cars.

With the addition of drs and the overtaking clarification it makes this season, on a first glance, appear to be even more artificial than the last. However if it results in more closer racing then myself and most other fans may not care. I guess this cycle of change has happened before, and theres nothing to suggest this iteration is any different


Yeah, I hate that it's pretty much all down to the aero in F1 these days. Bring back engine development! I know, I know ... 2014. But still, that's two years away.


I would be curious to know what people's opinion is on the ugliest F1 car ever and the most beautiful. Just as a bit of fluff.


Looks like a cross between a Walrus and a Platypus nose.

A "WalPlatypus" if you will.

Or a Rus-Pus ?

Or... I dunno.

They better hope it runs better than it looks!


Surely a 'Platyrus' would be less of a mouthful?


Ugly? Maybe. But this car is a beast, an animal. I can see this thing doing us proud. Maybe this is what Ferrari needed?


i'm sure alonso and massa won't care how ugly it looks on TV. From the cockpit, the car would look pretty similar to last year's car and even better if it's a winning car.


The best looking Ferrari is the one that features McLaren and Red Bulls reflected in its rearview mirrors.


btw they will be happy there are no 'style points' deductions like there are in ski jumping and so forth.


If the FIA once moved to ban winglets because they were ugly, surely they need to make sure these noses are gone next season. One thing is for sure, either Mclaren will have a dropped nose mid-season or the other teams will go conventional. Assuming that part of the nose isn't part of the chassis that can't be changed mid-season.


With homologated chassis, I suspect that 'What you see is what you get' this season, so the Mclaren is not going to develop a step (from what I've read elsewhere, it doesn't need one based upon their entire 'nose down, arse up' aero philosophy) and the Ferrari and others aren't going to lose their 'Ugly Betty' noses.

Now I'm just an electronics engineer, but it's difficult to see how that lego-block step isn't going to adversely affect the airflow over the top of the car. Caterham's solution looks a lot less severe in its implementation, making me wonder how much the first race incarnation of the Ferrari's nose will differ from what we see here.


The FIA didn't ban them for being ugly, but thoughts are that Bernie thought they looked ugly on TV, and pushed the FIA into making something up to get them banned. The 2007 McLaren had quite pronounced ones.


Well I think you can see where the drawing was torn in half in a rage, the scrwwewd up then flattened out and sellotaped back together not quite in line. The tear line was a the rear of the nose.


"in wake of two seasons largely playing third fiddle to Red Bull and McLaren"

surely you could include 2009 in that as well...albeit with Brawn and being 4th fiddle


It looks hideous but from the nose back there's some nice details here, such a same they couldn't think of something as inventive as they've done around the side pods to solve this nose issue, but as we all say if it's quick they won't care, but no-one will have a picture of this on their wall and the sponsors will hate having this on their promotional material.

But a winner is a winner, hope the McLaren smashes then and can't wait to see what Newey has come up with!


Hi James

Can you please clarify thing for me? I don't understand exactly how the FIA gives the "green light" for a car design. 3 cars until now have the "platypus" nose and McLareb has a more conventional nose. Are the cars measured when they have the crash tests? When are the cars checked and measured to see if they are in the specified limits?

I assume that at some point before the season all cars are inspected and approved for racing.

The F2012 might not have a pleasing nose but the rear looks very interesting. The air intake and the engine cover are done nicely.


The legality is measured at the first race in Australia and then it's up to the FIA technical delegate and the stewards


Has an ugly car ever won the WC? Isn't there an old adage in F1 that fast cars are usually beautiful (although it has to be said beautiful cars are not always fast)? It'll be interesting to see whether the Bulls go the Ferrari/Caterham or the McLaren route.

(Wow, Ferrari, McLaren and...Caterham in the same sentence. It's a funny old world!)


James, Is there a reason why the nose isn't sloped from the top of the step to the point of the nose?


Yes I'd also like to know the answer to that one. James could you get an explanation from any team's aero guy? It seems hard to believe that 'small step for man' has any better effect than a straight sloping nose!


Body from baywatch, face from crimewatch.

My god, its hideous!


Isn't this usually abbreviated to BOBFOC? Body off Baywatch, face off Crimewatch?

I guess this car could also be described as a Butterface:

Everything looks great but her face 😉


i've also heard it termed "nice "rear" shame about the face...


It's a Michael Phelps.


Poetically perfect description!!!


My, that Car is ugly


Hmm, couple of questions...

Shouldn't we be waiting to see what Brawn and Newey have come up with before we vote on the 2012 cars?

As a Red Bull fan (I started watching F1 when they were Jaguar) I kinda hope they come up with something that looks good and is faster than the strange step-nosed things Ferrari, FI and Caterham have come up with.

So my second questions: What's the collective noun for platypus? You might need it in commentary this year...


It's platypuses. If you're like me, you'll read that word and a more vulgar plural form will come into your mind.




... platypii?


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Last year, the U shaped side pods on the McLaren were appealing??? If anything that looked like lego! I bet to McLaren fans it was appealing... to me it look like.. [mod]


The U-shaped side pods were distinctive, but hard to classify them as "ugly" or "aesthetically challenged", like the platypus noses are. The U-shaped side pods would still be around if EBD's were still in play.


How could ferrari allow that to roll out of the factory - ferrari is passion style and magic I guess there's been too much wine drinking in that factory. - It's like its been designed by homer Simpson anyone remember the car homer created lol


I wonder are the new noses more danger they look almost like spears? Sharp and Pointy


You would think that Ferrari would vehemently oppose technical regulations that force them into creating such an eyesore. With their brand being all about beauty, I'm sure they hate uncovering something that looks like it's got a broken nose!


Of all the stepped noses, this one looks the best. Of all the Ferraris in the past few years, this one is the most innovative. The exhausts appear to be directed at the diffuser, too, which is a novel work-around the new rules. The overhead view, from the cockpit back, is gorgeous. I said earlier that McLaren always highly develops the details, but this car seems to have matched their eye for curves and ripples and swoops. Well done, Ferrari.


The exhausts cannot be directed at the diffuser. They're being directed at the rear wheels/brakes. The RBR did this last year, which was cited as the reason Vettel was able to pull a gap on the opening laps.




I hate to make comparisons, but when I look at the 2010 Indy car, I see a similar “step” in the front and side of the driver cockpit. This design not only allows the correct amount of air flow underneath the car, it must help with the top speed as well.

The Ferrari may be using this “step” in combination with the DRS to increase the top speed of the car. We may be looking at the most efficient way to balance the drag of down force with the slippery aspect of top speed.

Even with no proof, I can all but guarantee that the McLaren will be sporting a “step” in the nose prior to the first test. I am also hoping for a radical design from Lotus.


I can't see Mclaren with a step nose before mid-season if they needed one, their chassis wouldn't accomodate it, it's too low.

From what I have read, it's to do with their design philosophy and heavily sprung chassis, it's not as simple as bolting on an F Duct.


In order for the McLaren to get a step in its nose they would have to totally change the shape of their chassis. The step is a result of the cockpit being higher than the maximum height permitted for the maximum height of the nose. McLaren's cockpit is lower than their rivals, who have raised theirs to the maximum to increase the volume underneath and maximise airflow to the rear of the car.

McLaren have a splitter underneath their nose that helps with the airflow allowing them to run a lower cockpit, this making it in line with the nose, hence no step. In order to put a step in they would have to put the nose even lower - which would be severely detrimental to the airflow to the rear of the car.

One thing McLaren can't do is raise the cockpit as this part of the car design is homologated and is not allowed to be changed.

The step is not an innovation - it is the result of building a car to the volumetric limits of the regulations. The teams with the step are those who have followed the Red Bull philosophy to designing a car to get as much clean air to the back of the car.

Whether it is a smart decision or not, McLaren have continued their philosophy, which features a lower nose, lower centre of gravity and less compromised sprung front end. Now, while it might make sense to follow the Red Bull philosophy given their success of the last three seasons, plus the fact with the EBD banned you need the solution that offers the best natural rear end aero, it should be noted that the Red Bull philosophy has been impacted by the new regulations while the McLaren one has not. They can continue to run the same front end whereas the high nose approach has had to be adapted.

Having said that, so far, I think the Force India looks by far and away the best packaged car, but am eagerly awaiting to see what Adrian Newey has in store.


lovely insight Ben, appreciate your thoiughts...

from *theREALBrad, as we have an imposter in our midst


lol Nah Ben, it was tongue in cheek, just having fun... 😛


Haha ... I think you guys need to mediate. It's like me putting in "John" as my name, and getting mad at some other dude named John submitting a post under his own name!


I thought at first I was looking at a bucket full of smashed crabs!


I sense 99% of us are "shell shocked".


Oh dear. Not nice looking. Having said that the rear sculpting on the Force India looks impressive. I wonder if they can steal a march.

To be honest I love the look of the new Mclaren. It actually reminds me of the Brawn GP car.

Let's hope that the adage about beautiful cars being fast rings true.


Many of the 09 cars looked like dogs with their large front wings and tiny rear wings. However if the racing is better than last year will we all be complaining? Can't see their being too many of those slow motion shots with the cars tho in the end of races clips.


With all respect, who on earth cares about what LDM says? Each February we hear that it will be a red year. Was it not the same a year ago?


James, will you be reporting from the test?


The two Barcelona tests, I have someone in Jerez


James, Narian Karthikeyan joined HRT.

Isn't it was a surprise. Because, no one talked about him.


All I can say is, when it's that ugly, it BETTER be fast.

Matthew Cheshire

Did they crash that on the way to the photo shoot?

There are few words that can describe that. A rugby nose? A Nanny MacFee beak?

At least if they do actually steal a red bull nose this year they can just smash it straight on and forget the panel beating

Matthew Cheshire

No - I've got it -

Powered by Ferrari. Styled by Lada.

They should make a nose mounted camera shaped like a wart.


Also noticed they've changed wheel suppliers from BBS to OZ.


Dang that is one ugly car!

But yeah let's see how it performs.


Great photo of Felipe, Fernando, the car and the snow at the BBC website. Somehow Felipe doesn't look too happy about the cold .......... or maybe it's the ugly car that is upsetting him !


By the looks of THE nose, i think that Kubica will join the team pretty soon!


....and in a red car, he might bag POLE as well!

Tornillo Amarillo

Who is the responsible of this?

I think it is Kovalainen who was waiving in Valencia 2010 and Webber just hit his back and was sent airborne, flipping over in the air. Very dangerous.


I've been reading a lot of versions of it'd better be fast.

They're all fast.

I've just been playing with my calculator and I hope I got this right. I chose Japan at random. Track is 5.807 ks. Last season Vettel qualified 1st at 1,30.466 and Button was second at 1,30.475 or 0.009 seconds slower. Over close to 6 kilometers this means he was slower by about half a meter. All this amazing engineering calling the Red Bull a huge success and the McLaren a dud (last year) was about half a meter over 5807 meters.

Australia will tell all. Even the trials will be only so-so informative.

Post 22 wrote "Am already getting nervous on what a Massa desperate for wins is willing to do *cringes*"

I find what Massa might do interesting this season. Hamilton is saying I'm cool. Will Massa consciously or unconsciously be aiming for him? Will he be a pin-ball in the pack at the start? Can he get his psychology (with help?) in order, to perform at his best? Will there be many rainy races?

Wishing you all a great season.


You think Massa is going to be indifferent to causing crashes in the 3rd or 4th row? Why oh why would he want to do that? He needs to start winning races, or at least start scoring podiums regularly. It's unfathomable that he didn't score one last year.

I'm hoping that Massa has learned that he can't just turn in or crowd out, and get away with it (like he tried vs Alonso in Germany '07, against Bourdais in Japan '08, and Hamilton in India '11).


Already, it's not a good start to the year for Hamilton. Apart from receiving plenty of sighs and groans in response to his photo shoot, he has also been called a coward and 'pathetic' by the Sutil family.

This comes after him declaring that in 2012 he will come back stronger and 'it will be his year'. Come on Lewis, enough with your false promises already! Just shut up and drive!


I'm speechless.... I don't know what to say.... lets just pray it works! lol


I find it very disappointing that much of the talk is about the nose, and the consequent look of the car. This is because of the regulations on nose height and front bulkhead heights.

There are far more interesting parts of the car though. The front pull rod suspension, the split bargeboards, the exhaust blowing the rear brake ducts, and the much tighter packaging at the rear of the car, yet there is barely any mention of them here.


This car; every bolt and carbon sinew, every flowing line and jarring angle embodies the ambition of Ferrari's lead driver. The prancing horse is now bent and twisted in his image, it articulates his aggression and personifies his undiluted and irresistible will to win. What other driver on the grid could have done this to Ferrari? It is astonishing. Viva Fernando Alonso.


Just reading through comments again this evening, it occured to me, Mclaren has had a low nose design concept for some years.

I have to ask, why does Lewis have trouble with other cars, hitting them from the rear, Webber and Massa and maybe as the nose is low, the mirrors point upwards so he can't see the Kobayashi's and Massa's of this world...

Antonis Papadakis

Ok, were are the innovations they promised?

I mean did Pat Fry improved at all the f150

and did Macca failed because Pat was no there

If Mercedes produces a fast car they will have to

deal with Schumi and maybe sometimes they

face Kimi and of course Lewis.But if Alonso finds

it hard no problem Massa pays the price and Kubica

comes in. Does it matter that he will not have driven

at all for two seasons. Serious Santader must be

paying a lot ...


Wow let's hope you guys don't judge your women they way you judge this car! I love it, its aggresive, almost brutish, kind of like a polar bear. We'll find out just how ugly it is when the rubber hits the road.


Unfortunately, this like will never come again. Tiny car (go to the IMS Museum if you get the chance - so much for the "big" roadster, an accident of history that they were regarded as large, but that's a different retrogrouch rant), or the Lotus on the same page, etc.

These cars were EVIL sounding, too:



The b*tch better be fast!


It seems to me, maybe I'm wrong, but it seems that the area of the floor is smaller on the 2012 cars over 2011. I would've thought it'd be bigger.

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