Form, Function And Formula 1

I have this theory about Formula 1 cars – the better they look, the faster they go.  This theory is generally in comparison to their direct competition rather than previous years championships or whatever, but I think that looks are a pretty good barometer of how fast the car will be.

Let’s take a few examples.  A few seasons ago, due to regulation changes, Caterham came up with this monstrosity:

lotus01

Look at the f*cking nose on that.  It looked ugly and it was awful.

The same regulations mean that a lot of teams still run with a stubby nose.  This, for example, is the new McLaren MCL32:

mcl32-01

You can see it has the stubby bit at the front and then lots of rather complicated even if really impressive looking slots and wings and stuff.

However, the fastest car over the last few seasons has been made by the Mercedes Works team. And yes, we know it’s more of an engine formula than a driver’s one but the Merc has always looked the prettiest.  She never needed an ugly nose or parts that looked that complicated.  Here’s this year’s effort:

mercw08

Everything about it looks great, from the shapes all the way to the amazing colour scheme.

So just a quick point before my main one.  If Merc can make that car without the stupid nose and it’s the fastest, how have no other teams been able to copy them over the last few years?

Anyway, so here’s the real gig.  In the battle of form versus function, it’s usually most important to go for the functional approach first.  I’m a big believer that if something feels right, it probably is.  Whether it was what you were expecting it to look like or whether it came about in an entirely unexpected way, if it does what you need it to do then it’s a keeper.

That’s a little bit like those ugly looking cars.  They came about through necessity because of rule changes and that form factor was the most functional that that team of designers and engineers could come up with.  Something has to be able to its job, first and foremost.

You wouldn’t sacrifice something that was working perfectly for something that doesn’t but looks better, unless it’s the aesthetics that you’re going for.  Though, I guess, in some lucky cases you end up like Merc and get the best all ends up.

My life is brilliant.

My life is brilliant.
My love is pure.
I saw an angel.
Of that I’m sure.
She smiled at me on the subway.
She was with another man.
But I won’t lose no sleep on that,
‘Cause I’ve got a plan.

You’re beautiful. You’re beautiful.
You’re beautiful, it’s true.
I saw your face in a crowded place,
And I don’t know what to do,
‘Cause I’ll never be with you.

Yes, she caught my eye,
As we walked on by.
She could see from my face that I was,
Fucking high.
And I don’t think that I’ll see her again,
But we shared a moment that will last ’til the end.

You’re beautiful. You’re beautiful.
You’re beautiful, it’s true.
I saw your face in a crowded place,
And I don’t know what to do,
‘Cause I’ll never be with you.

You’re beautiful. You’re beautiful.
You’re beautiful, it’s true.
There must be an angel with a smile on her face,
When she thought up that I should be with you.
But it’s time to face the truth,
I will never be with you.

You’re Beautiful by James Blunt

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