Cars

The 12 Most Bizarre Formula 1 Cars Of All Time

Published On 03/12/2015 Published On 03/12/2015
The Weirdest F1 Cars of All Time
Aaron Miller

Formula 1 is all about speed. Speed that must be created and harnessed by the engineers and the drivers. Engineers are tasked with finding creative ways to make the cars as fast as possible while the drivers are tasked with racing the wheels off of 'em.

Most of the time, an engineer's work is never visible to the public. Most of the time. These are the 12 weirdest looking F1 cars that have ever been built.

KateHewiF1

1. 1968 Brabham BT26

In the late 1960s, teams were playing with new ways of attaching wings to cars, including putting a wing directly in front of the driver. One of them, the McLaren M7C, earned the nickname "The Guillotine", and was quickly banned.

Andrew Basterfield

2. 2001 Arrows A22

The front wing concept resurfaced briefly in 2001 when Arrows brought one out for the Monaco Grand Prix. The car needed all the help it could get in terms of downforce, but the wing didn't get past the organizers, who nixed it for the race.

Aaron Miller

3. 1976-77 Tyrrell P34

This is the only six-wheeled car to ever race in F1. It actually won a race, too. The idea was that you could have the same traction as a tire twice as wide, with half the wind resistance. Ironically, the only problem was that no one copied the design, so Goodyear had little reason to improve the tires, which ultimately rendered the car obsolete.

Williams

4. 1981 Williams FW07D

Several teams, including Ferrari, experimented with using four wheels in back, but none of them ever made it to a race. F1 eventually said "dudes, enough" and banned using more than four wheels total shortly thereafter

Caterham

5. Every 2014 Car

An unfortunate loophole in the 2014 rules led most teams to develop what's best described as a phallic attachment to the front of the car. Sadly, no team thought to market their... tip with Trojan sponsoring.

F1 Statistiker

6. Tyrrell 25

You get one guess as to why this car was nicknamed the X-Wing.

Alevil Racing Cars

7. 1979 Ensign N179

See the stepping stool at the front? Those are radiators to help keep everything cool. This is often considered the ugliest F1 car of all time.

Darren

8. 1971 March 711

Take a good look at the front wing here, and you'll understand why the car was sometimes referred to as the Tea Tray. 

Patrick Mayon

9. 1977-78 Renault RS01

This was the very first turbocharged F1 car, which helps explain some of the unusual ducting you see. It also tended to blow its engine a lot.

Andrew Basterfield

10. 1981 Lotus 88

Notice how there aren't any wings? This car has two different chassis, one for the suspension, and the other for the bodywork, so that it generates a tremendous amount of downforce, keeping the car firmly glued to the ground.

Alessio Mazzocco

11. The "ground effect" cars

If you've ever heard the term "ground effects," you can find its origin in late 1970s F1.  Pioneered by Lotus and copied by teams like Ferrari (shown), moveable side skirts dragged across the ground (look between the front and rear wheels), forming a vacuum that literally sucked the car down.

Wikimedia

12. 1978 Brabham BT26 Fan Car

No car ever stuck to the road like the beautifully strange BT26 though. Taking an idea from an American racer from the '60s, it used a giant fan to suck out all the air under the car. It's the race car version of a Dustbuster. It was also so goddamn fast that it was banned after its first race. 


Aaron Miller is the Rides editor for Supercompressor, and can be found on Twitter. He absolutely loves the Tyrrell P34, but wants to build his own fan car some day.

Clickbait

close

Learn More