Sparesbox Blog

Ranking this Year’s Best Looking Formula 1 Contenders

By Brad Nash

Mon Feb 29 2016

The livery is about the only place – aside from Twitter – where Formula 1 teams have the chance to truly get creative. Some of the most iconic cars of Formula 1 have been defined as much by how they looked as they were by those who drove them.

From the Marlboro Mclaren and the classic Red of Ferrari, to the Canon Williams and the abomination that was the “Earth Car” Honda, every car has its place in history.

Now though, as the 2016 season beckons, we’re ranking the best and the worst contenders that are set to take the grid this year. To do so we’ve hand picked a select panel of 3 of the office’s biggest (or at least, most judgmental) enthusiasts, all of which have their own views on just what an F1 car should look like. They are:

  • James – Old School. Resident Mechanic. Alfa enthusiast. Ardently believes Formula 1 died with the introduction of the Turbo V6 engine and that “everything is too sterile”.
  • Matt – Customer service. F1 Fan for the modern age. Possibly less harsh of a critic than the other two, but really he’s just happy to be here.
  • Macca – Sarcastic Scot. Fellow content writer. Head still in the Kimi Raikkonen/Miki Hakkinen days that defined the turn of the millennium.

Each judge will rate the look of the car overall out of 10, and the car with the highest score out of 30 will be declared this year’s best-looking F1 contender! So without further adieu…


Ungraded: Toro Rosso


Toro Rosso have launched their car, but not the livery yet. That’s okay though. They get a pass, because they have Max Verstappen.


#10: Haas F1 VF-16

Haas 2016 F1 Car

James: “It kinda reminds me of the F1 game I used to have on the Sega Saturn. That’s not a good thing. It looks exactly like a back marker. Like one of the first AI cars you overtake in a game. All that money and they can’t pay someone to design a nice paint job. The race suit actually looks better than the car. Also, Gutierrez’ head looks like a rendering.” – 3/10

Matt: “It definitely looks like a car an American team would put out. All it needs is some hot wings and a Bud Lite. If Team America had an F1 car, it’d look like that.” – 4/10

Macca: “Looks cheap. Amateurish. Looks like they’ve been promoted from the lower leagues and are just happy to make up the numbers. Which might be true, but come on, at least have a go at it!” – 0/10


Total score: 7/30


#9: Manor Racing MRT05

Manor Racing 2016 F1 Car

James: “Once again, WTF? Do they have any sponsors? It’s very bland. It looks like a regurgitation of the Gulf Racing Car, only not as good.” – 2/10

Matt: “WTF? It looks like a Pepsi ad from the 1980s? I like the colours, but they’ve done it all wrong. ” – 4/10

Macca: “It’s very 80’s, but not in a good way. Looks really blocky. It’s as if they’re fighting aerodynamics instead of being its friend.” – 2/10


Total score: 8/30


#8: McLaren-Honda MP4-31

Mclaren 2016 F1 Car

James: “It better be orange. Oh, it’s not orange. Bruce would be sad. So sad.” – 1/10

Matt: “It’s a lot of black. Maybe they’re hoping no one will see them at the back of the field.” – 5/10

Macca: “That’s s**t, isn’t it? Is that what Alonso looks like now? Jeez. I haven’t seen him for 15 years. Time is a cruel mistress.” – 3/10


Total Score: 9/30 

Writer’s note: I think Alonso has aged pretty well, personally.


#7: Force India VJM09

Force India F1 Car 2016

James: “It looks like a McLaren from 5 years ago. Points deducted for unoriginality.” – 4/10

Matt: “I preferred last year’s one where it had a bit more orange. It seems to be getting gradually less Indian every year.” – 4/10

Macca: “I like the Indian Colours. Or Irish. Whatever. Represent. I prefer the older Force India without the black. On an unrelated note, what about David Coulthard’s jawline, eh? What’s going on there?” – 5/10


Total score: 13/30


#6: Sauber F1 C35

Sauber 2016 F1 Car

James: “It looks like it should be a Renault. Speaking of which, why can’t we have another Benetton?” – 5/10

Matt: “It looks like Team Sweden. Like a flat pack F1 car. Well, at least if Sweden made Renaults.” – 5/10

Macca: “I like that, even if it looks like it should be a Renault.” – 6/10


Total score: 16/30


#5: Ferrari SF-16H

Ferrari 2016 F1 Car

James: “They’ve done a good job of modernising Ferrari. Italian Racing Red is something that should never be changed.” –  7/10

Matt: “I really don’t have much to say about that car. I like the added splash of white. As long as it helps Vettel win, I’m pretty happy.” – 7/10

Macca: I hate Ferrari, because it just makes me think of Schumacher winning all the time (get well soon, Michael), and it’s always gonna be red. I don’t like the Shell logo. They need to get rid of that. It’s been long enough.” – 3/10


Total score: 17/30


#4: Williams FW38

Williams 2016 F1 Car

James: “Too much white, not enough Martini stripe. Typical Williams, had to screw it up somehow.” – 5/10

Matt: “It was one of the best looking cars last year, and they haven’t changed much. That probably makes it one of the best looking cars on the grid this year, too.” – 8/10

Macca: “They’re sponsored by Randstad? I used to work for them. They got me a job.” – 6/10


Total score: 19/30


#3: Red Bull RB12

Red Bull 2016 F1 Car

James: “It does exactly what you’d expect it too as a Red Bull car, only the new paint will make oil stains easier to see.” – 5/10

Matt: “It does look better than last years. It has a new matte finish, but they’re more likely to end up being better off with a new power unit.” – 7/10

Macca: “I like the way the Yellow Pirellis look with it.. That’s my thought on the matter. It makes me sad that it used to be a Green Jaguar, though.” – 8/10


Total score: 20/30


#2: Mercedes W07

Mercedes 2016 F1 Car

James: “It looks like a toothpaste tube. I think it looks good, but the green needs to pop a little more. Looks too washed out.” – 7/10

Matt: “I really like that. If I were gonna buy an aftershave, and the bottle came in those colours, I’d get it.” – 8/10

Macca: “I quite like that, although not necessarily as an F1 car. From a looks point-of-view, it’s not intimidating to other drivers. And I wouldn’t feel like superman driving it either.” – 7/10


Total score: 22/30


#1: Renault RS16

Renault 2016 F1 Car

James: “I think it needs a bit more yellow, but it’s nice. Although it doesn’t really do a good job of showing off its sponsors.” – 7/10

Matt: “It’s the best looking car on the grid, just a shame that it won’t be a winner. It’s like meeting Claudia Schiffer, then finding out she’s interested in your brother.” – 10/10

Macca: “That’s beautiful. That’s the winner for me. It’s not very brand aware though, is it?” – 10/10


Total score: 27/30


All Images Sourced from Reddit /u/IncredibleThings