For decades, Formula 1 has enthralled hundreds of thousands of fans all over the world. It is a world that features a mix of drivers possessing some impressive super-human abilities, physics-bending engineering, and the glamour and the glitz of the most exotic race locations in the world. The motoring world was even crazier back in the 60w, 70s, and the 80s. Back then, engineering rules were more lax which paved the way to some of the most out-of-this-world vehicles to ever grace the racetracks. Below are some of the craziest, wackiest cars in F1 history.
Brabham’s 1978 BT46B definitely deserves a spot in this list. Originally designed by Gordon Murray, the famed engineer behind McLaren’s F1 road car, the car was designed with a fan attached to its back, right beneath the wing. This design was used to compete along the ground-effects units that others have introduced around that time such as the Lotus 79. Supposedly, the addition of the fan was for cooling purposes. In reality though, it actually extracted air from underneath and it produced downforce. Entered into a single race only, it was driven by Niki Lauda to a won at the 78 Swedish Grand Prix.
Another one of the wacky cars to ever grace the F1 world is the 1976 Tyrell P34. While it is true that there are often a number of rules that designers had to adhere to, Derek Gardner from Tyrell was not really asked to limit his number of wheels to four so he took advantage of that. This led him to take care of a problem that used to plague so many teams in the 75 to 76 seasons- a front splitter with a fixed width which kept the wheels pushed to the corners to be able to use the wing while allowing for space for the suspension, the steering mechanism, as well as the driver’s feet. What Tyrell did was a six-wheeled solution along with standard rear wheels.
If Brabham’s BT46B is known as the good F1 car that looks like a jet plane, Ligier’s 1976 JS5 is considered the bad. In 1976, the Ligier debuted a car with a gulping maw spouting on its back. This design by Gerard Ducarouge is known as the Teapot. After a rule change thug, its air box got downsized in the following seasons, which eventually helped aerodynamics.
In the 80s, Williams used its hugely successful FW07C 1981 as basis for a test car called FQ07D. The car employed six weeks, four of it in the back, in order to promote better grip and stability. This development eventually spawned the FW08B. It was never raced through after the rules have been changed by the FIA where only four-wheeled racers are allows on the grid and only two could be driven.
Then there is the 1979 Ensign N179. Often considered as the F1’s ugliest car in its history, its radiators were carried on its snout but it has been known to suffer from serious overheating issues. The heat inside the cockpit proved to be unbearable for drivers too. Also referred to as cheese grater, it attempted to qualify seven times, but failed.
The colourful history of the F1 world has paved the way to some of the most interesting cars in the track. With its continuing legacy, fans all over the word can only wait in anticipation what new creations the motorsports world can come up with next. Keep updated with the latest news in the F1 world by reading about Sir Jack Brabham and his iconic brand online.