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The Most Iconic Formula One Cars Ever

The Most Iconic Formula One Cars Ever

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Formula One is an institution, not just for the rich and famous. Glitz, glamour and some fab cars. Rev your engines & discover our pick of the most iconic!

Glitz, glamour and maybe a car or two, Formula One is loved by many, not just the rich and famous.

As you can imagine, the motor fans at Swansway Group pay particular attention to this sporting event, glued to the screen for hours as we witness the trials and tribulations of Hamilton, Vettel, Ricciardo and rivals.

This year Max Verstappen became the 2021 F1 Champion.

We take a look at some of the most iconic cars that have made F1 so special. We’ve chosen a mixture of style and performance to identify what sets our collection of motors miles ahead of the rest. Let us know if you agree!


McLaren Romeo MP4 racing car

McLaren MP4/4 (First F1 title: 1988)

How do you build what might be considered the greatest F1 car of all time? Grab a powerful engine, reduce the frontal area and create an aerodynamic line through to the rear wing. Throw in a couple of the most skilled drivers like Senna and Prost and voilà - the McLaren MP4/4, winning 15 of the 16 races in the 1988 season.

It also helps if you arrange for the car to be delivered to track the night before the final day of pre-season testing, and ensure that work is still being carried out on the morning of the race!


Lotus 72 racing car

Lotus 72 (First F1 title: 1970)

Responsible for gaining 3 constructors’ championships for Ford-Cosworth and two driver’s championships - one each for Rindt and Fittipaldi - during 1970-73, the Lotus 72 is probably one of the most memorable F1 cars of bygone years.

Success was no doubt largely due to a Ford-Cosworth 3.0 litre V8 engine; an innovative design that mounted radiators to the side, rather than the front; and a new aerodynamic wedge-like body that resulted in speeds that were 12 mph faster than earlier models. Proving that every little helps where F1 is concerned.


Red Bull racing car

Red Bull RB9 (First F1 title: 2013)

With 13 wins during the 2013 season, the RB9 beats it’s elder brother, RB7 (with a mere 12 wins in 2011) onto the podium. Having already won the constructor and driver titles for the previous 3 years, the Red Bull team had little else to do but tweak an already winning formula.

The RB9 saw the reappearance of the nose hump, rather than the forward-facing front vent of previous years and new purple livery. Whatever the recipe, the RB9 allowed Red Bull and Vettel to achieve their 4th successive titles.


Eagle T1G racing car

Eagle T1G (First F1 title: 1967)

Aside from being the only F1-winning car to be built in the USA, the Eagle T1G (Mk1) has also been hailed for it’s beauty. With four long exhausts and a powerful (but heavy) Westlake engine, alternative materials such as titanium and volatile magnesium were used to help lighten the car.

The fact that owner/engineer Dan Gurney was at helm of the team as well as the wheel of the car was surely a huge factor in the 1967 Belgian GP win - we’re not sure that any other driver would have been brave enough to take control of the Eagle!


Alfa Romeo 158 racing car

Alfa Romeo 158/159 (First F1 title: 1950)

Our list wouldn’t be complete without the most successful racing car ever - the Alfa 158 and its 159 update. The secret? Twelve years of practice before entering its first F1 race. Yes, the Alfa 158 was first produced in 1938, winning pretty much every Grand Prix, until becoming eligible for the new Formula One competition in 1950.

Gaining its name from a 1.5-litre engine and eight cylinders, the 158/159 was victorious in 47 of 54 races entered, allowing drivers Farina and Fangio to clinch the first two F1 championship titles. The Alfa 158/159 has the best track record of any car to hit the F1 circuit.


Maserati 250F racing car

Maserati 250F (First F1 title: 1954)

This little rocket car enabled Fangio to break the Nürburgring circuit record not once, but 10 times, in the 1957 F1 race, as he overcame a 48-second deficit to claim victory. And did we mention that Stirling Moss drove his own 250F in the 1954 championship, claiming that it was the best front-engined F1 car he drove?

Throughout its development, a 5-speed gearbox; fuel injection; and disc brakes were all introduced thought this was unfortunately not enough to compete with new rear engined F1 cars produced after 1958.


 Brabham 44 racing car

Brabham 44

This sleek racer joins our bevvy of beauties on merit of style rather than success - winning several F1 events in the 1974 and 1975 seasons but never a securing a championship title. Designer Murray tinkered with the construction, introducing sideskirts in the first efforts to use ground effect to decrease drag on the track.

This simple, aerodynamic design prompted five-times F1 winner, John Watson to declare the Brabham 44 to be, “the first really great Formula 1 car I drove”.


Ferrari 156 racing car

Ferrari 156 (First F1 title: 1961)

We can’t talk about fast cars without talking Ferrari! This is marque that springs to mind for most of us when we think about F1. But which Ferrari?? The 312T or the F2002 and F2004? We’re plumping for the 1961 F1 championship winner, the Ferrari 156.

With only replicas of the car now surviving, we can only imagine the thrill of driving such a beast. The characteristic sharknose with intake duct “nostrils” was scrapped in 1962, only to reappear forty years later on the Ferrari 360. A definite case of History repeating itself!


Which iconic F1 cars would be on your list of favourites? Let us know on Swansway Group’s Facebook or Twitter.

Sad to say, most of us will never get a chance to get our hands on one of these lovely legends of racing. However, many of the F1 design features are incorporated into today’s everyday road cars. Take a trip to your local Swansway Group dealership to pick out your next championship car - every one’s a winner in our eyes!