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The Legendary F1 Cars: Stories of Passion, Triumph, and Tragedy

Why do we love Formula 1? Surefire, we love it for its super-fast and technologically advanced cars that can easily reach 350km/h and drop to zero in seconds. These speedy monsters are already perfect in their design. However, I suggest you not think about the fastest or the most victorious ones, although such exist here too, but observe the most legendary F1 cars, because I believe most of them are the ones that left a mark on the sport’s history, related to its driver, whether it is about winning or failing or something else. So, let’s please the eyes and hearts, immediately raising the memorable stories behind their shapes.

Let’s go!

the most beautiful cars in formula 1 ferrari
Ferrari F2004 (8925316574)” by emperornie is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Ferrari F2004: The Prancing Perfection of Red

The story behind this pretty car relates to the 2004 season, which was the last year of Schumacher’s dominance for the ‘Prancing Horse’ team. Winning thirteen out of eighteen races, Schumacher took the seventh championship title in Formula 1. Overall, the iconic red F2004 car took fifteen victories in the season, with two won by Rubens Barrichello. 

Created by Rory Byrne and Ross Brawn, the Ferrari F2004 car was equipped with a V10 engine, and its sound was something unforgettable if you heard it once. 

The red livery, adorned with the iconic Shell logo, was designed with the best traditions of the brand. It was a car that Enzo Ferrari himself would endorse in person, as it was one that even non-fans could recognize soon. Nothing has changed since that time. 

Show a picture of F2004 to your friends. They will say: ‘That’s Ferrari!’ Furthermore, they immediately discern Michael Schumacher as a driver, and again, they will be correct. 

beautiful f1 car renault r25
Alonso with the Renault R25 in Seville 2006” by Renault F1 Team press service. is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

The French Flair of Renault R25

Let’s be honest. The Renault R25 was the most beautiful F1 car that Renault or Alpine ever revealed. 

Designed by Bob Bell and Tim Densham, the branded cyan-yellow colored; however, the same as Alonso’s homeland city Oviedo, R25 pranced with clean lines and smooth curves, adorned with the Renault and Mild Seven logos.

What’s more, it is one of the most legendary F1 cars! 

Yes, the F2004 fortified Ferrari at the top in 2004, but the Renault R25 came to change the game. And it did it.

For myself, the R25’s look is speaking out loud because it keeps the story of Fernando Alonso’s rise in Formula 1 and his making headlines out of the blue.

So, with a lot of space for any occasion and three superb drivers, it was the time when nothing could be predictable. Alonso was like a lion, challenging Kimi Räikkönen behind the wheel of the McLaren-Mercedes MP4-20 and Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari F2005. 

With seven victories out of nineteen races, Renault clinched titles with Alonso to becoming champion, making the bold point in Ferrari’s dominant era. 

Moreover, it is the most ‘musical’ car in Formula 1’s history and perhaps is the best. Like the F2004, the R25 was packaged with a V10 engine, whose sound is impossible to hear without earplugs. 

So, when it is racing, it sings a song for ears, no less, blowing your mind and touching your heart. 

significant f1 cars recently mclaren
McLaren-Mercedes MP4/22” by exfordy is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Noise Bringer Silver Stunner McLaren MP4-22

You can’t imagine how many stars worked at McLaren MP4-22! Paddy Lowe, Pat Fry, Mike Coughlan, Rob Taylor, and others made an effort to ensure Vodafone McLaren Mercedes took the constructors championship in 2007, but in vain!

Giving them credit, the MP4-22 became a gorgeous F1 car. Its chrome was like silver bathed with eye-blinding red spots holding the Vodafone logo. With naturally aspirated V8, the MP4-22 had many hidden secrets to tell under its mirror body. Spectacular!

I remember people had already started to buzz before the season even started. That moment, McLaren’s principal Ron Dennis signed rookie Lewis Hamilton as a pair to newly joined Fernando Alonso. 

What did he come up with as a result? Right, with a hot mix of two drivers. The entire season was full of tricky traps, while both weren’t scorning for any chance to outdo each other. 

Obsessed with winning, Hamilton and Alonso’s teaming was like a time bomb inside, threatening to ruin the team, which they did as a result.  

So, both equally yielded just a point to Kimi Räikkönen for the championship. Ferrari won their constructor’s title, while the season finished with the biggest scandal for the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, or so-called ‘Spygate.’

For me, the McLaren MP4-22 is a legendary car in Formula 1 because it is all about the fixation to be the first of the firsts, while its stunning appearance is emphasized. 

beautiful f1 cars recently mercedes
Lewis Hamilton 2016 British Grand Prix” by Andrew & Alan Frost is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Silver Beauty Mercedes F1 W07 Hybrid

Compared to the McLaren MP4-22, the Mercedes W07 Hybrid, presented in 2016, had similar patterns. And it is more than just a silver color. Probably, it was Paddy Lowe’s influence, as he also contributed to the W07 F1 car.

Equipped with a V6 turbocharged engine, this time, silver-shining was painted with black and specific green colors in honor of the integrated hybrid power unit.

This time, the controversies were restrained inside the Mercedes team. Nevertheless, a great rivalry between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton for every second and point was always the action with an unpredictable end.

Compared to Alonso-Hamilton’s pair, Rosberg-Hamilton was a mental game at high speeds, nearly fair but exhausting.

Rosberg won his first championship title at the wheel of W07 and ended his career immediately. That is how challenging this psychological warfare was. And this is the story of the legendary Mercedes W07 Hybrid kept hidden under its shapes.

Mercedes W07 Hybrid won nineteen out of twenty-one races in the season and became the third most successful car in Formula 1 ever. Being so close to each other, Rosberg and Hamilton finished the season with a difference of just five points!

I find the W07 a pretty one. With being at the epicenter of attention in 2016, it vocalized silently: ‘All or nothing!’

beautiful f1 cars recently red bull rb9
Mark Webber (Red Bull) Overtaking Nico Hulkenberg (Sauber)” by craigmdennis is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Red Bull RB9’s Purple Superb 

Designed by Adrian Newey and fitted with a naturally aspirated V8 engine, the Red Bull RB9 was a superb car in the 2013 Formula 1 season. It allowed the team to win thirteen out of nineteen races and secured its winning status for the fourth year in a row, like its primary driver, Sebastian Vettel.  

Red Bull’s RB9 had a unique violet scheme with red and yellow blinding stripes. Vettel named it ‘Hungry Heidi.’ Bulls basked in the glory, while no one could imagine that a team without its own manufacturing could achieve success as soon as just after five years.

Although, it was an issue. Did it was the season of a rise or fall for Vettel overall? For me, the hidden legend of RB9 is in the behind-the-scenes actions, the team’s orders, and inner intrigues. The rivalry between teammates Vettel and Mark Webber brought a lot of controversies, causing stirs around the car.

So, you can win anything at the wheel of RB9, but will you be as fast inside the other car? Was it the driver’s skill that allowed the team to reach so high, or Newey’s designing talent? The main messages I associate with RB9.

Guessing, I wasn’t alone, as Vettel switched to Ferrari the following season to prove his power at the wheel of another car.

best f1 cars recently mercedes w11
Lewis Hamilton 2020 Tuscan Grand Prix” by Original: Eustace Bagge Derivative work: Danyele is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Elegant Beauty Mercedes-AMG F1 W11 EQ

The black-colored livery with silver stars and green stripes, the Mercedes W11 is the most legendary F1 car ever for me.

With a V6 turbocharged hybrid engine, the elegant, stylish, and powerful car was made for Lewis Hamilton primarily for the 2020 season. It was his sequel in the form of the vehicle.

James Allison, Mike Elliott, and other star designers made a great effort, as the perky, ideal W11 hadn’t been equaled on the tracks. Winning thirteen out of seventeen races, Mercedes secured its seventh consecutive championship title and became the best car Mercedes ever made.

The Mercedes W11 is a reminder of Hamilton’s highest peak form and the time of his influence in the sport and world. Thus, it was the age of Hamilton’s activities and campaigns, such as pre-race anti-racism action, which involved all the drivers on the grid, or collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger and many others.

So, yes, W11 was definitely Hamilton’s counterpart on the circuit.

prettiest f1 cars recently aston martin f1
FIA F1 Austria 2021 Nr. 5 Vettel” by Lukas Raich is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

AMR21: In The Best Traditions Of Aston Martin

Another beautiful takes place in my favorites. It is Aston Martin’s AMR21, designed by Andrew Green and Akio Haga.

However, fitted with the V6 turbo hybrid engine, the AMR21 was more than just a car, as there was a legend beneath its shape.

Here it is.

After Lawrence Stroll bought the Racing Point, he acquired his 17% stake in Aston Martin. As a result, Formula 1 saw the return of the old team after sixty years of absence!

Therefore, the AMR21 appeared in the traditional Aston Martin’s deep green color in 2021. The car was perfect and reminded me of James Bond’s saga. But that’s not all.

The green color was the only thing that differentiated the AMR21 from Mercedes’ W10, while the pink stripes sideways recalled the racing heritage of Racing Point.

And third, Stroll wasn’t content with owning an F1 team. He was obsessed with ensuring that his investment brought victories, which wasn’t possible anyway. You wonder, but they worked a nearly miraculous feat.

Despite a poor start to the season, Sebastian Vettel placed second in the Azerbaijan Baku Grand Prix. He made a stir, as people had lost hope for him.

Aston Martin AMR21 was a brand new vision that came to dictate its rules in Formula 1.

best-looking f1 cars ferrari
Ferrari F1” by Triple-green is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Project № 675: Ferrari SF-23

Yes, the story of Ferrari rushing to bring back the former glory has lasted over the years. They had been struggling against Red Bull’s dominance. Then, the palm tree came to Mercedes and Bulls again.

However, despite being closer to the last in the 2022 season, I think the Ferrari SF-23 is, exactly, that car that reflects their turning point.

Designed by Enrico Cardile and Fabio Montecchi, it had a hybrid V6 turbocharged engine and got the internal ‘Project 675.’

However, it differs from previous liveries. Black patterned, it looked more aggressive, and even its traditional red color with the Shell logo looked divergent.

Despite winning the Singapore Grand Prix and earning seven podiums, the SF-23 reminds me directly of the time for Ferrari changes.

Let me explain.

In 2023, Frédéric Vasseur became the ‘Prancing Horse’ team principal. Soon after, he initiated a new direction for the team, improving the competitive tension among drivers, changing mentality, and many other internal activities, causing it to affect the car’s design too.

Thanks to Vasseur, they also sing Lewis Hamilton for the 2025 season.

Last but not least. Look at the Ferrari SF-23 special livery for the Las Vegas race, as I guess it was the most beautiful car in the 2023 season.

Yes, SF-23’s legend is significant changes, long-term plans, and sweeping advancement, what I gently call a ‘project.’

the most successful car in formula 1 red bull rb19
Max Verstappen” by Joachim_Hofmann is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Red Bull RB19: Ideal Incarnate 

However, ask me about the most ideal car ever made in Formula 1. And that will be RB19! 

Because it was the case when its designer, Newey, just outperformed himself. He took the previous RB18’s base and slightly struck out everything unnecessary, making the car lighter and more aerodynamic. 

Perfect shapes, colored with deep blue and eye-catching Red Bull logos, complete the most aggressive look of Formula 1 cars of a new generation.  

What’s more. Powered by a V6 turbocharged engine, RB19 broke the historical record as it was the only race car that didn’t win in the 2023 season!

RB19 is perfection that tells about Max Verstappen’s dominant era and speaks out loud about how talented and passionate Adrian Newey is about Formula 1. 

Poison Green Beauty Sauber C44

Sauber can’t brag about victories or podium finishes; however, whether it makes significant sense, after all? In 2026, the team will become Audi. I think they’re just having fun, giving everything they can.  

However, their C44 became an eye-catching one on the grid in the 2024 season. Designed by James Key’s team, cars have similar patterns to Red Bull and their RB20. 

Modern and stylish C44 is suited in poison green color, which reminds of the hue of the Grinch. As most of the cars are primarily black, it is brave enough. 

Furthermore, my focal point in Sauber is Valtteri Bottas, as I guess he enjoying the team and regulations after spending the pressured time alongside Hamilton in Mercedes. 

Sauber C44 reflects having fun and unreservedly earns a spot on my best-looking cars in Formula 1.

Instead of Conclusion

The current FIA Formula 1 regulations intelligible what is allowed and not in the vehicles’ design. So, in theory, the grid must look indifferent. It seems so, but taking it closer, you can find how thoughtful the colors, stripes, details, and F1 car elements are.

Designers like Adrian Newey, James Allison, Paddy Lowe, Pat Fry, Mike Coughlan, Rory Byrne, and Ross Brawn have found such technical decisions that still make their opponents and fans wonder: ‘How’s it possible at all?’ 

Thus, each car in Formula 1 has unique temperaments, whether it’s the iconic liveries, the innovative aerodynamics, or the sheer elegance of their designs.

But what makes one car prettier than others? Certainly, the specific legend related to the people who designed it, the drivers who achieved the most at the wheel of it, and even the team that made an effort to top with this vehicle. 

However, some of these stories speak out loud as much. So, looking at a car immediately makes your memory recall a specific age, bringing you a visual delight. That happens to me whenever I look at the ones in this post.