Formula 1's current generation of "ugly noses" could have marketing implications in making it harder for sponsors to sell the sport to the casual fan, fears Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery. He is concerned that the stepped noses that are a feature on most of the 2012 grid are likely to be a turn-off for followers of grand prix racing who do not know much about the technical reasons behind the designs.
"I think I will have to be in agreement with the general sentiment that they're damn ugly," explained Hembery. "But I guess if you talk to the engineers, they will say that as long as it's quick we don't care how ugly it is.
"From a fan's point of view, they look a bit strange and I don't think beauty is going to be in the eye of the holder. In this case it's not nice, and it's a bit of a shame, really.
"You understand why they do it: they are following regulations, which is a part of everybody's job, and they are looking for speed, not beauty. But from a fan's point of view, I think we have to say they look a bit weird and not particularly beautiful. I don't think this season is going to go down as the year of the beautiful F1 car."
When asked if the ugly look of the car could have consequences for the sport's promoters, with sponsors facing headaches in promoting cars that are getting criticized, Hembery said: "Well, I guess there is. A good barometer of this would be something like my son said when he saw them, 'Dad, that's pig ugly!'
"He doesn't give a damn about regulations. He's a 16-year-old who is looking at it from the perspective of someone who loves his cars and loves motorsport. He just looked at it and went, 'Dad that's ugly.' I know it sounds a silly thing to say, other than as an analogy, but that is what a lot of people will say who are maybe not as intimately involved as we are.
"But, where do you draw the line? How do you make rules that make cars look good, how do you do that? So that's a tough one as well. "
Some technical directors reportedly have already held discussions with the FIA about the look of the stepped noses, although there has not yet been any move to change the chassis regulations for 2013 to ensure there is a smoother transition to the nose.