The STR7 was unveiled on Monday in the Jerez pitlane, a day ahead of its testing debut.
“When the trucks left Faenza on Saturday night I was worried we would not arrive in time,” La Gazzetta dello Sport quotes the relieved team boss as saying.
Ultimately, it turned out well, although Daniel Ricciardo – one of Toro Rosso’s new Red Bull-backed rookies – was not overly impressed with the car’s looks.
“It’s not exactly beautiful,” said the Australian, referring to the now notorious ‘stepped’ noses on the 2012 cars, “but I’d rather have a quick car than a pretty one.”
Actually, designer Giorgio Ascanelli is worried the STR7’s nose might not be ugly enough.
“I think we could have made it more aggressive,” said the Italian, “but in the end we had to homologate the car before we could test it.”
Arguably more ugly is the nose on Sauber’s new C31, but Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi isn’t so sure.
“You think it’s ugly?” he told reporters at Jerez. “If everybody has the same style of car then it’s not ugly. Only the McLaren is different, so we will see.”
On McLaren, Kobayashi might have a point.
Of the eight 2012 cars seen so far, all of them have a ‘step’ except the McLaren. And Pedro de la Rosa has hinted that the new HRT will also feature the unattractive solution.
“Like almost everyone one else we have had the idea to have as much area under the car as possible. The regulations force us to do what we have done,” Sauber designer Matt Morris is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.
Said Telegraph correspondent Tom Cary: “It begs the question — have McLaren got it wrong?
“Were they ‘sandbagging’ – faking – at last week’s launch? Have they got it right and everyone else got it wrong?”
McLaren’s technical director Paddy Lowe is confident: “We have always had a different philosophy than the others for the front of the car,” he is quoted by Blick newspaper.
Two 2012 cars with ‘step’ noses – Lotus and Sauber – made their track debuts on Monday, ahead of official testing which begins on Tuesday.
Lotus’ technical boss James Allison thinks the E20 is the “most beautiful ugly car” seen so far.
“It feels great in first and second gear,” smiled Kimi Raikkonen, referring to the running for ‘filming purposes’.
Agreed Sauber’s Kobayashi: “I obviously can’t make serious judgements on the car because we had just a promotional day and were running only demo tyres.”
The new Williams will be seen for the first time on Tuesday.