Welcome to another edition of The Scrutineering Bay, Badger GP’s very own version of Question Time (only younger, cooler and less depressing). For the those who haven’t seen the article before, it’s quite simple; a hot topic is asked in the Sett and whichever of our intrepid writers are in earshot get the chance to put their opinion across.

This week, we’re going all donning our rose-tinted glasses:

“Which 2011 car is easiest on the eye?”

This week has been very busy in the Sett (with all these launches, we barely saw one another this week) but myself, Adam Millenueve and Jimmy Von Weeks managing to get their two cents in. Jimmy‘s up first, with Michael Schumacher’s new chariot the object of his afffections:

Here at the Sett, opinion on the new Mercedes racer is split. Badger editor Adam Millenueve is keen on the MGP W02, describing the front-end as having ‘shark-like qualities’. At the other end of the scale is Scrutineering Bay overseer Craig Normansell, who describes it as looking ‘like a duck-billed platypus’. After a long debate about this just yesterday they’re still no nearer agreement.

Personally, I’m on Adam’s side: I like it. Okay, not the livery – silver and turquoise can’t honestly be anyone’s idea of a good combo – but in terms of the machine itself there’s definitely something about it. The nose is uniquely sculpted; the front-wing wonderfully detailed; and the curve of the sidepods gives it touch of the greyhound. More than anything, I find this car intriguing; there’s something strange about it that makes me want to look more, to work out why it is I can’t stop looking. And, if you’re still not convinced that there’s at least some beauty in this machine, check out the head-on promo shot that Mercedes released ahead of the official launch. That’s what won me over.

Not everyone will like it – some will be put off by the very things that I find appealing – but ultimately this, and all of the new cars we’ve seen launched in recent weeks, will be judged by their on-track performances. I think there’s something about this hints that this car is quick and, in the end, the quickest cars are always the most beautiful.

Being totally impartial as Chief Scrutineer, I can’t possibly comment. If I could, I would reiterate that the 2011 Mercedes does look like a duck-billed platypus. But of course I wouldn’t.

Next to weigh in is Adam:

There may be questions over it’s legality in Canada, but it’s just such a great livery, I cannot help but put forward the JPS-inspired Lotus Renault GP car – the black and gold looks simply superb and well, for sure it’s not original, but a good design is forever a good design. If quick cars look good then this should be right up fighting for front row grid positions and looking to snaffle a podium or seven this year. Sadly, with everyone’s favourite Pole out of action and Petrov being the sole confirmed driver, this beauty of a car may end up facing the wrong way in a ditch… again.

Yes, I can hear you all screaming “what about the red end plates” and well I agree it’s a shame but don’t let them offend you or ruin the look, it still works.

In terms of shape, the fancy innovation exhaust system has been the talk of the F1 town since the launch and if their solution does pay off then this will be the best looking car on the grid, because let’s face it, it’s always the fast cars that look good in the end.

Adam takes it back to the ’70s and ’80s with his pick. Lotus Renault GP have gone old school, and fingers crossed the glory days will return with the black and gold.

One more pick to go, hopefully going last once again won’t hold me back:

Launch season can be the usual mix of evolution or revolution, all backed up with hollow promises. The usual formula; drivers 1 and 2 take the cover off car X, with team Y convincing the world’s press that this is their year now they have the backing of sponsor Z (substitute where appropriate). Then the Williams team sent Rubens Barrichello out in the FW33 and that all changed a little bit for me.

For the first time, it wasn’t about KERS, diffusers, times and tyres. I just looked at it, and loved it. It’s sleek, not jagged and bulbous like the Mercedes. It’s not as conservative as the latest Ferrari, but then not as extreme as the McLaren. It’s neat, sculpted, refined and cool. It’s just…great. If I was seven years old again and had a pencil and a maths exercise book, I’d be scrawling something like the Williams.

The Williams team also proves that you don’t need a fanfare to launch a car. Put it on the track and let people make their own judgements, at the end of the day the car it there to race and that’s it. But, as a fan, it adds to the mystique and beauty of it all. The only shame is that a man at Grove with a paintgun and a stencil will remove the interim livery and do something “retro” with it. I can’t recall who it was, I think it was Gordan Murray or another designer of the same vintage, but they said “If it looks right, it usually is right”, and to me, there isn’t anything more right than the FW33.

Some of the greatest looking cars in Formula One history do end up being nowhere near the front of the grid. For some fans, that doesn’t matter as long as a car is appealing enough to be made into poster form for their bedroom wall. We’ve fought the corner for three of the class of 2011, what are your thoughts?