The man who designed the McLaren P1 has criticised Bugatti for seemingly allowing “computers to take over the design process”.
Frank Stephenson, who has worked at the likes of BMW, Mini, Ferrari, Maserati, Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo and McLaren, told The Drive Bugatti’s latest designs were missing the “human factor”.
Bugatti recently said its design team had "digitalised more than 90 percent of the creative model development process and has thus established a paradigm shift in design creation".
Stephenson, who left McLaren in 2017, doesn’t approve.
"Hats off to them. I just would never buy one of those cars, because it is completely in contrast with the way I think design should be approached," he said.
"Obviously, we need to use computers in this day of age. We would be foolish not to, but we don't want computers to take over the design process. What they are actually doing ... believe it or not, is a fact: computers can design cars.
"What they can't measure is the human factor, the human feeling of designing that product. And that is something that comes individually from who is designing that vehicle. It's almost as if the design is the person designing it. It's his/her genetic connection and emotions in that design," he said.
Stephenson went on to tell The Drive “a computer can be sterile, very analytical, but it doesn't bring in the emotional side of the design".
"I don't like that look. I understand the requirement for speed and efficiency, but if I was running the design programme, I'd always emphasise to leave the computers, the 3D modelling, all that to the very, very last minute," he explained.
Stephenson emphasised “the human touch in design is absolutely critical and invaluable”.
“It's like the human brain. It cannot be improved on by a machine. You can have it done faster, figure out things faster, or try more options, but the actual stimulus, the inspiration, the emotional value of the design does not come from a computer.
"I'll be following Bugatti's progress closely, but I'd never recommend using computers early on in a design programme," he said.