This site has moved!

January 5, 2012

Hello! As of January 2012, this site no longer lives at The existing posts have been left here so as not to break incoming links from elsewhere, but if you want to continue reading F1 Colours we would be grateful if you could follow us over to, where you’ll find all the latest posts and updates (seriously, there’s like five more years’ worth and counting).

That address again, in nice big letters:

Thank you!

Livery Histories #3: Benetton

August 11, 2011

The third of our Livery Histories looks at a team that were close to my heart in the mid to late ’90s – Benetton Formula. The team didn’t win a lot of friends in the early ’90s, thanks to a series of controversies including the “poaching” of Michael Schumacher from Jordan in 1991 and persistent rumours of skullduggery and technical infringements during their first title-winning season in ’94. But by 1997, they’d become underdogs of a sort, never challenging for titles but able to pick up a podium or even a win here and there and with the likeable driver combo of Alesi and Berger – so they were the ideal team to which to hitch my wagon at a time when I was disillusioned with Williams for sacking Damon Hill.

And, of course, it helps that they had some pretty smart liveries around that time. But the sky blue and white Mild Seven livery was just one in a series of multi-coloured efforts that the team would employ during their fifteen-year tenure in the sport – fitting, really, for a company whose main brand includes the words “United Colors”…

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Class of 2011: The Helmets

April 4, 2011

Each year, once the teams’ liveries have been rounded up, I’ve meant to do a post about the drivers’ helmets as well, and never got around to it. Well, SHOCK HORROR: for 2011, I’ve finally done it.

I’m not as into helmet liveries as I am those of the cars, but nevertheless, I think there’s a fair amount of interest to be found in paying attention to the changing trends, and to the habits that some drivers have of switching designs frequently, or using one-off paint jobs, and so on. Personally, I think helmet designs were at their best between around the 1980s and late 1990s – during that time, just about every driver had a distinctive yet usually simple design. The patterns would be large, and easily¬†reproducible¬†– in comparison to helmet designs in other sports (such as superbikes), they were never needlessly complex or detailed. This meant that there were a wealth of classic and memorable designs (and at some point, I’ll get around to doing another feature on some of my favourites from this era and beyond).

Since the turn of the century, however, there’s been more of a shift in fashion towards more elaborate and complex designs – helmets that look terrific in close-up, but from a distance are far less distinguishable against the backdrop of a car. There’s also tended to be a bit less reliance on national identity (in the past, an especially high percentage of drivers’ helmets would be based around their national flag), and a lot of drivers are far less concerned about having a single branded image following them through their career – instead changing their design at the drop of a hat, to please either the demands of teams/sponsors or simply their own whims. It’s an idea that surely seems anathema to fans of the likes of Senna, Hill or Mansell.

Among the 2011 helmets, there are a number of these more “modern” designs – but pleasingly, a number of drivers do still have what I’d call “classic”-style paint jobs, some of them among the more recent additions to the sport. So let’s have a closer look at them all…

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2011 Liveries: The Verdict(s)

March 14, 2011

Right, then. We’ve now seen all twelve of 2011’s Formula One liveries. I wanted to wait, before doing the usual summary post, until we’d seen them all running on track in testing – but frankly, from the looks of things we may not see the HRT in motion before Melbourne itself. So there’s no point waiting for it, and I might as well run through each of the cars now and give my thoughts. It’s fair to say that 2011 isn’t really the vintage year for new liveries that 2010 was – but there are still some interesting paint jobs out there, and some teams have even managed to improve on the previous year. Let’s take a look in detail, then…

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New Williams livery: just don’t say “Rothmans”

February 24, 2011

So, then. The new Williams is basically a continuation of the team’s post-BMW identity (with the layout of the nose section in particular deviating little from the 2010 version), but infused with a deliberate nod back to a certain era in the team’s past. Although, blimey, it’s a weird day when “mid-90s” can be straight-facedly referred to as “retro”.

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New Force India a bit different, too!

February 8, 2011

Did they know the Hispania was also going to be white and do this consciously? Kudos, anyway, to Force India for taking their basic colour scheme and actually changing it year on year. Although from the front at least, you can’t help but wonder if they’ve employed the same graphic designer that used to work for Toyota…

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Well, that’s… new…

February 8, 2011

Right, then. Let’s look at this in a bit more detail. Wow.

So given that they were the team with comfortably the worst livery on the grid last season, it would have been difficult for HRT to go downwards this year. As it is, with the hiring of a Hollywood design consultant in the shape of Daniel Simon, we knew something a bit exciting would be afoot. And so it’s proved.

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