Wild Rumours and Speculation…

So 2007 looks like being an interesting year in terms of liveries. Marlboro aside, the tobacco companies are gone, and so a number of teams have new title sponsors, with potentially drastic new paintjobs to go with them. And so, with the Ferrari and McLaren launches imminent, I thought it was time to take a look at some of the speculation raging over just how colourful the grid might be this year…

McLaren have a new title sponsor, and so speculation generally centres on just how Vodafone will be integrated into the car. Last season’s design, introducing a higher amount of red, seemed to be paving the way for a similar design this year (with Vodafone’s name in the place of Emirates, and perhaps replacing Johnnie Walker on the sidepods), but they might consider a rethink after the chrome livery wasn’t deemed much of a success. Some are speculating that we might see a return to something similar to the famous Marlboro red and white, but since the “Mercedes” part of the team name is just as important as the “McLaren” part these days (not to mention the potential similarities to Toyota and Aguri), you’d expect that silver would still be predominant, even if the chrome is toned down a bit.

Of all the potential new liveries, Renault is one that’s really getting people talking. The champions have lost Mild Seven as a sponsor, and with it have already confirmed that they’ll be dropping their blue and yellow livery (a classic, incidentally, melding perfectly the sky blue of the Benetton years with Renault’s corporate yellow). Their new title sponsor, ING, are Dutch, and like all Dutch companies (apparently) this means one thing : Orange. Oh, and dark blue. But that would be a drastic step, particularly as there’s already likely to be another orange team on the grid in the shape of Spyker (and the teams already look to be trying to avoid the fiasco of last year, when it seemed that about three colour schemes were being spread among the eleven teams). In addition, ING aren’t really a company whose colours are inextricably linked with them – so it doesn’t necessarily follow that they will hold sway over the colour of the car. The smart money here would seem to be on some combination of Renault’s yellow, black/grey and white – with perhaps some dark blue as a concession to ING.

If there’s one thing that will forever remain a constant in F1, it’s this – a Ferrari will always be red. The only real question is just how long they’ll stick with Marlboro’s shade of it, assuming that – as expected this year – they don’t actually have the brand name on the car. There’s speculation that the end of the Schumacher era may see a rare opportunity for a bit of an overhaul, but it’s really not that likely – although it’ll be interesting to see if the Italian red-white-green stripes that were seen on Kimi Raikkonen’s outfit at his first public Scuderia appearance make their way on to the car in any way…

Honda are certainly setting tongues wagging with their assertion that their new livery will “surprise” people. There are strong rumours that they’re going green – in more ways than one – this year, which would certainly be great to see: the grid has been lacking, colour-wise, since Jaguar were bought out of the sport. Whatever happens, a shift away from white and red would be refreshing given its ubiquity in the sport last year; although whether they’d want to concede victory in that corporate colours battle with Toyota, I wouldn’t care to speculate.

BMW were a bit cheeky with their livery upon entering the sport last season, coming up with something that – a dash of red aside – was near-identical to the liveries they’d been sharing with Williams since 2001. They don’t seem like a team preparing to spring any surprises on people, though, so expect something similar in ’07. The same, of course, can be said about Toyota – who’ve launched their car by the time I came to write this, but whom I would have predicted to have gone with a near-identical livery to the one they’ve had for five years.

Red Bull remain, unsurprisingly, likely to stick with a colour scheme based around their blue and silver colours – but they have confirmed that their livery will be quite different to the 2005/06 ones. Perhaps a bit more silver could be introduced to the mix, making the car look a bit more like the original test car (and, indeed, a can of Red Bull itself)? Sister team Toro Rosso, meanwhile, may opt for a more conventional design than last year, and may also move away a bit from just looking like another RBR car.

Williams had one of the smartest liveries last year, and it would be a shame to see them change dramatically with the introduction of new sponsor AT&T. Since 2000 they’ve become synonymous with blue and white (as they had been in the mid-90s before Winfield came along), and despite splitting from BMW we’ll probably see a continuation of that, albeit with a potential change in shade as a concession to the new sponsors.

Spyker introduced a rather hurried orange and grey livery when taking over from Midland, and while it wasn’t hugely popular, at least it didn’t look like a McLaren any more. As a Dutch team, they seem likely to stick with orange as the predominant colour this season, so let’s hope they have a bit more time to work on the design this time out. And it’s unlikely that we’ll see too much of a change for Super Aguri – they began 2006 with a rather simple white and red livery, gradually increasing the amount of red and elaborating on the design. Expect further evolution, perhaps, but as a Japanese team it seems there’s only one colour scheme available to them…

So that’s that, then. Generally right, way off the mark, or somewhere inbetween? We’ll see before February is out. In the meantime, I’ll be back with a look at the Ferrari and McLaren launches on Monday…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: