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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F1 Sponsors: The Next Generation?

January 9, 2011

As we head towards the F1 launch season 2011, I’ll be along in the next week or so with my usual roundup of speculated liveries for the teams this year. In the meantime, however, here’s another guest article from Mark Martin, along similar lines, in which he speculates about the sort of companies that may look to become F1 sponsors in upcoming years…

By looking at either the Hispania or Sauber cars in 2010 it was painfully obvious the effect that the global recession had on F1. Companies simply no longer had sufficient funds to support a multi-million dollar project which would buy them a small space on a car competing in a sport which was generally seen as being bad for the environment. However, the sport is currently in the middle of a revolution with the teams having agreed to a resource restriction agreement which means that they are gently reducing their expenditures. The FIA has also announced plans for a new set of technical regulations for 2013 which will improve the sports environmental credentials and help teams reduce costs further.

The effect of this is that more companies are becoming open to the prospect of entering F1. This is due to companies becoming increasingly concerned with being seen to be endorsing anything remotely environmentally friendly and the possibility to buy advertising space on cars for a much reduced price. The following is a list of companies believed to be interested in becoming F1 sponsors in the next few years.

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Livery Histories #2: Jordan

December 15, 2010

Better late than never, eh? In an attempt to shift discussion on this site away from the various Lotus teams for once, let’s finally get around to something I originally planned to do about a year ago – the second of my Livery Histories posts, this time focusing on one of the most colourful and livery-orientated teams of the 1990s: Jordan Grand Prix.

The Jordan team brought a lot of excitement and character to F1 in the ’90s – and although perhaps their greatest legacy was the introduction of a startling array of driver talent to the sport (including a certain Schumacher M.), they’ll also be remembered by many for their assortment of memorable liveries, most notably the Benson & Hedges-themed cars of the late ’90s and early 2000s. But when they first arrived in the sport in 1991, the car looked very different…

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Numbers Nostalgia

November 12, 2010

Our latest guest article comes from Ollie Judkins – and while it’s not strictly speaking about liveries, I’m sure there are plenty of readers who (if they’re anything like me) are also interested in the vagaries of race numbers. If so, then read on…

Who else was hoping that Ferrari would get kicked out of the Constructors’ Championship over the team orders scandal, just so that in 2011 they’d be at the back of a 13-team grid and we’d see a Ferrari with a 27 on it? Having only really followed Formula 1 since 1996, numbers above 23 have always had an exotic quality for me. Before 1996, these “exotic” numbers were commonplace, and I’ve recently found myself wondering what the 2010 numbers would be if the pre-1996 numbering system had remained.

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Sponsors and Formula One

October 28, 2010

In the first of a handful of guest articles coming up here on F1 Colours, Mark Martin of – they of the current Nigel Mansell-led advertising campaign – talks about the changing face of F1 sponsorship, and the ever-shifting trends of the sort of companies that involve themselves in the sport.

When sponsorship was first introduced into Formula One in 1968 by the Lotus team, tobacco companies were the ones most interested in sponsorship. The dangerous nature of the sport fitted with their rebellious brand images. The sight of James Hunt smoking a cigarette next to his Marlboro Mclaren looked almost as ‘cool’ as Humphrey Bogart in many of his classic films. However, times have changed, and smoking is no longer socially acceptable. A number of legislative acts have been brought in to ban tobacco advertising, and F1 has been affected. In 2000, six of the eleven teams ran a car with a tobacco sponsor logo on it; just ten years later, there are no cigarette company logos to be seen on any car or team uniform (unless you count the infamous Ferrari “barcodes”).

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Lesser-Spotted F1 Liveries

January 11, 2010

A guest article by Greg “Ned Flanders” Morland

Some F1 liveries are iconic. The ‘rosso corsa’ Ferrari, as used for decades. The red and white Marlboro McLaren, raced by legends such as Senna and Prost. The variations of the blue and white colour scheme used by Williams during their glory years in the ’80s and ’90s. The Silver Arrows Mercedes which was synonymous with both Mercedes in the ’50s and McLaren over 40 years later.

But not all designs reach this level of prominence. Some are consigned to the dustbin after no more than one or two events. Some are never raced at all. Others are never even intended to be raced! Created for reasons as varied as charity promotion, sponsorship changes and regulation disputes, this is a collection of obscure F1 liveries.

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Livery Histories #1 : Lotus

November 13, 2009

The first article in this series was originally going to be about Jordan Grand Prix, but following the news about a new Lotus team’s planned entry into F1 in 2010, I couldn’t help but get thinking about Lotus liveries. After all, of all the new teams entering next year, Lotus is the name that will get even the more casual observers thinking about famous colour schemes – I can think of three or four instantly evocative classics off the top of my head that it would immediately be great to see a return of.

So in taking a skim over the history of Lotus liveries (a less detailed one than I’ll be doing for the likes of Jordan and Benetton, for whom I’ll cover each individual season – Lotus competed for 38 years, after all!), I’ll also be speculating over whether any of the classic colour schemes could feasibly make a  reappearance  in 2010 – or will we see something new entirely?

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