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…
Well, with all 12 teams’ liveries now unveiled, and the season opening race mere days away, I thought it time to take one last look at all 12 together, to see how they compare to one-another – and to the history of liveries in general – and give them all marks out of ten. It’s undoubtedly a more colourful grid than last year, with plenty of new colours thrown into the mix and only two cars that are predominantly white – but at the same time, we’ve suddenly been hit by a surfeit of silver/grey, and you wonder if certain teams could have done a little more to distinguish themselves. Here, then, is the full grid lineup :
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Once again that man Jake Humphrey is tweeting pics from the scene. More later, but while there’ll surely be a LOT of discussion of the MP4-25, it’ll be more about what’s under the paint job than the livery itself. Here it is, anyway:
Interesting to note, incidentally (as gareth already has in the comments just as it occurred to me!) that Santander no longer seem to appear on the car, but are still on the drivers’ uniforms…
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.
Okay, it’s about time I got around to this, so that we’ll be nice and up-to-date for when the next round of launches kicks off (Red Bull are scheduled to launch on the 9th, with Force India and Toro Rosso to be confirmed and the Williams livery to be unveiled at the opening race). It’s looking increasingly like, aside from the Renault, no team has actually bothered to make significant changes to their design this year – but let’s go through team by team and see if there are any differences we can spot, or points worth noting.
We start with Ferrari, first out of the blocks (as they were last year) and, of course, sticking with almost exactly the same livery (as they did last year). Ferrari only ever change things when they’ve got a new major sponsor – or if it’s an end-of-era type situation, as they did when making the design a bit more “futuristic” for the post-Schumacher era.
They’ve gone with the same wider version of the “barcode” Marlboro fudging as was seen on the car for some of last season – it’s nowhere near as nice as the simpler version from 2007 and last year’s launch, to be honest. The sooner this weird, rule-bending half-association with Marlboro is over, and they have to actually put some thought into the liveries again, the better – sure, the cars always look nice, but they’re desperately unimaginative.
Speaking of desperately unimaginative… hey, it’s Toyota!
I don’t think there’s ever been a team with such a bloody-minded determination NEVER TO CHANGE. Alright, so as we discussed at the time of the ’08 launch, they make minor changes each year, but essentially, it’s been THE SAME BASTARD CAR since 2002. And it’s BORING. Even moreso when you consider that, as I’ve mentioned repeatedly, we have too many predominantly white cars nowadays. For the record, this has been changed from last year (you wouldn’t know at a glance, but compare side by side and you get an idea), in that the red bits are back to being asymmetrical. But all that does is make it look like an older version, rather than something new. Sigh.
McLaren, meanwhile, haven’t got bored of the chrome look yet, and so are yet another team that are running a car almost identical to the last couple of years.
There are a couple of points worth noting on this one, though. If we compare it to last year, it can be seen that the red/black lines that run alongside the nose no longer stretch past the cockpit. This is probably, along with the way the red on the sidepod seems to run for further, a consequence of the new shape of the car. Meanwhile, it could just be a trick of the light, but the red looks a bit brighter, and a bit less orange. To be honest, though, these things are difficult to judge at launch, and there would seem to be no practical reason to simply change the shade, so I doubt it’s really any different. And the other point to note is that, clearly proud of Lewis’ World Champion status, they’ve stuck his race number #1 on the rear wing’s endplate. It’s particularly interesting when you consider that they didn’t bother to do the same with Alonso’s 2007 car – clearly, the team feel differently about champions that actually won in their own machinery…
And finally, we have BMW. Once again, not a huge amount to say, with a basic paint scheme that only alters to fit the simpler lines of these ugly new machines :
… but there are at least changes to note, and they’re quite obvious. The end of the sponsorship deal with Credit Suisse has left a gap on the car, with Intel moving to the rear wing endplate space (have they scaled back their involvement, too? They’re not on the front wing any more, either) It remains to be seen if the gap on the engine cover is going to be filled by a new sponsor before the season starts, but it’s interesting that BMW have chosen to put the old “BMW Power” text on the lower part – it’s somewhat reminiscent of their branding on the old Williamses. Oh, and Nick Heidfeld has a new, green helmet design – but I’ll be looking at all helmet designs once the season gets underway!
It’s a shame, really. I launched this blog to commentate on liveries, and over the last couple of seasons there’s been very little to talk about in the way of new designs (even less now that the number of teams in the sport is shrinking). Still, I’m hoping to keep things going (and I do mean it, this time!) with some more “history”-based articles, so hopefully that’ll see us through a barren year of paint-job-related excitement!
Those of you who predicted this one for the top five – give yourselves a pat on the back…