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…
Three launches yesterday, three launches today. No let up, is there? I’m a bit slower catching up on these – partly because I was busy at work today, and partly because none of them really involve anything we haven’t already seen – but let’s do a run-through for the sake of completeness. We’ll do the Mercedes first, as that’s the most interesting, then if you so desire you can follow the jump to read about the Red Bull and Toro Rosso.
Having now seen it in full, it has to be said – it’s a sterling example of how just a few changes can make a huge difference to the quality of a livery. This is a great looking car, and will in all likelihood be one of the best on the grid this year. The turquoise works so well alongside the silver in this new, increased quantity that I’m amazed they were so scared of it last year; this makes the 2010 car look like a wishy-washy, test prototype, while this is The Real Thing. Dropping the black “carbon” sections from the engine cover and nose has worked superbly, too – it gives the car a much more dynamic feel now that, down to the tip of the nose, it’s just one shard-like piece of silver.
There are quibbles: it’s a shame there’s been nothing done with the airbox area (how nice would a huge, three-point-star Merc logo look there?); I’m not sure the red sponsor detail works as well on the rear wing as it does on the nose (where the classic-style race numbers allow them to get away with it); I still don’t know what’s up with those black-and-yellow wing mirrors, which date back to the 2009 Brawn; and there’s something up with the way the PETRONAS on the sidepod partially creeps out into the silver. Really, though, these are minor issues. All in all, Mercedes have done a terrific job this time out.
Looks like German newspaper Bild have stolen a march on the planned Tuesday launch of the new Mercedes Petronas – posting a picture of what appears to be the car, resplendent in its 2011 livery. And, in a pleasing development, the team do appear to have made some changes:
There’s no real reason to suspect this is phoney – if it is, someone’s done a good job of ensuring that the details we’d know would change (race number, Pirelli badge) are present, and it also contains new detail (the front-of-sidepod sponsor) that wouldn’t necessarily be expected by anyone creating a mockup. So on the assumption that it’s real… well, I like it. It integrates the Petronas turquoise into the livery far better than the 2010 car did – their logo looks significantly better in white text on a full turqoise background rather than black text with a wishy-washy splash of it underneath. Indeed, the colours complement each other well enough that it’s a surprise they didn’t go with this bold an application last year. Nevertheless, it’s a strong evolution of the team’s image, and when we see it properly should make for a good-looking car.
Thanks to Ned Flanders of this parish for the heads-up!
Update: The picture’s veracity has been confirmed by Mercedes, who’ve released a higher-res version (now above), which also turns out to be a rendering rather than a photograph.
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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And it turns out that that Photoshop mockup was actually closer to the truth than we’d anticipated! Official pictures will surely follow, but for now, Jake Humphrey has already Twittered some pictures of the new car at the launch. And here it is!
Update: More pictures above, and here are my thoughts. It’s… underwhelming, to be honest. Given that the one thing we knew all along was that it would be silver, I think we mostly expected something a bit more… dynamic? Exciting? Certainly not just a photoshopped version of a Brawn (although, that said, maintaining the “swoosh” from the nose is a pleasing link to the team’s prior incarnation). The turquoise doesn’t really work at all in such thin lines and splashes – there either needed to be more of it, to make it stand out more, or it not be there at all. And what really doesn’t work is the fact that the other splash colour, on the numbers and some logos, is red – the two don’t go together. Red alone would have worked, but of course would have invited further comparisons with a McLaren – something also unavoidable when you look at the driver uniforms, which really are reminiscent of the Hakkinen/Coulthard era. It’s not a great way to mark out a new, exciting era – and nor does it feel like a suitably impressive-looking car for Schumacher to make his return in. It’s just, well, kind of bland, isn’t it? On the other hand, it can be argued that having it be entirely silver (especially with the red numbers) is more of a callback to the actual 1950s Silver Arrows – but if that’s the case, why the turquoise, or the weird “spray-paint” style splash of black on the engine cover? It sort of feels caught between being two different things, which is a shame – as this was an opportunity to do something really stunning. Ah well. Not a disaster, but let’s hope it’s not a sign of things to come for the other teams’ designs.