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.
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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Nothing much new to see here, aside from a couple of small additions to the sponsor portfolio. The main point of interest is seeing the car with #5 on it (don’t ask me why, but I always find it interesting when a team more used to finishing at the lower end of the championship moves up into that higher-order of race numbers). Although…
… comparing the car from the studio shoot (left) with the one unveiled at Jerez (right), it’s mildly interesting (if you’re me) to note that one car features Red Bull Cola branding on the rear wing endplate, while the other is an ordinary Red Bull can. Could it be that Vettel (#5) and Webber (#6) will be carrying different branding from one-another this season? Or is it simply a change of heart from management, taken after the studio shoot had been done? Does anyone actually care?
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.
Right, then – let’s round up those missing livery launches, starting with the car driven by my New Favourite Namesake Driver, Seb Vettel, the Red Bull :
Everything as you’d expect, here – a tweaking of the usual blue livery with the red/blue/silver corporate lines. Note the rear wing, though, being used to advertise Red Bull Cola. It’d be quite nice if one of the two teams (if not the main one, then perhaps Toro Rosso) decided to deck their whole car out in that red/white/blue colour scheme for a bit of variety, don’t you think?
Elsewhere, Force India have clawed back some respect from this website after their shocking McLaren copy-job last year, by going for something a bit more distinctive :
Alright, so there’s still too much white – but in the absence of Honda (of whom more later) and Super Aguri, that’s not quite such a bad thing. I like that they’ve gone for a scheme that’s more in keeping with their team’s name and theme, making it clearly and immediately identifiable. Although it does look rather “cheaper” than last season – you can’t help but feel it has more of the look of a sponsorless, financially-struggling back-of-the-grid outfit. Oh, incidentally, confession time – images of this livery leaked a while back thanks to FI’s official 2009 calendar, which a reader kindly emailed me, and I COMPLETELY FAILED to get round to covering it, despite it being exactly the kind of scoop the blog was set up for!
So too, in fact, were those leaked pictures of the Williams livery that were around a short while back. Once again, the Grove outfit have eschewed an official launch, but have been running on-track at Jerez in what would seem to be their definite ’09 colour scheme. It’s pretty much as you’d expect – the usual blue and white of recent years, with the sponsors shuffled round a little :
As ever, I like it. It’s perhaps a bit simple (like almost every team, it’s low on sponsors – not inherently a bad thing, of course, but it does leave the car looking a bit un-dynamic), but I like the shade of blue (I can’t tell if they’ve changed it this year, though – on-track it looks the same, but in those promo pictures it’s rather lighter) and the shifted swooping lines are neat. Gawd knows what’ s going on with those shark-fin things, though.
And finally, although there’s not been a launch, and there are no pictures or anything to share, I’ve heard murmurings that the soon-to-be-renamed former Honda team, possibly to be known as Brawn Racing, could be running a light-blue and white livery this year. Which would make for a nice bit of variety, I’m sure you’ll agree. Hopefully we’ll find out if/when they show up for testing, but if it does turn out to be correct, remember that you heard it here first. Unless you didn’t.