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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Cor, it’s all very exciting, isn’t it? We’ve had the new Mercedes (of which I won’t bother reposting pictures here, as despite a drastically different chassis shape it’s still the same livery as seen last week), plus an official launch for the Toro Rosso and a quiet rollout of the new Williams. As there’s not been an official “launch” of the latter, we’re not sure that it’s definitely the final livery, but have some pictures anyway:
Same as you were, basically. It’s a nice livery, but it’s a little dull to see nothing in the way of refreshment – aside from that “Williams Hybrid” logo on the side of the monocoque. Maybe they still have a new sponsor to pull out of the bag… but I doubt it. I think what you see is what you get with Williams at the moment.
Meanwhile, not much to report from Toro Rosso, either – it’s much the same as last year, only with a new red nose pattern. But unless Red Bull are planning some changes, it’s still disappointingly similar to the “parent” car. It’d be really nice to see the team strike out with their own identity a bit more – something like this (artwork by “Jezson” of F1fanatic), perhaps?
Hi folks, sorry once again for the delay – I was busy around the time Toro Rosso launched, and figured it would be worth waiting for Brawn to unveil their new car in Australia before doing a post about both. Only… Brawn never did, did they? They raced with the same car as they tested with, only with a couple of Virgin logos stuck in surprisingly small and subtle places :
… and there’s not really a huge amount to say about it, is there? The fluorescent stuff is alright, and gives the team a distinct identity, but it looks like nothing other than a test car. The arrival of Virgin gave hope that there’d be some kind of rebranding exercise… but thanks to Button’s win, that car is the most famous thing in motorsport, and I honestly can’t imagine them changing it dramatically between now and the end of the season – I know they’ve only had a week since Australia, but if it was going to change, it would have been for Malaysia, and it hasn’t. If, as expected, Richard Branson ends up buying out the team and renaming it, then maybe then – but that can’t happen until the end of the season anyway. So it really does look like we’ll be stuck with a plain white car – with just a couple of sponsor decals and a bit of fluorescent yellow – heading the field this season. Nice helmet redesigns, though.
At least Toro Rosso have made some changes this year. The painted Bull remains, but it’s shifted solely to the engine cover, and there’s now a large Red Bull text logo on the sidepod. Unfortunately, coupled with the Red Bull Cola advert on the rear wing, it has the effect of making the STR look even more like the RBR than it did previously. That said, it’s arguably a slightly nicer looking car than its big brother – and the text against a darker blue background puts me in mind of a mid-90s Sauber, from before they took on the turquoise Petronas branding.
So that’s our full grid of cars. Winners for 2009? Williams, I reckon. It’s not that different to previous years, but it’s a very smart car, and I really like the curved and swooping lines as seen in the side-on view. Losers? It’s got to be Renault – the grid’s ugliest machine sits under its ugliest livery, and while it looks like far less of a patchwork than the 07/08 cars (in that all the colours on it look a bit more like they’re meant to go together) it’s still mildly vomit-inducing. And the nose is appalling.
You may have noticed that there are still two teams on the grid who haven’t had any kind of car launch or livery unveiling. Well, there’s been no official announcement yet, but it would appear from photos of the Melbourne paddock so far that both Super Aguri and Toro Rosso are starting the season with identical designs to last year. Toro Rosso have changed their uniforms, however (race numbers on there again! Hooray!), and it’s interesting to note the visual identity they’re starting to carve out – their cars are still similar to Red Bull’s, but note on the uniform the darker blue, and the prominence given to that yellowish cream colour, and contrast this with Red Bull’s lighter blue, and strips of red/white/blue. It would be nice if they could get rid of the bull on the engine cover now, though – it’s really starting to get dull.
Super Aguri, meanwhile, having been bought out by the Magma group, don’t look like giving their cars a quick dash of paint ahead of the first race; but rumours abound that a new colour scheme, and perhaps even a new name, will be forthcoming in time for Monaco. We’ll keep ’em peeled.
Ferrari, meanwhile, have inked a deal with UAE airline Etihad – formerly of Spyker, but dropped in favour of Vijay Mallya’s own Kingfisher – that will see the brand on the red cars’ rear wings.