Stewart Grand Prix joined the F1 scene in 1997 with big backing from Ford Motor Company and two exciting young drivers in Rubens Barrichello and Jan Magnussen. On top of this, Stewart had great sponsorship from HSBC and the Malaysian government. It was a promising foundation, but unreliability would mean little success in their first year.
With backing from companies in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Japan and the USA, and drivers from Brazil and Denmark, the livery would prove to be distinctly Scottish. With tartan stripes on a white background, it’s something you would have never thought would be on a racing car.
The tartan is ever so slightly asymmetrical, swooping from the front wing around the nose, across the barge boards and over the sidepods to the rear, as if gift wrapping the car. It is a design that albeit patriotic to Jackie and Paul Stewart’s Scottish heritage, is respectful and humble.
All the sponsors fit in well to the white, blue and red colour scheme and makes sure that the majority white doesn’t look plain or empty. The black text of HSBC, Havoline, Bridgestone and the #22 do this no harm and in fact compliment the colour scheme. Not even the drivers’ helmets disrupt it! No space on the car is left empty and yet, the livery doesn’t look at all messy or crammed. Every sponsor has its place and looks like it belongs.
This livery is colour coordinated brilliantly and the tartan design is something we may never see in the sport again. A truly unique livery.