Livery of the Day – Williams FW21

Williams 1

At the end of the 20th century, the Williams team spent 2 seasons in unfamiliar colours. After spending their entire history mainly in white or blue (bar the FW05 and perhaps the FW04), many criticised the red Williams’ cars, which especially in 1998, looked a little too similar to one particular Italian team.

The 1998 machine, the FW20
The 1998 machine, the FW20.

For four seasons, Williams enjoyed enormous success in what are now the infamous Rothmans liveries. The big change for 1998, apart from the raft of new regulations, was new sponsorship from Winfield. The 1998 livery was a shock to the F1 world, in the fact it was a red Williams. At the same time, however, the livery itself wasn’t ground-breaking. It was a pleasing livery and the design itself wasn’t bad, but something was off for me, perhaps the shade of red, or the cluttered look of some of the logos. After a lacklustre 1998 season by Williams’ standards, more changes were to come for 1999. Two new drivers in Alexander Zanardi and Ralf Schumacher, and despite having the same main sponsors, an all new livery, and what a livery it was!

The livery on the new FW21 featured a brighter shade of red and a lot more white. The red sections were spiced up with what I would call tear designs, tearing from yellow to red on the nose, front of the sidepods and airbox, and red to blue toward the rear axle. Perhaps this is where Toyota got the idea. Along with that, the top half of the car, as if painted from a birds eye view, is in white, cutting sharply along the body lines of the nose, all the way to the rear of the car. This area has a red inset for another Winfield logo in front of the cockpit. Speaking of the Winfield logo, a new one had been designed since the end of the 1998 season, and therefore, the improved version adorned the 1999 car.

The use of the car’s lines, with the red and white placed as it has been, is some of the most natural and aesthetically pleasing livery design of all time. Seeing the red, yellow and blue split by the white along the car’s natural lines pleases me more than it should. Due to the colour placement, every logo, from Veltins to Nortel, looks as though it belongs on the car, without any forcibly coloured areas, a la Total.

Williams 5

It is an almost faultless livery. If anything did disturb the livery, it would be the Brother logo, as it is the only logo on the car that is blue on white, rather than black or red. However, this truly is nit-picking. Hell, Woody Woodpecker doesn’t really bother me on this!

There is plenty of nostalgic value in this for me due to my extensive playing of F1 Challenge, but I don’t think this has overly distorted my opinion of this livery. Unfortunately (for me anyway), Williams was to be sponsored by Compaq in the new millennium, which would be the beginning of a new era and another infamous livery.

The FW21 livery is quite possibly my favourite livery of all time. It isn’t as fondly remembered as its predecessor, nor its successor, and perhaps this is due to the lack of results while the livery adorned the cars, or possibly just its brief lifespan. A true beauty and a shame it didn’t last longer than a single season.

Livery of the Day – Williams FW21

7 thoughts on “Livery of the Day – Williams FW21

  1. LexUS Willner says:

    Very proud to take a look @ this material!
    Thanks a lot cause these 20th and 21st FWs are still very beautiful as for me.
    Good to remember now in 2016 (-;

    Liked by 1 person

  2. […] TheLiveryBlog – After some pleasant emails with Sauber last year, where they explained the process behind the design of their livery and that their team colours are blue and white, I’ve designed a livery using a pleasantly vibrant blue with white the only other colour, assuming no major sponsors are coming on board this year. I’ve kept the design minimal, with just five white lines strategically placed across the car. There is one major white section, on the top of the nose, giving some significant contrast to the abundance of blue on the car and is a subtle design throwback to arguably my favourite all time livery. […]


  3. Zink says:

    FW21 its unique so far, its unusual
    like other williams livery, the “party” colour is not the my favourite but still good looking rather than FW20 livery…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Braam says:

    Wow what a pleasant surprise , I was on the team that worked on this livery for our client Winfield back in the day , and for years it’s been hard to read people slating it as one of the worst ever, obviously we loved it . I’ll tell you this it was the best 6 months of my career and such fun. Thanks for your appreciation.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s