Red, white and black? These are, without question, the most commonly used colours in Formula 1. No less than five teams used at least two of these as their main colours in the 2008 season alone. However, one of those teams created a livery that used those colours better than the rest. Super Aguri.
Things looked grim from the off for Super Aguri. Their debut season was run in a four year old 2002 Arrows chassis, made to fit the latest regulations. They were predictably uncompetitive, laughable at times, with a large portion of the blame rightly attributed to the drivers that weren’t Sato. Their second season was miles better, bringing in a more capable driver in Davidson and scoring points twice, including Sato’s memorable 6th place in Canada. Their third season, unfortunately, was to be their last. However, their 2008 livery was so good that despite only appearing in five races, lives long in the memory for many F1 fans.
This livery is just perfectly matched to the shape of this car. With white being the main colour, large sections of red wrap around the nose, going from sidepod to sidepod, as well as the top of the engine cover, covering the airbox. Both of these sections are thinly bordered with black. This is the main design on the car and it looks fantastic, and with no real main sponsor, every logo is evenly represented and displayed in a way that allows the car to remain looking lovely.
The big difference on the 2008 livery was the big black section on the nose and cockpit. This really set it apart from the other red and white cars in the field that year. It made the car look a lot more threatening and adds an extra something that was missing the year before, although that too was already a great livery. Upon looking at this livery in further detail, I’ve noticed how the top black and red sections also sweep behind the cockpit and along the top of the sidepod, creating a lovely red, black and white design beside the cockpit. The black opens up to cover a large portion of the rear near the axle.
My biggest gripe with this era of cars was the excessive number of winglets all over the pace, making them look quite messy. That said, Super Aguri did a great job to keep them all looking good as possible. The outside of the winglets, including the front and rear wings, are red. The insides of the winglets are white with the insides of the wing endplates being black. It’s a great combination of uniformity on the outside and contrast on the inside.
It’s a shame we didn’t see more of this livery and this team. A great design that will admired for many years to come.