1997 has to be one of, if not my favourite season for Formula 1 liveries. Such a great variety and I can’t say I dislike a single one of them. So why would I choose to review the Tyrrell 025 as opposed to the famously unique snake inspired Jordan 197 or the beautiful blue and white Benetton B197? Well, who else would?
The car was driven by Jos Verstappen and Mika Salo but it was slow and terribly unreliable. Salo managed to score two points at the hectic Monaco Grand Prix, but the two of them could only manage to crack the top 10 on three other occasions. Whilst the car certainly performed like a backmarker, it distinctly looked like one too.
This is a prime example of a mainly white car that many would consider boring. I mostly agree, but I do think it has some redeeming features. The thin black and white lines that run from the rear to the nose are the main design. It has a thicker black line bordering the bottom and it is broken up by solid white alongside the cockpit. I actually quite like this part of the livery and I imagine if it had Martini on it, more people would agree with me. The black on top of the cockpit is a neat touch, as is the flash of main design on the front wing support (what an interesting nose section by the way. Haven’t really seen anything like it). The chequerboard pattern on the barge boards was also an interesting design choice, although it didn’t fit with the rest of the livery. Perhaps that’s where HRT got its inspiration…
Unfortunately, there isn’t much else to say about the design. There is a solid black section on top of the sidepods and the rear wing is mainly black, both of which help to break up the monotony. The front wing also had some black during parts of the season, which was an improvement, but some further black would have helped the engine cover.
The difference between a boring livery these days and livery like this is that the teams back then, such as Tyrrell, usually had the benefit of having a few sponsors to fill up some of the empty spaces on the car and no matter how ugly, it’s far easier to make an attractive livery when you have something to work off. PIAA is a very attractive logo in my opinion; its downfall being that it doesn’t bring any colour to the livery. I find that it can be put on almost any livery and look good. Unfortunately, as was also often the case in the 90s, by mid season the car had filled up it’s spaces with a multitude of smaller sponsors of all shapes and colours, the worst offender being Xena: Warrior Princess. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
That said, at its cleanest, it was a little plain but overall, pretty easy on the eye and certainly not offensive. I’m not sure a car like this would be appreciated so much today, but back when the grid was filled with lots of different colours, there was space for a couple of white and black cars.