Round-Up – Formula E 2016-2017 Field

Lots of hype around season 3, with new teams joining including a big manufacturer in Jaguar and the promise of new, faster and better looking cars. Here’s a look into just how well the teams have pulled off their liveries this season, after the opening round in Hong Kong.

DS Virgin Racing

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DS Virgin have hung on to Sam Bird for the new season, whilst making the surprise signing of triple WTCC champion José María López, who will make his Formula E debut at 33.

The livery is more or less the same as last year with purple on the top, chrome silver on the sides, black on the sidepods and red accents on the wing(lets). The most notable change is the actual purple colours they’ve chosen, which apart from being more reflective, is also a more vibrant shade, which really opens up the livery as it looked quite drab last season.

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The biggest change to the physical appearance of the cars this season is the bulkier front wings, which now feature elements almost acting as wheel arches along the top. Virgin have used this space well, adding more purple, which looks great.

I can’t tell if they’ve used a lighter shade of silver to border the purple sections, or if they’ve cleverly placed the normal colour to appear that way with the reflection of the silver, but either way, it too a nice piece of design.

★★★☆

NextEV NIO

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Piquet and Turvey remain at NextEV this season after a quite appalling season 2. However, where Virgin improved its livery, NextEV took a step backward. Whilst this livery also hasn’t changed dramatically, their colour choice went south. The bright cyan is gone and has been replaced by a darker, metallic aqua colour. I don’t despise this new colour, but I definitely feel as though it is inferior to the old one.

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The design itself is still quite attractive, with the thick diagonal stripe on the side of the cockpit, which then goes over the cockpit and engulfing most of the top of the car. There’s a new design on the rear, with some thin coloured lines in the shape of forward arrows, much like their logo. Not a bad design, but with other yellow/red accents and green/red inside the roll hoop, perhaps there are a few too many colours on the car.

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These lines are only noticeable from certain angles or on closer inspection, so from the TV cameras, it’s still a pretty uniform livery. Not too bad overall, but certainly a downgrade.

★★★

Venturi Formula E Team

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Maro Engel comes in to replace Mike Conway at Venturi for Season 3, with Jacques Villeneuve nowhere to be seen! The livery has been changed this season, with the matte black gone in favour of classic glossy black. As I mentioned in my launch post, it does give me FC Basel vibes, but is in itself a very unique livery.

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The secondary colours here are blue and red and are used evenly. The main design is on the sidepod, where the two colours are placed side by side in an interesting fashion. I find my self describing this as a 90 degree design, with red and blue sections folding over the top and side of the sidepods, going half way down each side. The ends of these sections are squared off, giving it a look I’ve never seen before on a racing car.

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The rest of the car is mostly black, with a red section in front of the cockpit and blue on the tip of the nose and front wing. In this case odd and different work in Venturi’s favour and I approve of this livery!

★★★★

Faraday Future Dragon Racing

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Dragon have kept the same two drivers for season 3, but have a new partner in Faraday Future, and have created a lot of buzz with their exciting new livery. The striking new design features the Faraday logo in an increasing size from front to back, creating a colour gradient which fades from black to white.

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However, the fun doesn’t stop there. The direction of the gradient is the opposite on each car! This means Duval’s car is mainly white, whilst d’Ambrosio’s car is mainly black. While at first it seems like a great way to differentiate between the drivers, it can end up being a little more confusing. I recall back to when Ford Performance Racing tried this with Winterbottom and Davison and whilst many thought it was a good idea at first, it personally made things even more confusing on the track. Hopefully it’s a little more distinguishable in this front to back colour orientation, as opposed to side to side on the Falcons.

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That aside, the design itself is fantastic. Great and subtle use of the Faraday Future logo, despite it being plastered all over the car, and a really pleasant use of texture which can often be unpleasant when used over an entire car. All of this is wonderful, but the third colour is pivotal to the livery looking complete. The use of burnt orange on the roll hoop, mirrors, nose and front wing add a needed touch of colour, and a classy one at that. It’s a great car to look at from any angle, although if I had to choose, I’d have to say I prefer d’Ambrosio’s mainly black livery.

★★★★★

Renault e.Dams

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No changes at Renault for season 3 in terms of drivers, but the livery on the other hand is completely new. I say it every time, but colour is the most important part of a livery and Renault have absolutely NAILED it with this blue. This bright and open shade of blue is stunning. A plain livery in this colour would have been just fine, but the design takes things to another level of beauty.

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Black wings often make cars look great and these matte black wings are no exception. They add a lovely contrast, and along with the perfectly placed yellow stripes, add some extra colour and necessary extra design elements to a simple livery. There’s nothing wrong with this livery, but I do feel teams should be looking past the tacky circuit board electronic futuristic designs, like on the sidepods and engine cover of the Renault.

★★★★☆

I’ve since been informed that it’s not at all a circuit board design, but in fact a design matching the “honeycomb” on the rear of the Renault F1 car this year. Thanks for alerting me to this guys!

ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport

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ABT too have retained both drivers for the new season, but have kept their very distinctive colours. I instantly prefer this year’s design as their don’t appear to be any weird airbrushed sections. The colour combination I’m sure is still a little jarring for some, but I can’t help but find some enjoyment in seeing red, green and yellow alongside each other. The design itself if very nice, especially the green sidepod section which is split sharply from the red, as well as the yellow on the top front wing element.

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In fact the yellow elements are quite well placed all over the car, although I’d have preferred to see it thicker on the nose, closer to the edge and having less of a point at the tip.

From what I can tell, all the colours are split by thin silver lines, which I feel may be helping separate the colours a bit better than if they were connected directly. The only thing I’m really confused about is the jumbled lettering on the side of the car and roll hoop. Just a strange design choice which I don’t feel looks very nice and alternatives such as simple flat colours, or perhaps pinstripes, would have worked a lot better.

★★★★

Mahindra Racing Formula E Team

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Ladies and gentlemen, this is why you put the call out to the fans. You get a vast range of lovely designs to choose from, and you may even pick something as lovely as this! One lucky fan had their livery chosen to be used on the Mahindra cars this season and it looks great.

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Lots of red and white stripes on this one, which follow the lines of the car beautifully, something that hasn’t been attempted much with these somewhat blocky Formula E cars. It’s all uniform too and black wings, as I mentioned earlier, will work with anything.

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However, the longer I look at it, and the more I look back at the season 2 livery, the more design similarities I see. The front and rear wing end plates are identical, the front cockpit/nose design is almost the same but with different colours (and slightly different shaping), the roll-hoop is the same…either the fan livery designer was very unoriginal or perhaps the winning design wasn’t by a fan at all! #conspiracy! Either way, it does leave me feeling as though I was duped, which is a shame because it really is a nice looking livery, and one that looked so fresh when I first saw it. Hmm.

★★★

Panasonic Jaguar Racing

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Everybody had high hopes for this livery. Jaguar was back in single seaters and what were they most recently known for in open wheel racing? British racing green! The hype was real. And then they launched their car. Unfortunately, what we got was grey, with a gimmicky circuit board electronic design. Perhaps I’m becoming more cynical the further I go into this round-up, but I’m really disappointed by this.

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As mentioned above, it’s a base colour of charcoal grey, with light blue thin parallel lines going around the car, notably from the rear to the roll hoop and from the cockpit, wrapping around the nose, in a circuit board fashion.

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I can’t blame Jaguar for the hype, but I can blame them for a somewhat generic design and  pinching NextEV’s colours.

★☆

Techeetah

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The new Chinese team have a great scalp in Jean-Éric Vergne, who they successfully attracted to move from DS Virgin, and have brought in Ma Qinghua, the experienced, albeit mostly unsuccessful Chinese driver who drove in four races of Team Aguri last season. Lotus Techeetah have gone for black and gold for their first livery. It is of course very reminiscent of Lotus, but not the beautiful JPS machines of the 70s and 80s, rather the underwhelming imitations of the last few years in F1. The spiked design created with the gold and red really do cast my mind back to the Lotus’ of 2014 and 2015, and it’s a shame because I never found those liveries to be very attractive.

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That said, they’ve tried something new here, with both matte and glossy black creating a subtle black on black design which is difficult to make out from a distance (on further inspection it may just be glossy grey). The gold is reflective which is at least some point of difference and is mostly well placed, especially on the front wing and in front of the rear wheels. However, whilst it looks quite nice from the front, the side view is rather uninspiring. The logos also put me off a little bit too, The Peninsula logo especially looks a little too high and the odd one out in white. There are some intricacies, but certainly room for improvement here.

MS Amlin Andretti

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Here’s a nice way to end the round-up! Amlin Andretti looks brilliant this season. Robin Frijns and António Félix da Costa are driving white and blue cars in 2016-17, as opposed to the livery copied over from Team Aguri the season before. The white is mainly allocated to the sides, whilst the reflective blue features on the engine cover, cockpit, nose and wing end plates, and looks far better split evenly with the white as opposed to covering the entire car.

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The white and blue are split perfectly by red/purple ribbons, which edge sharply onto the white but fade slowly into the blue. The use of the car’s lines is perfect here, especially along the nose and cockpit, making it exceptionally visually pleasing in my eyes.

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The red/purple sections curve along the car in varying widths which creates the interesting ribbon effect. All the logos fit the car’s colour scheme, creating a wonderfully uniform design and an overall great design. Great effort from these guys.

★★★★★

A few hits and a few misses for me this season and I’m eagerly anticipating the changes that will be coming. On to round 2!

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Round-Up – Formula E 2016-2017 Field

3 thoughts on “Round-Up – Formula E 2016-2017 Field

  1. Felt you were a bit harsh on Mahindra and Techeetah, but you gave some solid reasoning. I do like the fact that Mahindra decided to make the front wing black rather than white as it fits so much better with the rear wing as adds a bit more contrast with the new bridge front wing. (Which is mainly white) The others you were mainly spot on with; I love the Jag team but I loathe their uninspired livery. Andretti and Dragon were by far the best liveries though; the MS Amlin Andretti is even much better on the new car than the season 2 one at Battersea. (which wasn’t shabby either) I thought once you knew which was which the FF Dragon’s were easy to tell apart (Black= D’Ambrosio, White= Duval) But it was confusing as the white one was the one they launched with and I initially assumed that D’Ambrosio as lead driver would use the white livery. But that doesn’t matter, it’s great either way.

    The ‘circuit board’ on the e.Dams I think is there to make sure the livery matches up as the blue version of Renault’s F1 livery. (You’ll notice on that car’s engine cover there is an almost identical pattern)

    And finally the wording on the green sidepods and airbox on the Abt car is from title sponsor Schaeffler who supply the car’s electric motors. I agree that it doesn’t quite work, they’re going for the “Sauber Petronas effect” (Seen on the late 90’s/early 2000’s Saubers where the team’s name is embedded into the dark blue chrome) but a bit too jarringly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah I couldn’t get past the past the fact that with Mahindra, it was made to look brand new when it’s so similar to last year’s livery. Perhaps that’s more of a reflection of me than them.
      Good point about Renault, but I really didn’t like Techeetah very much.
      You’re right about ABT, they just didn’t pull it off very well!

      Liked by 1 person

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