Formula 1 is finally back, and it looks like the Mercedes stranglehold is over…at least for the time being. A terrific win for Vettel, but at the same time, a lot of our fears have been realised with very few overtakes, and following closely proving very difficult.
Racing aside, how lucky are we in terms of liveries this year? Easily the most colourful grid in 15 years and after a few years of dull, dark grids, I couldn’t be happier.
After the big white engine cover brought little success in 2016, it has been swiftly relegated to the shark fin this year. A bit of a shame if you ask me, as it was a nice change from the solid red of recent years, but it’s good to see that they’ve at least kept it in a smaller form. The tricolore design on this white section is a great touch.
The red remains standard and I’m disappointed not to see a more exciting shade, but it does look nice in real life. The logo placement is looking increasingly cluttered, especially on the sidepod. While the Ferrari sidepod has always been a billboard for various logos, it hasn’t often looked this messy. The Ray Ban, UPS and Shell logos just don’t blend very well. Elsewhere on the livery there’s a pinstripe spike jutting out of the cockpit which would look better solid, or perhaps as a variation of the tricolore. A typically above average Ferrari livery.
Who in their right mind would have predicted a pink car on the grid this year? The beauty of this is two fold; we wave goodbye the ugliest livery on the grid and in its place is a fresh, exciting and unique sight. Pink is one of the most uncommon colours in F1, seen on a car on just a few occasions and never as a majority colour, so it’s so refreshing to see it in 2017.
On the other side of the coin, the design has remained largely the same. However, this just exemplifies how important colour choice is on a livery. Whilst the black and silver was universally regarded as ugly, the pink in its place makes the design more than acceptable.
What was the orange line has now been split into two lines, with a lovely dark pink contrasting well against the light pink, but the silver accompanying it gets a little lost and would have looked at least a little better if it were black, matching the rest of the livery and logos a lot better. The added lines on the shark fin are welcome, as it was a very empty section on the launch livery.
The BWT logo is the only blue on the car, and while it would have matched the livery a lot better if it were black, you can understand the sponsor limitations. The black around the sidepod openings look fantastic, as do the wings, which further prove to me that black would have been a better option than silver elsewhere on the car.
Very few teams will receive a lower rating than last year, but Haas is probably the worst offender. They launched last year with a questionable silver, before updating with a lovely mostly white livery. This year they’ve gone with Hispania grey as the majority colour, which is a baffling decision to me. The car already looked great last year, which makes me wonder why they’ve thought a change was required in the first place. This grey is a generally unattractive colour, especially in Motorsport against the tarmac background.
The design itself is largely unchanged, with the red on the side of the nose dragged a little further back, as well as the rear wing end plates being split between red and black, and the shark fin having a very interesting WEC looking design. I’m surprised the latter element wasn’t spread to other areas of the car, namely the wings, as it could have added some life to an otherwise incredibly dull livery.
Once again, very few sponsors on the car, but luckily the Haas logo is terrific and adds some good looks to the sidepods and rear wing. Overall, this is a super dull livery, looking as though the designers took advice from Ron Dennis. It’s not ugly, but definitely boring.
After weeks of hype, McLaren unveiled a largely orange car to the world in February and have kept with it for the first round in Melbourne. While part of me is very excited to see a brightly coloured McLaren on the grid after a few years of dim cars, it has left me wanting more.
The orange itself is rather strong, whereas I would have much preferred to see a slightly lighter, Papaya orange. That said, McLaren may have gone with an evolution rather than a throwback, so fair play to them. The shade of orange does change slightly depending on lighting, but looks best when it looks lighter.
In terms of design, what we’ve got is a classic generic look, like a standard choice from a video game, which doesn’t do the historic colour justice. This is exaggerated in my eyes by the white outline, which it could do without, or at least in a different form. It’s a shame that they couldn’t put something more involved on the car.
However, it’s not to say there shouldn’t be any white on the car, as the white section along the sidepod looks fantastic. My final gripe with this livery is the orange that is broken in up front of the cockpit, where it would have looked just fine as a continuous section all the way along the top.
After all the exciting change above, Mercedes is still Mercedes. The usual silver is this time accompanied by some interesting looking neon lines, in varying shades of Petronas turquoise along the sidepods and wings.
They are sticking with the airbrushed black on the engine cover and airbox which I’ve never really liked. It’s an overall standard livery, which we’ve grown accustomed, if not indifferent to.
Red Bull have seen little change from 2016 and everyone should be more than OK with this. It’s still a stunning livery and if anything, has had some minor improvements made for the new season. A big reason for this is Mobil 1 replacing Total as oil supplier, meaning the wing end plates are now navy, and this has allowed a thin red line to now extend onto the rear wing. This leads to a far cleaner look overall and takes it that one step further.
Only questionable thing is the Bull not extending onto the shark fin, which would be the logical thing to do, but this doesn’t take away from the livery.
Renault have made some considerable changes this season, with the car being split just about 50/50 between yellow and black. This split is made right at the start of the sidepods, with just one tail of yellow running all the way toward the rear from this point, on both sides. This would work a lot better if the end of the yellow wasn’t so abrupt, and there was a slightly more gradual introduction of the black. Instead it leaves the yellow stripes looking a little out of place, rather than totally integrated. The yellow along the top of the shark fin works a lot better. Some black stripes on the nose also could have gone a long way to complete the livery here, but I wouldn’t put the house on it.
There is definitely a Mild Seven feel to this livery, and with some black on the top of the nose, it’s a lot more similar than I had initially thought. It’s a decent livery in its own right, but not enough to make it better than last year’s simpler design. Colour choice keeps it above average for me.
Sauber have been in the same boat as many these last few years; having seemingly endless options but producing below par liveries. To everyone’s surprise, they’ve bucked the trend this year and created a real stunner.
With Banco do Brasil ditching Felipe Nasr and ending his hopes of a drive, we thought a dull blue and white livery was on the cars. Instead, Sauber have chosen a beautiful deep metallic blue to adorn the car, matched with a clean white along the side of the nose and sidepods. It’s a nice crisp contrast between the two, although the gap in the white for the driver numbers is a little odd.
Another surprise was the choice of gold as a third colour, introduced to celebrate their 25th season in Formula 1. Whilst I’d have preferred a slightly stronger or yellow-er gold for lack of a better word, it matches the livery very well and adds a bit of spice to complete the look. The pinstripe placement of the gold actually works on this occasion and just looks really nice.
It’s another year with few sponsors on the car, but at least this season the cardoesn’t look too empty.
Now I’ve spoken about surprises throughout this post, but none compare to this. I’ve been begging Toro Rosso to change their livery for years, but my hopes slowly waned until there was none at all. There were whispers of a colour change at the start of the year, but not enough to get me believing. Then they pop up with this.
It’s not a simple colour change, but a total overhaul of the tired, dusty Toro Rosso design entirely. In comes a new, beautiful blueberry main colour which shimmers purple in the sunlight, accompanied by a vibrant red and incredible chrome silver. All the colours gel superbly with each other and stand out so well in their own right.
Everything that I hated about the old livery is history. The bull graphic past its use by date – gone. The boring, dull gold – gone. The generic, half hearted designs – gone. Replacing this is a super simple design; one thick red line along the side, with a bull on the engine cover matching the new edition cans and red wing end plates I can now enjoy.
Everything on this car works so well and is compounded by the sheer surprise and joy I felt upon seeing they’d actually made a change. If I could give more stars, I would. You know what, I enjoyed this so much they can have gold stars. Oh, and it looks fantastic in real life too.
It’s hard to follow that up. Williams are the complete opposite, having stuck with the same livery for another year. We’ve already spoken about this, they need to mix it up, hopefully we get some change next year.
The only real difference this year is the Martini stripes extending and spreading out on the shark fin. Like I’ve said before it still looks good but is now dangerously close to becoming stale.
What a grid we have for 2017. So many colours but more importantly, so many good looking liveries. The happiest I’ve been going into round 1 in a number of years. Let’s hope the championship fight stays close and the racing gets better and better.
Best Looker Award – Toro Rosso
Both of the Red Bull teams look great this year, but Toro Rosso is simply beautiful and my pick of the 2017 grid.
Least Attractive Award – Haas
Nothing particularly offensive this season, but Haas is just dull and boring, which is disappointing considering what they had last season.
Biggest Nagger Award – McLaren
A potential beauty here, but is let down by a generic design.
Is This Real Life? Award – Toro Rosso
A day I thought would never come. They’ve made significant changes and pulled them off spectacularly.
Potential Barbie Sponsorship Award – Force India
Not just pink, but baby pink! I wonder if Mattel would be interested in a sponsorship deal?