The 2018 F1 season is well underway now, with the guy just below snagging the first two wins of the year. It’s looking up for Ferrari in the fight with Mercedes, but who wins in the livery stakes?
I rejoiced at the news that Santander would not be sponsoring Ferrari in 2018 for one simple reason – there would no longer be a requirement to have tonnes of white on the car. However, for the first time since the Vodafone era, I think I kinda miss it. Plain red has worked very well in the past, notably in 2007 in Raikkonen’s WDC year, but it doesn’t quite hit the same mark in 2018, and it mostly has to do with the shade of red that has been used. While it’s quite nice in the somewhat enhanced image above, it’s a little more obvious below in an image closer to how it would appear to the naked eye, that the red is too flat to look that awesome on its own.
Where the 2007 car was a slightly darker and slightly metallic red, the red used for the last few years just doesn’t excite on its own. Add to this the cluster of large, clashing sponsors on the sidepods and the varying additions of white and black along the side and you can see why it doesn’t come close to hitting the highs of 2007. This was also a great chance to add black as a prominent second colour, but it wasn’t taken.
After what was a refreshing 2017 livery, Force India have exceeded expectations with this cracker. The shade of pink used is more or less the same, but there is now a significant amount of white in the mix, helping to break up the bright pink. The design is also far more interesting, incorporating the white sections and new vibrant pink stripes very well to the shape of the car.
It’s also far more unique than the generic swoops of last year, with some odd choices, most notably the pink on the nose which breaks to white a couple of time, likely for sponsors and the driver number to stand out better. Only thing that is slightly annoying for me is the BWT logo not sitting on a single solid colour on the sidepods or front wing end plates – still attractive, but its the unevenness that irks me. Reinvigorating to see such an against the grain design.
No surprises from Haas, who have whipped out black, white and red for 2018. However, it’s a huge improvement on last year’s yawn inducing colour scheme. The white opens up the livery making it far more pleasing to look at, in comparison to the grey in 2017 which was just drab.
The design itself hasn’t changed significantly and still draws the same pros and cons. The black/white split half way up the sidepod is great and a simple way of keeping the plain colours from being boring. However, the nose is still an area that could be improved as it just doesn’t quite suit the rest of the car, and isn’t so pleasant on its own anyway.
After complete and utter disappointment last year, we can all rejoice after McLaren listened to the people and painted the MCL33 papaya orange. Based on the fondly remembered McLaren Formula 1 and sports cars of the 60s and 70s, and after putting out the feelers with Alonso’s drive in the Indy 500 last year, McLaren have pleased the fans with their colour choice for 2018.
I say it a lot – colour choice is vital. This design is incredibly simple, with the only non orange elements being the rear & front wings, as well as the shark fin. I found out myself how difficult it can be to work with this colour, unable to put any complexity into it without destroying it, so I have full respect for the simplicity. The slightly reflective blue is a nice touch and does work well alongside the orange, which I have to reiterate, looks terrific on the car. If only the halo was blue (or didn’t exist)!
Not much change for Mercedes, who have stuck with their silver and neon blue/turquoise swooping design. However, it is an evolution, with the neon lines far thicker than last year, and requiring less background turquoise fill the car with colour.
The wispy black remains on the engine cover to help the Mercedes logo stand out, but still wish they’d explore an alternative because it just ends up looking a little dirty. It’s certainly a slight improvement overall, but will likely be unable to get excited about a silver Mercedes livery unless significant changes are made, however unlikely that may be.
So year three without change for Red Bull and I’m still OK with this. Only major change is with Aston Martin coming in as a main sponsor, and popping their logos on the rear wing and disrupting the red line in front of the sidepods.
Am I still as in love as I was last year? No, but it’s still fantastic. No complaints, but hopefully we see some sort of evolution next year.
Now THIS is an evolution! Last year’s livery was neither here or there, but they’ve really made some positive changes to finesse the design in 2018. I’m quite partial to a warm yellow, but the cooler shade used this year also works very well, and is a nice change. However, the change with the strongest impact to the car’s good looks is keeping the yellow just to the top of the nose and leaving the sides black. It’s a great effect that I’m a huge fan of.
They’ve also added two nifty black pinstripes from the tip of the nose to the cockpit which looks nice. The line around the edge of and sweeping along the bottom of the sidepods I’m indifferent to, but the added yellow to the front wing is nice. Great overall, especially when viewed front on.
One of the great pieces of news for 2018 was that Alfa Romeo were going to be sponsoring Sauber, who have been on the edge in F1 in terms of performance and sponsorship for a number of years now. What this meant to livery buffs like myself was that there was a strong chance of red on the Sauber in the new year. Our prayers were answered with the unveiling of the livery, which proudly displayed a beautiful ruby or candy apple red on the engine cover. While this is a lovely colour, I’m disappointed it wasn’t extended all across the top of the car, like I’d hoped in my mockup earlier this year. It would have been a great effect to see the red from nose to exhaust, but instead, white is prominent toward the front of the car.
The result, however, is that front on, the car looks suspiciously like the Williams with the navy blue lines on the white. The design here is actually the same as last year, where it was gold on blue, but almost looks like two liveries on the one car as the red is barely visible from front angles. A bit of a missed opportunity given the colours they had to work with, so unfortunately is a downgrade from last year’s very complete livery.
For the first time ever, I’m glad that Toro Rosso have retained their livery. It was stunning last year and it’s still stunning this year. The borderline-purple-in-particular-lighting shade of blue is great, the vibrant red and reflective silver complement it perfectly and the placement of each of the colours is wonderful.
No significant change to note, although the rear wing end plates have a slight update, with the Red Bull Simply Cola logo better fitting the design, where it was plain red last year. I’m satisfied!
As above, but disappointingly in this case, Williams have also retained their livery. Season 5 has already begun for this Martini livery and whilst iconic, could use a refresh of some sort. There have been some changes albeit of minimal impact, the most significant being the increased volume of the black section sweeping along the bottom sides of the car.
Another big one is that there are fewer sponsors present on the car. This could be an alarming trend for the years to come as we’ve seen a sharp drop off in performance for the team, where it seemed they’d brought back their former stability since the new engine rules. Let’s hope their fortunes improve.
Best Looker Award – Toro Rosso
Toro Rosso go back to back. However, I hope they don’t get stuck into old habits and now keep this colour scheme for the next 70 years.
Least Attractive Award – Ferrari
Perhaps this is a little harsh, but I just don’t enjoy so much of that particular shade of red. Some more black would have been fantastic.
Most Likely to be an Ice Cream Flavour – Force India
With so much pink and white on the car, it looks like it would be a tasty flavour. Some sneaky chocolate brown and you’ve have Neapolitan on the grid for the first time ever!
Fan Favourite Award – McLaren
Righting the wrongs of 2017 and the years before, McLaren has certainly pleased the fans this year.
Missed Potential Award – Sauber
Could have been incredible with more of that candy apple red on the car, but alas, there will hopefully be many more years of improvements to come.