Round-Up – 2019 Formula 1 Field

After a winter that has seen more change than I can ever remember in my time watching Formula 1, we’re finally back in business. The first race has been run and it was a relieved Valtteri Bottas who crossed the line first in Melbourne. Unfortunately it’s looking like more of the same in terms of performance and success, but while it may be the same guys winning for another year, at least the grid has seen some interesting changes to its liveries.

Alfa Romeo Racing

In both sad and uplifting news, Alfa Romeo is officially back in the sport for the first time since 1985, but has taken the place of much loved Sauber. However, I’m glad to see that the team should, with solid financial backing, work its way out of the doldrums and into some upper midfield battles. I’m also glad that Alfa has kept some of the Sauber roots, both with the ‘Sauber Engineering’ logo in front of the rear wheel, and with the similar blue and white design used last year.

The overall theme, however, has well and truly shifted to Alfa, expanding on the beautiful metallic red used in 2018. More red is what I wanted last year and it’s what we’ve got. They’ve brought the red forward to cover the cockpit and halo, and have also used a smoother, prettier curve along the sidepod. The main logo on the engine cover has also had a bit more thought put into it, and looks much better larger and cut off. Every aspect of the livery is more refined and improved. Great job Alfa Romeo.

★★★★☆

Ferrari Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow

Ferrari have gone with as drastic a change as ever this year, firstly in hiring a very young, promising driver in Charles Leclerc who had a breakout 2018. Secondly, they’ve removed almost all white from the car and have followed Red Bull’s lead with a matte livery. Personally, I’m struggling to associate the livery with Ferrari, but it will come with time. It’s such a modern effort when we’ve always thought of Ferrari as an old school, conservative team.

What I’m a fan of is having black as a true second colour, as opposed to white. It’s still used sparingly, along the bottom of the car, the halo and some flashes on the wing end plates, but mainly on the very rear of the car, helping to contrast the white driver number exceptionally well. Whether it’s the lack of white, that black section being slightly more distracting, or the matte paint, the billboard of a sidepod is not as offensive this year.

Mission Winnow controversy aside, would the livery look better in glossy paint? Possibly. Would that help it look better from all angles? Yes – in especially sunny angles, the red does appear washed out. However, I’m excited to see this livery under lights. Bring on Bahrain.

★★★★

Haas Rich Energy Haas F1 Team

There was quite a bit of pessimism around the validity of Rich Energy and their sponsorship of the Haas F1 Team, but so far we’ve gone at least winter testing and round 1 with their logos on the car. I was initially super disappointed to see a largely generic, uninspired livery turn up to Barcelona testing, but am heartened to see they’ve put some thought and creativity to good use come Melbourne, whether that was inspired or not. Probably not.

The car is mainly black, but for the gold lines on the front and larger section on the engine cover fin. I had the same idea myself pre-season, so suffice to say, I love the use of the black antlers on the gold background. However, whilst necessary from a marketing perspective, the white Haas logos create some disharmony on the car.

Whether it’s the shade of gold to blame (which should perhaps be lighter, but the reflective nature of it look nice above) or another aspect of the livery, it and the white don’t really get along well enough in my opinion. A two tone effort of black and hold only would have looked great. It’s a livery with fantastic potential, which I’m sure they’ll build on either throughout the season or in 2020, should Rich Energy still be around!

★★★

McLaren F1 Team

It has been a double driver change for McLaren with Sainz and youngster Norris in for 2019. The ethos of the livery has thankfully remained, while some clever additions have been made to the design. The papaya orange remains in all its beauty, with the slightly metallic blue encroaching ever so slightly on it’s territory, creeping up the engine cover in a quirky, almost tessellating triangular pattern.

They’ve also cheekily increased the amount of black on the car, in a deceivingly large portion along the bottom of the car. I love the look of this section, especially the old school detailing of the technical sponsors along it. The halo is still black, but given the presence of black has been upped across the board, it makes a whole lot more sense this time around. The half black, half blue rear wing end plate is an attractive touch. It’s improved in all aspects. Props to the McLaren livery designers, although I wish they hadn’t caved to having red on the back of the rear wing for Huski.

★★★★★

Mercedes Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport

They’ve gone and done it, Mercedes removed that patch of smokey black below the airbox, so I’m already happy. It’s become redundant seeing as they’ve removed the large Mercedes logo on the engine cover, and instead gone with a repeating pattern of silver arrows, on top of a fading black to silver. It’s subtle from a distance, but makes a strong point from up close.

The turquoise section of the car follows the same shape as last year, but is a far simpler, cleaner rendition – just the one line from nose to rear. It looks like a smooth flow of energy along the car and am happy they’ve gone with this design. Another element I like is painting the halo black just on the underside. It’s been underutilised to this point but am glad a couple of the teams are taking the halo further in terms of livery. One last thing that I find odd is having the Petronas logo in black. It would certainly stand out more in white with a black border.

★★★★

Racing PointSportPesa Racing Point F1 Team

We weren’t quite sure what to expect from Racing Point after their transition from Force India. The largely unfancied Lance Stroll has already proved some doubters wrong by scoring a couple of points when his teammate Perez couldn’t manage any. The cars have also remained BWT pink, and thanks to the new ownership have actually added some significant sponsors, most notably SportPesa. This has boosted the amount of blue on the car, and made it a deeper shade, which suits the pink better.

Aside from the big blue section on the engine cover, the remainder of the design has stayed largely the same. That said, the deep pink and silver lines have also been brought forward due to the aforementioned change, now pleasantly connecting to the lines on the nose and finishing on the front of the sidepod. My only question is whether silver is needed at all, although it doesn’t take away any style points. I also have to point out the similar thinking to the halo design as Mercedes – looks just as good with a light colour on the underside here, as dark does for Merc. Side note, I wish Stroll had kept his blue helmet. It would have contrasted the pink and complemented the blue on the car perfectly.

★★★★★

Red Bull Aston Martin Red Bull Racing

Gasly will have a tough time to replace Ricciardo and match Verstappen in 2019, and after a disastrous round 1, he has a lot to prove. On the livery side of things, it’s the fourth year for this design and it is virtually unchanged from last year, bar a couple of logos, such as Honda at the rear. It’s still nice, but would have liked to have seen some more design variation.

With Ferrari now encroaching on Red Bull’s point of difference in matte paint, I wonder if this will spur some changes to design philosophy in 2020, or whether they’ll wait it out until the bigger set of rule changes in 2021.

★★★★

Renault F1 Team

Renault have brought in Aussie favourite Ricciardo for 2019, but have stuck with their design for a second year, only making a couple of improvements rather than another redesign like they had done the last three years. The most obvious and one I’m happiest about is the removal of the yellow around the edge of the sidepod entry.

Another change is the front halo support being half yellow where it was all black last year. Not sure what the thinking was for this, perhaps to lessen the appearance of a black beam jutting out, but it isn’t bad. The pinstripes over the car are still good and similarly, there’s a really nice touch with the very front facing edge of the rear wing end plate being painted in yellow.

★★★★☆

Toro Rosso Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda

The Red Bull junior program is really stretched at the moment, so much so that they’ve re-enlisted the unfortunately maligned Daniil Kvyat alongside debutante Alexander Albon. Toro Rosso has had my top livery pick for the last couple of years, partially due to the relief of ridding the grid of their previous boring efforts, but also because it just looks really good. The shades of blue and red are beautiful and match perfectly, and are complemented just as well by the metallic silver. However, the longer a livery exists, the more time we have to pick flaws.

It’s due to the shape of the sidepods, but the Red Bull logo appears more and more squished every year, tapering off from huge to tiny in dramatic fashion, far more so than the Red Bull. They really need to take it easy here – just because the real estate exists, it doesn’t mean you have to use it. Less would be more in this case. It also looks like they’ll be promoting their organics range on the inside of the rear wing end plates, although that really doesn’t receive much visibility. A neat touch regardless.

Williams ROKiT Williams Racing

Everyone was aboard the Kubica train and nobody is more glad than me to see him back in action, alongside youngster George Russell. However, the car looks to sadly be the slowest by far. At least they’ve given us something interesting to look at. My initial thoughts are who’s child did they get to play with a gradient tool in Photoshop? The Orlen and Rexona logos look terrible on the blue they’ve used, like they’ve used the screen tool to make them a little harder to read.

The nose is also a bit strange, and perhaps it’s a camera angle trick, but the gradient at the tip just never quite seems to sit directly in the centre of the nose which is annoying to say the least. However, it has grown on me since testing. The choice of blue and white is a new take on classic Williams colours, and the black along the side of the car helps to even out the ratio of blue and white. If blue had gone all the way to the bottom, it may have been overpowering. The use of gradient was an odd choice in my opinion, as were a couple of the other design decisions, but I can’t get myself to dislike this livery.

★★★☆

Bonus Awards

Best Looker Award – McLaren and Racing Point

Two completely different design philosophies, but both fantastic liveries in their own right. They’ve dethroned Toro Rosso and I’m happy that they have!

Least Attractive Award – Haas

I have to say that we’re lucky to see an abundance of beautiful liveries on the grid this year. I don’t any of them are ugly by any means, but Haas did receive my lowest rating. So much potential in the colours and design, especially with the antler logo to work with, so hoping for even better things in the future.

Breaking Tradition Award – Ferrari

It kinda just FEELS wrong that Ferrari is in matte, doesn’t it? I’m not sure Mr. Enzo would be spinning in his grave by any means, but they have taken a big step, and it does look really different. Keen to see it under the floodlights in Bahrain.

Best 90s Feel – McLaren

This car isn’t quite retro, but some of the design elements to irk back to the 90s. The listing of the tech sponsors along the side certainly gives off that vibe, and the triangular pattern could well have been taken from a textbook (or a mid 90s Footwork Formula 1 car). I think we’re really lucky to have such an attractive grid overall.

I think we’re really lucky to have such an attractive grid overall. Personally I’ve rated almost all the cars over 4 stars our of 5, so I’m enjoying this era as much as I can. Blink and we might be back to 6 grey teams and only Ferrari with some colour! Have your say on the people’s favourite below..

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Round-Up – 2019 Formula 1 Field

Round-Up – 2019 Supercars Field

Round one is done and dusted, but it’s going to take some time to get used to some of the driver and sponsor changes for 2019. Add in the new Mustang, and it’s a few new things to wrap your head around. Let’s take a look at the best and the worst of this year’s grid.

23Red Racing Milwaukee Racing

Milwaukee Racing 2

After a reasonable first season as a standalone organisation, Milwaukee have moved under the Tickford banner, and seem to have reaped the rewards so far with some solid top ten running for Davison in Adelaide. In terms of livery, the colours haven’t changed, but the overall design is neater.

Milwaukee Racing 1

The edgy angled lines are jarring against the curvy, flowing bodywork of the Mustang, especially over the rear wheel, but isn’t necessarily a bad look. However, the whole livery is just a little underwhelming, and can’t find an aspect about it that I love, not any more so than last year.

★★★

Brad Jones Racing Freightliner Racing

Freightliner Racing 1

Freightliner Racing have inverted their main colours, with black and yellow just about swapping places for 2019. Annoyingly, in my eyes, they’ve stuck with almost the same design on the side of the car. I don’t want to dwell on this for another year, but I really wish they’d make some lines that fit the Freightliner logo better, and didn’t look like the logo was slapped on after the fact.

Freightliner Racing 2

That said, black and yellow are foolproof colours, and they still looks nice here. I can’t say the same for the silver, but must be used to tie in the main sponsor. In fact, one of the few teams where silver wheels would have made sense, decided to go with black ones – not that they don’t look great in black. Overall, it’s neither here nor there in terms of improvement, so receives the same rating as last year.

★★☆

Brad Jones Racing National Pharmacies

Brad Jones Racing Percat 2

Nick Percat’s #8 machine appears as though it will have different sponsors race by race again this year, and first cab off the rank is National Pharmacies. These blue and teal colours are some that were pretty unfamiliar to Motorsport, up until Ruoff brought them to Indycar. Mixed with a good chunk of white, they work really well together.

Brad Jones Racing Percat 1

The design is simple, and a racing staple, with the two colours in thick parallel lines running nearly from bumper to bumper. The logo is a perfect size and shape for this design. Some complexity is added at the rear wheel with two white lines added, but feel it may have looked nicer with just the one on the rear door, as it completes the bottom blue section, whilst the other is doesn’t suit so well. Let’s see what’s up next for #8.

★★★☆

Charlie Schwerkolt Racing IRWIN Racing

Irwin Racing 3

I’m sad to see the back of what was a superb couple of years this car had in Preston Hire colours, but glad to see that they’ve produced something just as good in 2019. Irwin have joined Frosty at Charlie Schwerkolt Racing, and have put a big fat logo on the side of the car. Along with that comes a really pleasing design and combo of blue and yellow.

irwin-racing-2.jpg

The logo and main lines are angled nicely, with the solid yellow sections featuring yellow pinstripes on their borders. These lines are fragmented along the sides, ensuring it isn’t just another plain livery. There are also a couple of white sections – I’m not sure a third colour is necessary in this instance, but they’ve done well to fit in what are likely a sponsor requirement. One irk, however, is the Toyota logo that’s half on the bonnet, half on the grille. I get they’re making the most of the space that’s available, but an OCD I didn’t know I had is definitely flaring up looking at it.

★★★★☆

DJR Team Penske Shell V-Power Racing Team

Shell 1

The Shell V-Power livery is probably the one most affected by the move to the Mustang. They’ve tried to mould the existing livery as best they can into the shape of the new car, which itself has been transformed into a really awkward shape to fit the requirements. What was a gradual slope of the yellow line over the front wheel arch is now a steep drop off, which I’m not a fan of, whether or not its intent is to deceive the viewer of the bonnet’s droop.

Shell 2

Apart from that, there aren’t any significant changes, although the shade of red looks to be deeper, which is a big improvement and just about makes up for the aforementioned alteration. Although it’s still a nice livery overall, I hope for a new livery on these cars next year.

★★★☆

Erebus Motorsport Penrite Racing

Penrite 1

Penrite are back for another year, and back in gloss paint! They’ve also gone for some traditional racing stripes, in this instance thick red, with hyper reflective gold pinstripes. They’re simple, but effective, and are also included on either side of the bonnet and roof.

Penrite 2

My main issue is with the Penrite logo. The stylised gold looks dated, and would look a lot neater and more modern in a flat gold colour. Further to this, it clashes with the rest of the gold on the car; it may stand out more, but at the expense of non-uniformity. Still a looker and improvement, especially from front on. Super aggressive.

★★★★☆

Garry Rogers Motorsport Boost Mobile Racing

Boost Mobile GRM 2

It’s a new look GRM. Out with Tander and Wilson, in with Stanaway and Boost Mobile. It’s a sleek black and orange design, understandably very similar to last year’s WAU livery. There’s a bit more silver to this one which is slightly to it’s detriment, as orange worked well to contrast the black in larger sections last year.

Boost Mobile GRM 1

There’s a bit of a Coca Cola vibe at the bottom of the side, and wish the top lines were split as evenly between the two colours as the bottom, but that’s probably just nitpicking. The deeper I look into it the less I like it (look at the chopped off rear wing number…), so I’ll keep it a distance. Looks lovely from there.

★★★★☆

Kelly Racing Castrol Racing

Kelly Racing Kelly 1

The Kelly Racing liveries seem to have minor changes year on year, but the overall ethos is consistent – sharp, jagged edges with flashes of the third colour. It’s a decent look, but gives the team an identity.

Kelly Racing Kelly 2

Therefore, there’s not a whole heap to comment on as it’s like they’re putting in values and pressing randomise on a livery generator, apart from the fact that BP Ultimate lime green is hideously jarring against the Castrol green. We’ve seen a similar issue with Castrol in the past, especially on the FPR/Prodrive blue liveries, but here it’s just gross. Derails the livery.

★★

Kelly Racing Plus Fitness Racing

Kelly Racing Heimgartner 1

As above, it’s the same design, but without the BP Ultimate problem. I thought it looked better with more blue and more orange last season, and the layout was also stronger in 2018.

Kelly Racing Heimgartner 2

I also like the slightly metallic and darker blue used last year. It’s worse in almost every way, but not significantly so, and certainly isn’t ugly, just closer to middle of the road.

★★★

Kelly Racing RABBLE.club Racing

Rabble Club 2

Garry Jacobsen has entered the championship this year, sadly in place of Michael Caruso, who has signed for Tickford for the enduros. Joining Garry on the #3 car is RABBLE.club, which I finally took the time to research. Turns out it’s a ‘digital health & wellness club’, with a fairly shoddy website featuring a poorly designed tiled background, and a promo video of their Falcon livery. All this aside, they’ve made a fairly good effort of painting the Altima.

Rabble Club 1

It looks a lot more like last year’s Nissan design, with the large white portion on the side. The jagged edges look a lot better in thicker sections here compared to the other two liveries above. The reflective blue looks great alongside the white and black, and is overall a far more cohesive livery than the other Altimas.

★★★★

Kelly Racing Team Harvey Norman

Kelly Racing Simona 2

Simona looks set for another season of mediocrity (if that) in the Team Harvey Norman entry. It’s an interesting take on the black, white and red livery, which on this occasion has limited any overlapping of the jagged sections. Each section is separated by black which is nice to see, with some lovely detailing included too, such as the silver lines within the main white section.

Kelly Racing Simona 1

The Harvey Norman logo also looks much better as black on white. The design overall has made a much better attempt to pay attention to the shape of the car, compared to other version that seems slapped on without much care. One little thing that bothers me is the white section sharply dropping off after the mirror. Mainintaing the same angle toward the front bumper would have had a better effect.

★★★

Matt Stone Racing Unit

Matt Stone Racing 2

Ironically, the new MSR team and livery remind me very much of Team Penske. It’s rare to see, but props to the team for having all sponsors agree to appear in black in order to make an almost perfect two tone livery. It’s super clean and uniform, with the double stripes working brilliantly along the sides, bonnet and roof.

Matt Stone Racing 1

It looks superb from all angles, especially when the sun hits it just right, opening up the silver to a lovely bright shade. There isn’t always a need to complicate things! Unit may only be a one race sponsor, so hopefully this design sticks around, and looks just as good with whoever puts their name on the car next.

★★★★★

Tekno Autosports Truck Assist Tekno Racing

Truck Assist Tekno 1

After a short stint with the team last season, Truck Assist are back for a full season with Tekno in 2019. It’s a decent effort, with the orange mainly focused to the front and roof of the car. Not a huge fan of the spiky design on the side, but it looks much better on the bonnet.

truck assist tekno 3

It’s a good distribution of orange and black on the car, although I’d have preferred to see more orange toward the rear to make it more even. That said, it’s a lovely shade of orange, and am glad they’ve gone with a good chunk of it so we can tell it apart from the Boost cars despite the similar colour schemes.

★★★★

Tickford Racing Monster Energy Racing

Monster Racing 2

This is essentially the same livery as last year – pure black plus Monster logos. The matte effect works really well on this livery, however, and considering the lack of flashy design elements, it hasn’t tired either. This has also been helped by the transition to the Mustang, which I believe has been pulled off best by this car (probably because it hides all the ugly disproportionate features).

Monster Racing 1

Not a whole lot else to write about. Scandia sticks out as it’s the only prominent sponsor not in white or green, which is great for them. I’m also a fan of the green lights, now that Orrcon has departed. I may have been a little harsh with my previous ratings of this livery, or perhaps my tastes have changed slightly.

★★★★

Tickford Racing Supercheap Auto Racing

Supercheap 1

I was disappointed to see the large portion yellow had been taken away from the Supercheap livery this season. At first glance, this car almost looks like a patchwork of a number of different sponsors, like we used to see a lot of in the 90s. The main sponsor’s identity has been diluted, purely because others with their own colours, like Century and Castrol, demand more of the focus. It was not so much the case last year. This also has me questioning whether the blue bands below Bendix are part of the larger livery, or for Bendix itself.

Supercheap 2

The livery in general is weaker in design than 2018, but I’m just annoyed at how inharmoniously everything has been put together. Especially front on. Imagine the million dollar homepage was a livery…

★★

Tickford Racing The Bottle-O Racing Team

BottleO 1

Holdsworth has traded places with Frosty for 2019 and has jumped in the Bottle-O car, which is now in it’s tenth season of competition in the iconic green livery. This isn’t the strongest iteration of the design however, but not disappointing like the effort above. The design would have worked just fine without the curved black line behind the front wheel – it’s out of place between the straight green line and gold Southern Comfort line on the bonnet.

BottleO 2

The shade of green used is also a less saturated, which is a good thing as a colour like that can become tiresome quickly. It’s a good idea to swap it in every couple of years like they have been doing. Or maybe the photos I’ve found are not as heavily edited as previous years!

★★★

Tim Blanchard Racing Team CoolDrive

Team Cooldrive 2

I’ve always been a fan of the CoolDrive livery. Tim Blanchard may have retired after a lacklustre career, but the sponsor remains, with Macaulay Jones now piloting his Dad’s #21 car. There are some subtle changes to the design, with the light blue taking up a lot more real estate along the side of the car. White too is more pronounced this season, taking up most of the rear of the car.

Team Cooldrive 1

The main attraction to this car is the same, lovely metallic blue from last year, and am only disappointed to see less of it on the car in 2019. However, I’m glad the team makes tweaks year on year to keep it interesting. I also like how the design of the livery follows the wavy theme set by the CoolDrive logo. That’s Cool integration. Sorry.

★★★★

Triple Eight Race Engineering Red Bull Holden Racing Team

Red Bull 2

Red Bull were the first team to show off their cars this season, which was really early in fact, just a week into the new year. What they’ve popped out isn’t bad by any means, but doesn’t hit the same standard as season. There’s a lot of white on this one, and comes off looking a little generic, most likely due to how unique the 2018 livery was (which in hindsight I’d rate higher).

Red Bull 1

The Red Bull and Holden logos are still awkwardly squabbling for superiority on the sides like a couple of bickering brothers ; two large competing logos in different colours will never completely work on the side of a race car in this fashion. Logos aside, the design sticks mainly to large blue portions on the main panels of the car, with a bit of pin-striping in jagged forms along the edges. It’s an OK livery, but doesn’t get the same originality points as 2018.

★★★

Walkinshaw Andretti United Mobil 1 MEGA Racing

Walkinshaw 2

Finally it’s Walkinshaw, who have taken on Mega Fuels as a main sponsor, who have some fairly dodgy photoshops of stock photos on their homepage. This livery, however, is a huge improvement on the sponsors last major design. Here we have a coherent effort, mainly white, taking the odd route of using Mega’s own colours in a less noisy fashion. It’s an inspired choice, as the greater use of purple didn’t work out so well the last time.

Walkinshaw 1

That said, the purple, yellow and blue work very well as intricately intertwined ribbons of colour separating the black and white sections of the car. The theme is maintained across the sides, roof and bonnet and keep us interested enough with a splash of colour, as opposed to a mainly purple and yellow livery (which I’d have been intrigued to see). A good effort, and possibly thanks to Mobil, still maintains a strong Walkinshaw identity.

★★★★☆

 

Time for the bonus awards!

Best Look Award – Matt Stone Racing

I didn’t think this would be my pick, but it’s just a clean, satisfying car to look at.

Least Attractive Award – Kelly Racing Castrol Racing

BP Ultimate just kills this one, but isn’t the only fault. The weaker red lines don’t work well against the main green either.

Most Improved Award – Brad Jones Racing & WAU

Brad Jones for the National Pharmacies livery is a little unfair as it’s not a season long livery, so it’s probably more fair to give it to Walkinshaw. Mega have come a long way since Jason Bright’s Falcon in 2017, and is a lot better than Stanaway’s Falcon that they featured on last year too.

Almost There Award – 23 Red Milwaukee Racing

They’ve made changes this year, but still have the same rating. Red, white and black have lots of potential – a couple of inspired tweaks could see them move up the ranks in 2020.

Most Annoying Award – Freightliner Racing

So much potential with those colours, but they insist on having those yellow and silver lines more or less ignore the Freightliner logo. Drives me nuts.

Sponsor That Should Be Angriest Award – Supercheap Auto

I don’t know, maybe they did have a say in the livery design? Regardless, to dictate a livery and be so much less prominent than in previous years…I’d be annoyed if I was on their marketing team. Maybe this is just subjective though?

 

So, let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Do you agree with my opinions, or am I totally wrong on any of these?

Round-Up – 2019 Supercars Field