It seems as though now more than ever, the Formula 1 community is being flooded with fantasy F1 liveries from enthusiasts and professional designers alike. I’m certainly the former, but despite the array of fantastic looking efforts out there, I still highly anticipate piecing together news of teams, drivers and sponsorships to make what I think could at least semi-realistically appear on the cars in the new season. Let’s take a look at what I’ve put together this year.
Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen
I was pretty chuffed with my design last year to be honest, so I thought I’d follow the same theme. Alfa dropped the blue altogether in 2020, so I decided to stick to mainly red and white, whilst adding a little bit of black as third colour to make the inverse/reflection design work. I wanted to move away from the real life livery design on the nose which despite being reminiscent of Sauber, feels very early 2010s.
Thankfully the Alfa Romeo logo works very as a design element in itself. On second thought, I’m doubtful that they’d actually have the logo in two colours like this, but here’s to a little bit of creative freedom.
Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda
It was clear in their first livery as AlphaTauri that branding (as ever with Red Bull) was more important than anything else. The size of the main logo was almost eye watering, but that’s what we have to work with. It’s certainly not an offensive logo, but it does limit what else can be done with the livery.
There is more room toward the front of the car though, and that’s what disappointed me most with the 2020 design. It just looked a little lazy and slapped on, so I’ve tried to put a bit more though into how the white contours both the cars natural lines, and the main logo. I’ve added a long blue line along that section to avoid too much white space as well, plus some thin white flashes along edges for some added interest.
Alpine F1 Team
So the first of the new blood. I will really miss the vibrant yellow that Renault brought to the grid, but nothing quite beats the excitement around the launch of a brand new car and livery. What I’ve done is taken the proposed colour scheme from their teaser imagery, but tried not to stick too closely to that specific design. I’ve kept the Alpine logo prominent on the engine cover and used mainly the Alpine blue colour (albeit slightly little deeper shade places) which fades into red and forms the basis of the design with a bit of French flair.
Aston Martin F1 Team
The Pink Panthers will be gone for 2021, but will hopefully be replaced by some long missed British Racing Green! I’m predicting a simple design which uses a nice dark green alongside their accent bright green, in this instance used sparingly as piping only. This matches the big Aston Martin logo in that bright green colour on the engine cover. Cognizant is a rumoured new sponsor for the team, but I’ve kept their presence (and blue) to a minimum – on the sidepod only.
Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow
What to do with the big red billboard this year? The Mission Winnow branding didn’t last long in 2020, so I’ve left the engine cover almost blank, and have kept other design elements fairly minimalistic – big patches of colour have been trending down in the last few years for Ferrari anyway.
I’m still onboard the black end plates train, and my thoughts on glossy over matte for Ferrari haven’t changed either. The only other thing I’ve really experimented with is a translucent/slightly different shade prancing horse on the side of the car, given how much empty space is available. I hope it doesn’t come off tacky, but something similar has worked pretty well on Vettel’s helmet for a few years!
Haas F1 Team
Haas has quickly become the most disliked team on the grid due to signing and sticking with Mazepin, but I similarly don’t see them ditching their colour scheme anytime soon. It’s really quite dull and unimaginative (corporate, even), so I’ve tried to spice up the red, black and off-white, whilst somewhat following their existing theme (Haas being ‘underlined’ on the sidepod). Fairly happy with the result, and in the off chance BWT does stay on the grid, here is a version with a bit of hot pink on it.
McLaren F1 Team
I was surprised that McLaren moved away from their triangular pattern design of 2019, but happy to see their new colour palette in 2020 was still very nice. I’ve taken a look at those colours from a different angle using a gradient, with the blue blending into the black to create an almost night sky effect, minus the twinkling stars. I’m keen to see how much papaya is on the car in 2021, because it’s been a joy to see ever since they brought it back.
Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team
I was a little surprised to read that black is likely staying on the 2021 Mercedes, thanks not so much to activism than but Ineos’ part ownership of the team. Whilst everyone loved the all black 2020 car, I was keen to see how the black could blend harmoniously with the silver. For that reason I’ve used swooping intersections between the silver and black, whilst the turquoise and crimson flashes are edgy to create a happy contrast.
Red Bull Racing
I don’t see Red Bull changing much at all next season; they seem to go many consecutive seasons sticking to the one theme. If they were to make some sort of change though, perhaps something like this could be it. I’ve made a series of parallel nose to rear pinstripes, to create the effect of a single wave following the shape of the car, without distracting too much from the all important Red Bull logo on the sidepod. This keeps a decent amount of red on the car, without being any more overpowering than the amount of red on previous liveries, maintaining that navy look that Red Bull are known for. I’ve also kept this completely three tone, with no white for any sponsors, which is probably the most unrealistic part of this livery, but creates a fun neon theme with the bright red and yellow against the dark navy.
Last but not least, Williams. I was a big fan of Williams’ second livery of 2020, especially the edgy look of the nose section, so I was looking to expand and evolve that idea. I went with something a little out of my comfort zone – straight lines! In fact there are no curved lines on this design, apart from the nose section, which otherwise would have looked a little funny. So lots of edges, including the broken up blue lines in the large near-black sections. Still quite sparse in terms of sponsorship, but the void is adequately filled.
So which of the above is your favourite? Let me know your thoughts and comments!
Sauber has had an impressive life in Formula 1, starting from scratch in 1993 and becoming a fan favourite as one of the last privateers, through to their eventual takeover by Alfa Romeo in 2019. They were loved for bringing in many talented drivers, although they never did quite break into the upper echelon in terms of performance and results; their best championship finish being 4th in 2001, at the hands of then young guns Nick Heidfeld and Kimi Raikkonen. Not counting the BMW days, Sauber never managed a win in F1, but did collect 10 podiums, four of which came in the exciting 2012 season thanks to Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi.
2005 was Petronas’ 11th season as a sponsor of Sauber, with the livery dictating partnership beginning in 1996 and being a prime example of livery evolution. The Petronas sponsorship actually began in 1995 in less prominent fashion, but the now iconic turquoise was unleashed to the F1 world in 1996, long before Mercedes paired it with silver.
The most dramatic change between Petronas liveries was from 1997 to 1998, dropping the unique and attractive vertical stripes and forming the weakest livery of the bunch. However, as should always be the case with livery evolution, they took the primary idea, and along with some clever additions along the way, perfected it for its last iteration in 2005.
For the 2005 season, Sauber kept Felipe Massa for his fourth year at the team (third season as main driver), and brought in the now veteran Jacques Villeneuve after his three Grand Prix stint at Renault the year before. However, the season was a bit of a slump in comparison to 2004, with their best race finish being 4th on two occasions, ultimately ending the season with a tally of 20 points and 8th position in the standings. Mediocrity was a familiar feeling for the team, but another familiarity were the blue and teal colours that adorned the cars.
At first glance you may think the pairing of turquoise and this shade of blue may be quite weak. The blue used isn’t exactly stunning like the colour of the 2017 car was, and perhaps a stronger shade like this would have helped the two colours stand out against each other and take this livery to another level. However, it’s the supplementary colours that help this livery stand that much higher than its predecessors. The increased use of white thanks to Credit Suisse takes away some of that average blue and adds some much needed contrast to the blue and turquoise.
The main swooping sections of turquoise are similar to previous years, but are placed much more thoughtfully, respecting the cars natural lines which is pleasantly clear from side on. Whilst the Red Bull yellow on the airbox from the earlier versions of the livery was nice in its own right, the white works far better, taking away far more space from the blue. The yellow taking up as much space as the white may have been just as effective, but we’ll never know. Either way, yellow does remain on the barge boards thanks to MTS GSM and does look really nice as a fourth colour in that region of the car.
Sadly, despite being quite well disguised, the sidepod is a bit messy. Petronas itself is fine, but the thin yellow Syntium logo on turquoise isn’t very nice, and the Malaysia logo in red above it makes the whole sidepod look fairly disorganised and cluttered, especially given all three use different fonts. Thankfully it’s not super obvious though, and there aren’t too many complaints to follow!
Along with the added white, the nose is another element that improves on previous versions of the livery. It manages to use both blue and white in well placed harmony, swooping up the nose with a flash of turquoise to complete the look. This is then interjected by the turquoise and white section flowing from beside the cockpit. It’s abrupt but not out of place. It’s also cleverly done so that it looks great from all angles, which sadly isn’t always the case with F1 liveries.
Petronas continued in F1 with BMW when they took over Sauber for a few years, before moving to Mercedes in 2010. Whilst newer F1 fans may associate Petronas with Mercedes, their colours and logo will always scream Sauber to me. It was an iconic look all through the late 90s and 2000s, and whilst I’d always hoped they’d mix the colour scheme up a bit at the time, I’m glad I can look back at it so fondly now.
So how would this livery look on a modern day F1 car? The answer is pretty good! Sure, I could have used a little more creative freedom to suit the the 2020 style, especially with the sponsor placement, but 15 years on it still looks nice even on updated machinery.
As a fan of both AFL and Formula, I thought to myself, what kind of liveries would this unlikely combination produce? It turned out to be a little more difficult than anticipated, with the ethos of footy jumpers and F1 liveries being entirely different. An F1 team sells it’s livery to the highest bidder, whilst an AFL team adds their sponsors to the guernsey at the last minute, the club’s iconic and (almost) unchanging colours and design taking priority. This means that basing a livery on an AFL team’s colours and design, whilst incorporating sponsors onto the car becomes increasingly difficult. This is especially true as team and sponsor colours often clash, and are mostly slapped on square patches on the jumper, not giving much inspiration to follow from.
I’ve tried to stay true to the jumpers and be realistic to brand guidelines, which means not matching logos to team colours for the sake of aesthetics, as nice as that would be. I hope I haven’t done anyone’s favourite team an injustice, and if I have done anyone dirty, I sincerely apologise!
After a long, long wait, F1 is back! COVID-19 has played havoc on the world and with so much negativity, it’s great to have a favourite distraction back, with races almost every week. The delayed season start has also seen some surprising livery changes since the launches, so let’s see the who’s done well and who hasn’t, in reverse alphabetical order this time.
There’s a lot to love about William’s revamped livery. Sure, the new Rokit design was good and brought some colour to the grid, but I don’t think anyone is sad to see the dodgy company go. The new livery is somewhat dictated by new sponsor Sofina, a financial investment group, but sings true to Williams roots of white and blue.
The red is gone, but the livery is way more refined with some traditional swooping blue and black lines along the length of the car. Everything appears to be well placed, including the black on the underside of the halo and the blue on the top of the engine cover/shark fin, as well as on the rear wing.
They’ve taken Mercedes’ lead with a neat repeating pattern toward the rear of the car, which gives the classic livery a much more modern look. It’s a mainly white car, but avoids looking empty with good sponsor and colour placement.
Probably my favourite part of the car is the little blue sections which cut in and out of the main black section on the car. Usually you’d see two colours running parallel, but this is another way they make this livery look modern. It looks especially great on the nose where it’s most obvious, and I feel possibly they’ve missed an opportunity to make further use of this toward the rear of the car. Only nitpicking though, because it looks fantastic.
Renault DP World F1 Team
Renault has only made very minor changes to their livery this season, and why would you when it was already close to perfect.
Sure it might be the third year in the same livery, but it’s still quite wonderful. The slightly cooler, more bright yellow brought in last year remains, as does the placement of most of the colour and sponsors.
The biggest change, and a sign of the times really, is that the black portions of colour on the car are a matte paint, as opposed to the regular gloss for the yellow. I’m not against matte paint, but I feel as though gloss is fast becoming underrated, and I wonder if matte is here to stay or just a fad. Another big change is the very bottom yellow stripe being removed, replaced with technical sponsors that used to be on the floor’s carbon fibre.
Lastly, there’s the addition of the blue tripe on the top of the shark fin, promoting Renault’s hybrid brand, “E-Tech”. It works well, albeit disrupting the colour flow. Black and yellow is a great colour combo, it’s well placed on the car, and that’s why we love this livery.
Aston Martin Red Bull Racing
Much like Renault, there’s very little change on this year’s Red Bull, in fact, I don’t think there’s any!
So not a whole lot to describe then. It’s still matte, there’s still a big bull on the engine cover and it still looks very nice.
I’m surprised to see so little evolution this year. Even in the Vettel days, Red Bull would tweak a couple of things here or there, but I guess if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
That said, I hope we see something at least a little different next year. I know we can’t hope for much, they have a brand identity they will always stick to, but we can hope at least for a livery that isn’t identical. Aston Martin becoming their own team next year is a sign of hope, but the likelihood is that they’ll just replace their logos with a new sponsor, or just more Red Bull stickers.
BWT Racing Point F1 Team
So it seems this may be the end of the pink panther in Formula 1! Sure, some pink may feature on next year’s car if BWT stay on as a sponsor, but Aston Martin will almost certainly dictate the colours, so enjoy it while it lasts.
It’s very difficult to beat last year’s livery, which I thought was pretty much perfect. The departure of SportPesa means the lovely deep metallic blue is gone and BWT are back to using their lighter shade of blue, which I don’t think provides as good a contract to the light, bright pink.
That said, they’ve gone against the grain with the BWT logo diagonally covering almost the entire side of the car, which is more common in oval racing. It makes the side look a little lacking in terms of design and kind of empty, although the angled white and pink lines along the logo are sufficient albeit basic.
The white around the cockpit is nice, and very nice on the underside of the halo, although it ends a little abruptly. There just isn’t the same level of intricacy when compared to some of it’s predecessors, and it makes this livery look a little bland in comparison.
Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team
Well I don’t think anyone expected this! Perhaps at Hamilton’s request, who has in recent years become outspoken and a great activist for human rights, animal rights and other great causes, Mercedes has for the first time entered an F1 season in a colour other than silver.
The black livery supports Black Lives Matter and in supporting a great cause, they’ve created a stunning design. I’m so surprised to see so many white cars on the grid this year, when every time a black car is launched, everyone falls in love. This is no exception.
Everything that was great on the silver livery is even better here. The turquoise flashes of colour pop incredibly well against the black. The silver arrow pattern along the side and rear look even more elegant as a light on dark combination. The additions of red for Ineos blend in so much better here than they did on the silver version.
Everything works and looks fantastic. I can’t imagine they’ll stick to black for another season (but who knows with Hamilton still in the seat), so let’s enjoy this while it lasts. They’ve absolutely outdone themselves with this effort, in all aspects.
McLaren F1 Team
McLaren started the season with a bang, and with the team moving to Mercedes engines next season, it seems the only way is up. Sainz may need to make hay before he leaves for Ferrari! That said, the papaya is back for another year and it’s as wonderful as ever.
I for one am quite sad to see the triangle pattern ditched for this season. It quickly became the teams identity and was loved by fans, so I’m surprised they didn’t keep it in some form for 2020. That said, my disappointment quickly subsided as the new livery is also very, very good. As mentioned the lovely papaya remains, although the blue used this year is a little lighter, and doesn’t have that neat metallic look. The contrast isn’t as strong, but doesn’t bring the livery down much.
This livery is quite traditional, with the long, simply segmented sections split along the side of the car, as has been done for many decades. The complexity comes within these sections, with the piano key like designs (now in rainbow colours for #WeRaceAsOne) on the sidepod and on the engine cover spicing up the bold solid sections, rather than a simple fade to black. Another great thing is they’ve finally painted the halo in papaya, rather than black, which was the only real downside of last season’s livery.
What I’m not a big fan of is how the black section is brought up onto the nose. While it frames the logos well, I’d much prefer this secondary colour not spill onto the ‘top’ of the nose, and rather done like how the black is used on the Renault’s nose. I know it has to do with hiding the ugly nose tip and supports, but the Renault method is much nicer, and is in fact the one McLaren used successfully last season. It’s another papaya stunner from McLaren, but just not quite at the same level as 2019!
Haas F1 Team
You know, what I said earlier about all black cars being stunning may have been an exaggeration, because the 2019 Haas wasn’t the prettiest or most elegant livery we’d ever seen. For that reason, I’m quite glad their factory colours are back, and in a slightly different fashion to its predecessors.
We’re back to black, white and red (no grey this time) and it’s nice to see. The classic Haas design has returned, with the black section on the sidepod half way up the main logo – it’s always looked great.
There’s a lot more black on this effort than it’s previous iterations (not including the Rich Energy livery) with the side sections in front of the sidepods in all black. The nose, which was my big gripe with the previous Haas cars, is also far cleaner. The black being on top of the nose isn’t so bad here as it start way back, not as abruptly as on the McLaren.
There’s a little red arrow arrow breaking up the black and white in front of the cockpit too, which is a nice touch, although probably could’ve been utilised elsewhere on the livery too. Overall, it’s a corporate livery done well.
Ferrari started the season with the shock announcement they wouldn’t be extending Vettel’s contract, and later announcing Sainz as their new driver. Given recent results, it may be a blessing in disguise for the German!
The team has been unable to use Mission Winnow logos on the car so far this season, leaving a gaping, empty hole on the engine cover. More than ever, this exposes the Ferrari for the giant moving red billboard it really is. The only design elements are the sponsor logos and I’ve never been a fan of Shell, UPS and Ray-Ban slapped on to the sidepod together in a row.
I lie, there are some subtle design elements on the car. There is a carbon fibre stripe along the bottom of the car featuring the technical sponsors, as well as some more carbon fibre on the halo and the wing tips. There has indeed been some effort put into the livery other than sponsor logos.
The only other thing to talk about really is that they have kept the matte red from last season, and I guess I can’t be mad about it. At least the red they’ve chosen is bright and really stands out from the rest (as usual). I can also mention that the numbers aren’t very nice, but pinstriping isn’t really my thing.
Scuderia AlphaTauri Honda
AlphaTauri was the one real unknown going into the new season. There was talk about a black livery and we all got pretty excited at the thought. It came out white and navy blue, and I have to say was a little underwhelming, especially when the Toro Rosso has been beautiful the last few years.
I was surprised to see so much white! If I was to make a statement as a ‘new’ team, promoting a new brand, majority white wouldn’t have been my first choice. That said, the main design feature on the car is one big ass AlphaTauri logo on the whole side of the car, so it’s not like they aren’t getting exposure.
The other is just the big swooping navy blue section acting as the background to the giant logo, which ends abruptly in front of the cockpit. There’s another logo each on the front and rear wings, in case you missed it on the whole side of the car. The design just seems a little uninspired, and quite frankly I think a plain navy blue would have looked way better and distracted less from the logo, which they clearly want to be seen as much as possible.
The only other annoyance is the Honda logo being in red. A perfect chance for a two tone livery ruined, and sure, while it makes it stand out more, it kinda disrupts the livery. Yeah, I’m a little disappointed by this one. It might be a little boring, but a plain navy blue version nice, doesn’t it?
Alfa Romeo Racing Orlen
It’s been a disastrous start to the season for Alfa, struggling with Ferrari’s engine performance advantage all but gone. They’ve really been nowhere, which is a shame!
One upside this season is that with the arrival of Kubica as a test driver, Orlen has also jumped on board, filling the sponsor gap in their sidepod. Another good thing to see is they’ve kept the lovely shade of red from last season, which looks terrific under the shining sun.
Sadly it looks as though almost all reference of Sauber has now disappeared, with the navy blue stripes and Swisse references on the rear wing all gone. Just the Sauber Engineering logo remains is very small writing. Unfortunately, they’ve kept the same pinstripe design along the nose and changed it to red. Another annoying aspect is that Orlen and Huski are very slightly different shades to the main colour of the car. Curse those brand guidelines!
There is one nice new addition though, with some white flashes working as a very slight gradient on the engine cover, adding some complexity to what was a straight forward design the last couple of years. That said, it feels like two liveries in one, with the front and the rear not gelling perfectly at all. I wish they’d just use a solid chunk of red on the nose rather than those thin little stripes. It’s also a little cluttered, a little wordy, but not enough to lose points over.
Best Looker Award – Mercedes
They really have outdone themselves this year. At least it’s a beautiful car that will be winning every race!
Least Attractive Award – AlphaTauri
Maybe it has a little to do with high hopes, but this was a real disappointment. Could have been a really fantastic livery, but who knows, it will probably grow on me.
LARGEST LOGO AWARD – AlphaTauri
Who would’ve thought Racing Point’s BWT logo wouldn’t be the biggest? The AlphaTauri logo literally takes up half of the car, and there are two others on there to boot. When you have enough money to not need any other sponsors, you can do whatever you want!
Blessing in Disguise Award – Williams
Rokit are a no good company, and them leaving lead to an even better livery! We’re all winners in this one (apart from William’s probably not getting as much money as they’d expected).
So which was your favourite? Vote down below and leave a comment!
We started the season with a bombshell, that at the end of the year, the Holden name would be discontinued by GM. While the ‘Commodore’ will run in Supercars until the end of next year, there’s plenty of uncertainty moving forward. There are rumours of Mostert helping to bring BMW to Walkinshaw, and everyone continues to bang on about a KIA Stinger Supercar, but at the end of the day a major overhaul for the series is likely given the biggest (and most favoured) manufacturer in the sport is leaving. All we can do in the meantime is watch the racing that we love, while it lasts, and admire these cars for better or worse.
Boost Mobile Racing
It hasn’t taken long for a Boost Mobile car’s season to get flushed down the toilet. For unknown reasons, Courtney has split with Team Sydney after just one race, but controversy is never far away when Adderton is involved. Either way, they were running silver Boost livery with a similar theme to those that came before it.
It’s comparatively weaker than last year’s GRM livery, mainly because the black livery looked more aggressive. This one is a lot simpler, which is more detrimental on a lighter car than a darker car. Let’s see where Courtney and Boost end up next!
Brad Jones Racing
Percat looks to be back to his livery changing ways, starting of with a clean Mobil livery for the Superloop 500. I wonder how much time and resource BJR put into designing and applying a different livery each race?
There isn’t that much going on, just a large blue section toward the rear and along the edge of the roof and bonnet. The fading red line is a great idea, but makes the Mobil logo look way off centre because it’s avoiding the series wide sticker on the driver side door. This lopsided look could have been avoided with a parallel red line above, which would have framed the logo far better.
On the other side of the garage, Todd Hazelwood in running in Plus Fitness colours, with a cool fading blue to black design along the side of the car. This is a great effect, but I think they’ve missed a great opportunity to extend this to the bumper, as the white takes away from the car’s identity. Makes it a little generic and bland from the front.
It looks fantastic from the side, the fade from dark to darker is really nice, as are the white spikes that curve up into the empty space. The orange flashes are a great touch too, especially on the headlights, making the car look extra aggressive. Just wish there was less white on the front of the car.
Kelly Racing had a big task over the summer, moving from Nissan to Ford, although downsizing from four to two cars would have helped. There’s also some continuity, Castrol sticking with Rick Kelly and painting a Mustang green. They’ve also stuck with a jagged livery theme, although it’s executed far better on this occasion.
No BP Ultimate on the car helps significantly by removing a colour clash, as does the toning down of the red on the car overall – it was a little rough to look at when overlapping the green. The small black sections toward the bottom of the car work well too, and aren’t bad on the roof and bonnet either.
Team 18 expanded to two cars this season, with Scott Pye joining the new DEWALT Racing. DEWALT has brought black and yellow back to the team; Preston Hire used these colours successfully with Holdsworth a few years ago. It’s a strong, near two tone effort with a fairly standard spiky design. The design and main logo are lined up well which is aesthetically pleasing.
There is not a whole lot to it. Yellow and black is a great combo and everything is planned and laid out well.
Winterbottom is back in the IRWIN car this year, and the livery is only subtly different. There are parts I prefer about this one, such as the removal of the white sections, and parts of last year’s one I like better, such as the jagged, broken lines along the side of the car.
If I had to choose one, I’d choose the 2020 car. It’s super clean and although the designs are different, the teams’ two cars match each other well, which is ironic considering they are competitors. Once again, Team 18 don’t disappoint.
Matt Stone Racing
Matt Stone Racing also moved to two cars in 2020 and whilst they’ve retained Unit as a sponsor, they’ve unfortunately gone for a new theme with the livery. Last year’s almost all silver livery was my pick of the bunch, but moved from silver to gold. It’s a slightly too cool (rather than warm) and dark gold, which doesn’t really shine unless you catch it in the right angle, in the sun. Paired with black, it looks quite dull in most cases.
The main Unit logo is well framed by a fairly standard design, with white a silver being used to separate the black and gold sections. I can’t help but compare it to the 2019 livery – it just isn’t on the same level. Sometimes simple is better! That said, not bad at all, but some better choice in colour at the least could have improved this one significantly.
The other MSR car is piloted by Garry Jacobson. It’s also mainly black, but supported by some vibrant yellow and orange. This helps it pop out in the field, distinguishing itself from the competition.
I’m not a huge fan of the design and how it curves on the bonnet and bumper, and the side is a little bit unimaginative – while the colours stand out to me, the design doesn’t. It’s pros and cons are the opposite to the Unit car. Just lacking some oomph and personality.
Milwaukee have gone for an absolute Mustang classic – the double racing stripes. It doesn’t get much simpler! With some pinstriping on the sides, you can’t really go wrong, especially when the bumper sponsor doesn’t interfere.
The side also harks back to a prior generation, with one fat stripe coming from the wheel arch on an angle, pinstriped on one side. That’s pretty much it! It detracts as little from the main sponsors as possible and as plain as it is, looks good from all angles. Could there have been a couple of other additions to make it more interesting? Yes. However, I’d rather clean and simple than a little too complicated.
Mobil 1 Appliances Online Racing
After losing a sponsor mid way through last year and bringing some new ones in for the latter part, WAU have settled on Mobil 1 as a primary sponsor, with a different secondary sponsor on each car. Whilst both cars share the same template, they looks drastically different thanks to these secondary sponsors.
The blue used by Appliances Online pairs very well with Mobil’s blue, as well as with the white on the front of the car. The design is very well thought out and I love the clever transition from dark blue to light blue to white, using the thinning diagonal lines of colour. The parallel white lines on the bottom of the side also work really well, and look great cutting off the light blue sections. The extra flashes and lines of colour about the car are great and I don’t really have any complaints about this one, apart from perhaps the pin striping on the bonnet being a little too thin on the inside.
Mobil 1 Middy’s Racing
Pretty much everything that was said about the Appliances Online car applies to the Middy’s car. The pink is a fantastic contrast to the team’s other car and pairs well with the blue and white on this one.
The only issue I have with this one is the shade of blue used it too light. A darker blue would have paired better with the pink, such as in this example. Apart from that, it has all the great qualities of the other WAU car. A great effort from the team.
Monster Energy Racing
Sadly, little imagination used by the team at Monster Energy Racing. For the fourth season in a row they are going with a plain black livery with Monster logos on it.
I apparently quite liked this last year, but very much indifferent this year. It’s a little boring without any extra touches year on year. Some sort of evolution would be nice after this many years of no change.
On the other hand it’s all change at Kelly Racing, with NED jumping on board Andre Heimgartner’s new Mustang. The livery definitely brings back Jim Beam Falcon memories with the colour scheme, although the design is understandably more modern and sophisticated. The bonnet section follows the body shape perfectly, with the gold lines framing the black part well.
The logo has been integrated on the side of the car seamlessly, using its own design as a priority and blending it in with the rest of the car well. Perhaps it separates the gold lines a little too much, and maybe a plain black and white livery would have been neat, but the extra flashes of colour don’t hurt it at all.
Something new again for Penrite, this time going for a smokey theme. I was initially quite pessimistic as it looked very busy and hard to distinguish, but the closer you look the better it gets. There’s an Aussie flag in there, getting all patriotic alongside Penrite’s gold, and the smoke effect does flow very nicely from the front to the rear of the car.
The Penrite logo works better than in recent years as there are no solid colours to harshly contrast against the logo. I’d previously said the logo looked dated, but appears as though it was simply everything else on the canvas that was creating that illusion. It’s an attractive, modern effort, that looks great despite my usual traditional tastes.
Red Bull Holden Racing Team
The trickiest part of Red Bull Holden the last few years has been how to balance both of those logos on the car at once. The positioning hasn’t changed this year, but they’ve gone with a white background for Holden this time, keeping most of the rest understandably blue. The fragmented design is actually very nice from the front where Holden doesn’t interfere.
The symmetry makes the front look great, but the side looks a little random with perhaps a few too many little bits and pieces jutting around. Holden also takes up a lot of space on the side, and despite trying to make one cohesive livery, I just don’t think they gel well together. I guess this won’t be a problem next year anyway.
SCT Logistics Racing
Animosity with whether Jack Smith should be in the series aside, the SCT Logistics Commodore looks pretty good. You’ve got the standard black, white and red, the logo placed well on both the side and bonnet, and support of some speedy red stripes over the car.
I especially like the bottom most red line which travels all the way from the rear, up from the splitter and along the bonnet and the roof. It does a great job of framing the car and its aggressive angles. The secondary thick red lines also work well and although the black section toward the rear is a little generic, it fits in with the theme and certainly isn’t offensive. That said, his 2019 Super2 livery was a stunner! Shame this couldn’t be carried over.
Shell V-Power Racing
If we’re yawning at Monster Energy Racing, we’re definitely yawning at Shell V-Power Racing. They’ve decided to go with another year in their weakest livery since 2016, which I don’t think ever suited the Mustang as well as it did the Falcon. The way the yellow and white droops off at the front wheel arch is the opposite of racy if you ask me.
So the same again, but I guess a fitting way to see off Scotty as he competes in his last season in Supercars before embarking on what looks to be an open wheel adventure in the USA.
Supercheap Auto Racing
Jack LeBrocq has joined Tickford for 2020 and has jumped straight into the Supercheap Auto car. The livery looks a little nicer than its predecessor, but still lacks the punch that the yellow had given it in previous years. As it stands, there are a lot of other logos from other sponsors that really take away from the cars identity, and make it look like a bit of a mish-mash.
The side is plain but clean, but overall it looks like Supercheap has paid for the sponsorship, then sold off bits and pieces of the livery to the highest bidders. Perhaps a slight improvement on last year with a few more sponsors fitting into the colour scheme, but lots of room for improvement.
Macauley Jones is back in the CoolDrive Commodore this year, a car that never seems to be in the top half of the field. It’s a shame, because it’s consistently one of the best looking. It’s a similar effort this year, with the brilliant metallic blue supported by a light blue this time, and a neat white stripe along the side.
It’s almost like they’ve flipped the white and light blue from last year, but it’s good to see some form of evolution as opposed to stagnation. The main logo placement is great as always, and nothing messy about the other sponsors either. Solid again.
Chris Pither somehow snagged a full time drive for 2020, but who knows how long that will last with Team Sydney! Now every fibre in my body tells me I shouldn’t like this. It’s plain, basically no actual design apart from the logos – should be boring right? Maybe it’s nostalgia or maybe it’s just a livery I’ve wanted to see for some reason. I like it.
There’s nothing fancy about the red they’ve used, but it is stunningly vibrant. The Coca Cola logo is one of the most recognisable in the world and doesn’t look out of place anywhere. Every brand is on board, making it a perfectly uniform two tone livery. The cheeky branding on the bonnet is clever and relatable. Everything on this livery works. I can’t imagine it would have the same impact if used for another year, but for now, it’s great.
Truck Assist Racing
Finally, Truck Assist has joined Tickford, replacing Bottle-O which had backed the team for many a year. Out goes the bright green, in comes the old Hispania grey, which I hate a little less than I used to but I’ve never understood why a team would want their car to blend in with the track.
They’ve gone with matte grey as opposed to gloss which adds some form of interest to the car, and just a wee bit of orange – a missed opportunity to bring a more excitement with a lot of orange. It’s simple, the lines are clean and the logos are well placed, although red on grey isn’t ideal for Isuzu. Just not an attractive main colour which hinders the livey from the get go.
And the award goes to…
Best Looker Award – Mobil 1 Appliances Online Racing
The perfect colour and design choice. Thanks Appliances Online!
Least Attractive Award – Truck Assist Racing
Ever look at a car and think “That would look way better in tarmac grey.”? Me neither.
Most Improved Award – Castrol Racing
In previous years Kelly Racing tried to make a design to suit all cars, which didn’t really suit any of the cars. Fortunately they’ve made a livery specially for Castrol, and it shows.
Press Rewind Award – Matt Stone Racing (Unit)
The all silver car was brilliant last year, shame they moved so far away from it.
Award to Enjoy a Coke With – Team Sydney
Maybe with Courtney and Boost gone, we’ll be able to enjoy two Cokes with Team Sydney!
It’s that time of year again, and whilst I’m no graphic designer, I love having a go at mocking up some realistic-ish liveries for the year ahead. I take as much from the latest news and announcements in terms of sponsorships and try to stick to a team’s ethos as much as possible, with some artistic liberties here or there.
Starting off with Alfa Romeo this year, and something a little more adventurous than last season. I had toyed at using as much of the lovely red as possible, but it ended up looking way too much like Ferrari, so went with a split design, keeping the Sauber spirit with the navy blue on white. It’s one long swoosh from nose to tail, changing abruptly between white and blue depending on the background. The car is quite sponsor heavy in the end, but based on last season’s design, it will probably continue that way.
We’ll be introduced to the second generation of the “Red Bull B Team” in 2020, and the second Alpha (kinda) at the same time. Alfa Tauri, Red Bull’s fashion brand, will be taking over the car, and many are predicting a black and white car based on their branding, which I ran with. It’s a colour combo that’s been pulled off well in the past, especially when black is the main colour. I’ve used simple sections of black and white, accompanied by some more complex small parts of colour, with the diagonal lines breaking up the smooth flow. The graphic logo takes over the traditional big bull on the engine cover, although it’s soul remains, faintly behind the text logo.
My inspiration ran a little dry when it came to Ferrari this year, but I’m optimistic for the real thing, seeing as their last couple of liveries have been increasingly modern and experimental. They’ve ditched most of the white in their livery, so I’m continuing with a dark theme, white limited to sponsors only. The wings are black, along with a large strip starting from the exhaust to just in front of the cockpit. As with the Alfa Tauri livery, I’ve added some thin lines which mimic the Mission Winnow logo and help add some complexity to the otherwise simple livery. I for one hope they ditch the matte paint in favour of gloss this year.
I was disappointed when Haas’ calamitous relationship with Rich Energy ended, without really turning the great colours and (stolen) logo into an awesome design. It looks as thought we’re headed back to traditional Haas colours, but hopefully with a little more jazz than we’ve seen in the past. I’ve gone for a very simplified camouflage paint to the car in different shades of black and grey, with a long, sharp light grey/bright red accent line through the middle. The Haas logo also has a small red outline/shadow, to help it pop further from the dark background. I think it’s keeps things interesting in a subtle way, and not too outside the box for the team to realistically run.
If any livery was going to be way off, it would be this one. McLaren are thankfully going to keep the papaya, but to what extent, nobody knows. My thinking is they’ve created a very strong brand image with the blue triangular pattern, so expanding on this would make sense. I’ve removed the black sections and made it just papaya and blue, but with new sponsors hopping aboard left and right, there’s no saying what colour will feature alongside papaya in 2020.
I must have been a fan of the logo pattern on the car last year, cause I’ve used it in hope that Mercedes will run with it again in 2020. It works really well on a dark background, fading into silver. I’ve kept it subtle with the turquoise as Mercedes always have, the thin line bouncing above and below the black section along the bottom of the car. Other turquoise flashes also appear on the car in a similar fashion.
Everyone was happy to hear that Racing Point will be renamed Aston Martin in 2021, but what will the car look like in 2020? Not sure the level of investment they’ll put into the team this year; maybe it will just be a logo on the side, just like last year’s Red Bull, or perhaps they’ll wait it out entirely til 2021. I’ve banked on them putting in some coin straight away, and dictating the livery from next year, with the twist of BWT also keeping some pink on the car. I’ve also gone against reality to an extent using majority British racing green as opposed the neon green from their sports car liveries, which is only used sparingly as a highlight. So do dark green and pink go together? Decide for yourselves. I’m biased but I kinda dig it in a very weird way.
So what do you do to a livery that already works very well, for a team with strict branding, that doesn’t change it’s liveries very often? It’s very restrictive. What I’ve tried here is a neon-ish theme, with outlines only for the areas of the car normally filled with colour, apart from the text and graphic logos. It’s not much of an evolution on last season’s livery, but enough to keep it interesting year on year. As good as it has been for the last few years, it risks getting stale without some form of evolution.
For Renault, it’s more of a refinement than a major change. I love the effect the current car has in being majority black from the side and yellow from the front, so I’ve kept this theme in my design (although you can’t really tell given the angle. I’ve kept each yellow section solid, rather than having pinstripes, and have kept the colour as vibrant as possible. I’ve added some extra yellow to the airbox area, as well as the halo, which more teams should start exploit with their designs as opposed to attempting to hide, now that everyone is used to its appearance. A little unrealistically, I’ve kept it entirely two tone, including sponsor logos. A man can dream – it’s a visual effect not seen often enough due to strict branding guidelines.
Finally, a team down in the dumps, without any real hope until the regulation changes in 2021. Traditionally, Williams will keep a livery design for 5 or so years (sponsorship permitting) without much variation at all, so given Rokit is still around, I don’t see much change afoot. That said, with a couple of new sponsors in thanks to Latifi, I do predict a couple of amendments. I’ve assumed Lavazza will appear on the sidepod, so I’ve had blue fade into Lavazza’s darker blue, to act as a background to their logo. What bothered me about the livery last year was that the blue looked like it was sprayed on top of everything at the very end, and how it looked a little careless on the nose. I’ve made sure the blue fits in better with the sponsors, and have broken up the gradient with a sharp transition to white from the side to the top of the nose and cockpit section. It’s a little bare, but not too obviously so.
Looking forward to an exciting year of racing ahead, and hopefully some pretty liveries to go with it.
As we enter 2020, and before we start to think about the exciting launch period and winter testing, it’s time to reflect on the decade that was. There was plenty of disappointment in the livery world over the last 10 years, but also a lot of happy memories. As we jump into our top 20, let’s start with one that could well fit into both camps.
#20 – 2015 McLaren MP4-30
The 2010s were a tumultuous decade for McLaren fans and livery geeks alike. The decade began with success in the familiar Vodafone livery, before speed, sponsors and inspiration seemingly disappeared as the years went on. Devoid of a main backer, McLaren tried unsuccessfully to put together a coherent livery, and from 2014-2017 raced in some forgettable designs. It might be surprising then to see the 2015 livery in this list. It was widely canned by pundits (and myself initially) for being a West ripoff from years past, but it did have some redeeming features.
Well, at least one redeeming feature. McLaren was known for having spent a ludicrous amount of money developing the famous chrome used on the Vodafone livery. I’m not sure how much was spent on this one, but the sparkly black on the bottom half of this livery was just gorgeous. It’s a shame it only lasted a few rounds, because the replacement wasn’t any better, and missed a chance to have this colour across the whole car. Shame really! It wasn’t a bad livery overall, just wasn’t original.
#19 – 2014 Marussia MR03B
The Marussia and Virgin teams had some pretty distinctive liveries over the years and the MR03B was no exception. It’s a car that despite having one of the most common colour schemes in Motorsport, had its own personality, looked great yet slightly different from every angle, and all despite the lack of sponsorship on the car.
The front of the car featured smooth circular curves, the sides showed off long sweeping lines all the way to the rear, and on top, the red spiked design. Each slightly different, but all brought together well to create a uniform livery.
#18 – 2019 Mercedes F1 W10
Their on track success this decade will probably never be matched, however, Mercedes’ livery game has not quite hit the same heights. Their efforts at the start of the 2010s were quite poor, but they did steadily make progress, their last livery of the decade being their best.
They nailed the right shade of silver, a great amount of well placed turquoise, and some complementary black blended in nicely with a trendy pattern. It may be difficult to make an incredibly pretty silver livery, but if used with some creativity and nouse, and not dictated by Ron Dennis, it can work out really, really well.
#17 – 2018 Williams FW41
The Martini livery featured in various levels of Motorsport across the decades and Williams was universally hailed for bringing the iconic livery back to Formula 1. It brought with it some terrific success with the Mercedes engine being so strong in 2014, but whilst the livery held strong, the results could not. Of this stint of sponsorship with Williams, the 2018 and final version of livery was the best variation.
This year’s design refined the placement of the Martini lines from the exhaust to the nose, removed the border from the Martini logo and included the large swooping black section across the bottom of the car to break up all the white. Whilst I did get a little tired of it by the time it reached its 5th year (as is the case with most liveries that last this long) and wish it had undergone a more drastic evolution in this time, it’s attractiveness and popularity right to the end could not be denied.
#16 – 2016 Ferrari SF16-H
The 2010s may be Ferrari’s most experimental years on the livery front of all time. There were plenty of variations from barcodes to matte liveries, but the 2016 effort is the one that makes #16 on our list. It was a design that harked back to the late 70s, with the engine cover being largely white, as it was then. There was also a fair bit of black, which hadn’t really been on a Ferrari since the early 90s.
What these new white and black sections helped do was split up the livery, and distract the viewer from seeing what is essentially a moving billboard. Ferrari have never been subtle, often having 2 or more large sponsors on their sidepods, but it is far more obvious on a plain livery. Shame they had not yet removed the ‘Scuderia’ logo.
#15 – 2012 HRT F112
Anyone remember this livery? In their short life, HRT had some stinkers, but their final livery was their saving grace. It showed that you can make a pretty livery without a large array of sponsors. They went with a sadly underutilised burgundy colour and paired it with gold (a shade that I do wish was a little brighter) to make a really pleasant colour combination alongside the main colour of white.
It really shone in sunny conditions when the gold could sparkle, and the design did a good job of both following and protruding outside the natural lines of the car. KH-7 almost killed the vibe with their neon orange, but it was mostly kept hidden on the inside of the rear wing end plates. A livery that deserves to be remembered.
#14 – 2011 Virgin MVR-02
Here’s another car that didn’t get much fanfare back in the day, due to just how slow it was. Pace aside, Virgin’s first livery was great, with bold lines sweeping along along the car, being smooth but also sharp where they needed to. It made for a perfectly uniform livery and gave the Virgin team and its successor a solid identity.
I could take or leave the tribal markings, but they definitely aren’t offensive, and helped form said identity, especially early on when arriving alongside two other brand new teams. Livery aside, the aggressive shape of the nose near the suspension was awesome.
#13 – 2018 Haas VF-18
Haas have flipped and flopped liveries in their first few years of existence, but made it onto the list with their 2018 design. It was always going to be a little corporate in terms of colours, but the way they are laid out is what works so well.
The straight horizontal black and white split on the sidepod is a great look, and the way the Haas logo is placed on top of it, lining up with the H, works very well. I’ve never been a huge fan of the nose design on the Haas liveries, but it’s a small price to pay for a lovely all round effort.
#12 – 2018 Red Bull RB14
Red Bull made some strong choices toward the end of the decade, one being the inspired move to a near black, matte livery in 2016. It was a much needed change to what was a design theme that hadn’t really varied significantly in 10 years, and set a trend that was followed by none other than Ferrari in 2019.
The 2018 design set just the right levels of class and aggression, and fixed the bull’s tail that was cut off in previous versions. It’s just a super clean and sharp livery that we’ve been impressed with for a number of years now. Let’s see how it evolves in the 2020s.
#11 – 2012 Marussia MR01
Marussia again? You bet. The 2012 livery took the Marussia colour palette and turned it into something completely different to the year before. Sometimes largely ignoring the shape of the car can be beneficial, in this instance, taking straight lines and placing them diagonally across the car, creating large stripes of red and black.
The lines separating the red and black are white and grey, and on each section, only grey touches the red sections, and only white touches the black. It’s subtle intricacy that pulls together the uniformity of the design. It looked really nice from every angle, and again, Marussia pulled off a great livery with next to no sponsorship.
#10 – Racing Point RP19
Force India stunned us in 2017 with a pink livery, brought to us via BWT sponsorship. It was initially a bit of a novelty with things like bubbly water graphics, but it has been refined over the last couple of years, to what has been the best version yet in 2019. Not only is the shade of pink much nicer, but the complementary silver and bright pink are placed more thoughtfully.
SportPesa also jumped on board in 2019, and added a large chunk of royal blue, which looks incredible alongside the pink. It’s a terrific, dark contrast; not sure I’ve seen such drastically different coloured sponsors work so well together. It’s a livery that has a lot going on, but coherently and not overboard or too loud.
#9 – 2010 Williams FW32
Williams’ second livery on our list goes to this understated number from 2010. A car perhaps most famous for being driven to pole by then rookie Nico Hulkenberg is a beauty to look at in its own right. At this point, Williams had been dabbling in a few variations of blue and white liveries, but this was probably the best since HP left the party.
What pushes this over the line is the shade of blue used. It sits between two much darker liveries and in hindsight, is much more appealing to the eye than the PDVSA liveries of the next few years. It’s also a fantastic two tone livery, with all sponsors (apart from Bridgestone) in either white or blue, which is very aesthetically pleasing, as are the fast flowing lines across the car’s body.
#8 – 2017 Sauber C36
Sauber was in a midst of a crisis with next to no backing and being on the edge of dropping out of the sport, when they rocked up to Melbourne in this beauty. As with Williams above, they found a lovely shade of blue, paired it with their other staple colour of white, and finished it off with some gold trimming, celebrating their 25th year of racing.
Together it formed an incredible colour combination which quite frankly, no one expected after the lacklustre efforts the team had brought to the table earlier in the decade. Aside from the black shark fin, it was difficult to find a fault in the design which worked well in just about every way.
#7 – Alfa Romeo C38
2018 was a transition year for Sauber. Alfa Romeo came on board as a major sponsor and with it, the livery changed dramatically. It kept some of its 2017 characteristics, but the colours changed to red and white with a flash of blue. What really stood out was the shade of the deep, metallic red. It was a lovely colour and most of us wondered why they hadn’t used more of it on the car! In 2019 Alfa Romeo bought the team and changed the name, and the livery evolved again, making some subtle improvements across the car.
The red was brought forward and wisely took up more space on the car. The Alfa Romeo logo on the side was changed and looked much nicer in its new format. However, somewhat surprisingly the blue and white was kept, as was the naming of the car (C38), perhaps as a nod to the team’s history as Sauber. The white and blue I’m not too fussed about, but I hope the naming stays that way. Needless to say, the car looked fantastic, and I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t like it.
#6 – Renault R.S.19
The decade really did finish off strong. Renault would have popped up earlier in the list if they had kept that all black livery from 2016 winter testing, but here we are. The traditional Renault colours were used as well as ever this year – a strong, cooler yellow paired with black in a livery that looked majority yellow from the front, but black from other angles.
The colours are well distributed along the car, looking sharp and edgy, proving I don’t only love curvy, sweeping lines. I love the front view of the car, but for some reason my excitement from the side doesn’t quite peak as high, which is why it isn’t higher up the list. Perhaps we’ll see a livery in the next few years that is perfect all round.
#5 – 2018 Toro Rosso STR13
Toro Rosso spent years in a drab navy and gold livery, and I despised them for it. Not only was the theme and colour palette boring, but they added new, ugly elements to it every year. I had dreams of Red Bull can and Sugar Free liveries, but year after year my hopes were dashed and my spirit crushed. I gave up on all hope of a change in direction. Then, out of nowhere in 2017, the new era of Toro Rosso was unleashed upon us and boy was it beautiful.
Out with the drab and in with the new, vibrant and invigorating shades of blue, red and silver. The blue has a subtle iridescent quality that looks purple from the right angle and right lighting, whilst the red is incredibly strong and in your face. It was also so refreshing to see Red Bull logos and Bull itself in reflective silver. Whilst the 2017 livery was a huge relief for me, the 2018 improved on it, hence why it is on the list. The placement of the lines was improved and paired with the new aero regulations, it looked awesome.
#4 – 2010 Force India VJM03
Force India moved into the new decade carrying its familiar white, green and orange livery. It was tastefully patriotic (although Indian sporting teams usually wear blue) and looked bright and vibrant on track. They’d subsequently lose their way, going for visually jarring and sometimes asymmetric designs, but luckily we had the memory of this one to look back to.
This era of car was quite curvy, so the flowing sections of green and orange, which almost looked like fluttering in the wind as they drove along, were a terrific match. The specific shades of green and orange worked very well together and with the white and helped disguise what was really a mish-mash of sponsors with no uniformity on the car. Good memories.
#3 – 2014 Caterham CT05
Caterham was another short lived name in Formula 1, but one that left a lasting impact on livery lovers. It’s incredible to think that at the start of the year, Caterham had perhaps the most disgusting F1 car of all time, and by the end, one of the prettiest. It may mostly be down to the nose, but the livery was also improved through the year.
Green is a colour infrequently used in F1, but is almost always a winner. The Jaguars of the 2000s were universally loved, as was the 1991 Jordan, but I don’t think this car gets enough credit. The shade of metallic green is just about perfect and is wonderfully displayed with the clever, minimalist design. Black is used on the rear in a big black sweeping section, whilst cleverly hiding the dong nose on the font. There’s a little on the airbox too, matching the curvature of the rear section. All the sponsors are uniform in white, completing what is one of the cleanest and most pleasing liveries to look at of the decade.
#2 – 2010 Renault R30
After a few years of ING and Renault‘s colours not really getting along, Renault were rumoured to be looking to the past for inspiration for their 2010 livery. Absolutely no one was disappointed with the result. The black and yellow bumblebee design was almost as good as it got this decade. The gradually thinning black lines were a terrific design choice, looking fantastic on the nose and sidepods.
I can even forgive Total for their red sidepods and mirrors, because as hard as they tried to ruin the livery, they failed. It’s a superbly executed livery, and criminal that it was only used for one year. Sadder still that it was succeeded by the tri-hard, phoney Lotus livery in 2011. It will also be remembered for the exploits of Kubica, in what was really his last year at full strength, and boy did he wrangle that car, snagging 3 podiums and 5 times the points of his teammate Petrov.
#1 – 2019 McLaren MCL34
I’ve firmly pushed nostalgia to the side and I think that McLaren’s 2019 livery is the best of the decade. 2018 was very close to perfect, giving the people what they wanted with the beautiful papaya orange, but the few adjustments in 2019 took it to the next level. The design adding more blue to the rear of the car was inspired. I had always contemplated adding more black, but the blue really was the right way to go and am very happy they went in that direction. That same triangular design also gave the team a stronger identity, which it had missed since losing a main sponsor earlier in the decade.
Alongside the blue there is some more black. The horizontal line along the bottom of the car works so well, especially with the tech sponsors along it in a cool, retro fashion. The halo stayed black, but with a larger black presence on the car this time, it fit in just fine. What can I say, it’s a stunner. With rumours circling of McLaren finding a major sponsor for 2020, we may sadly have to say goodbye to this livery, and perhaps even the papaya. All good things must come to an end, and in the end it’s good for F1, but we would all be rightfully sad to see it go!
So that’s my top 20 liveries of the decade. What are your thoughts? Any great liveries that I missed? Any that you think shouldn’t be in the top 20? Let me know below!
We’re ready for another year of Formula e action! Some massive players have joined the game, bringing many positive things to the series, but design inspiration isn’t one of them. It’s a tale of two colour schemes: Red/Black/White and Turquoise highlights. The majority have gone with one of these options, making the conscious choice to blend into the crowd rather than stand out, which is an unbelievable marketing choice if you ask me. It also leads to one of the least exciting full grid photos, possibly even more so than the 2015 F1 field.
Few flashes of vibrant colour, just like that F1 season. Either way, let’s dissect what each team has brought to the table, and hopefully we can pick some positives so we don’t leave feeling too disillusioned. For the sake of something different, lets go in reverse alphabetical order.
TAG Heuer Porsche Formule E Team
Porsche is one of the newcomers this season, and have taken a scalp, stealing the ever competitive Lotterer from Techeetah. He’s joined by racing stalwart Neel Jani. Their driver choices have been inspired, but their livery is not. It certainly follows their identity across other racing series like WEC, but unfortunately that identity is simply boring.
The design gives me Minardi M198 vibes, in how the livery is split into three sections, with the same colours alternating as dividers to those colours. Maybe I’m a hypocrite in liking that livery and not this one, but colour choice is such an important aspect of overall livery design, and this red, black and white combination just brings no excitement to the table, the way the yellow does on that Minardi. It is not an ugly design, but I wish they’d entered the series with a bang, as opposed to something so corporate.
ROKiT Venturi Racing
Venturi have kept the same drivers as last year, and thankfully not the same livery. Unfortunately ROKiT has come on board, and the team have joined the red/black/white brigade. However, it is probably the best of that bunch. Whilst the red piping on that flows back from the nose gives me Mahindra vibes, it is really easy on the eyes, and works wonderfully paired with the flowing white pinstripe along the side.
It’s a well thought out livery which suits the shape of the car. I think I may have preferred jet black as opposed to the unpainted carbon, which looks a little flat rather than elegant or slick.
Panasonic Jaguar Racing
Jaguar have brought in James Calado to partner Mitch Evans this season, and have persisted with their turquoise and black colour scheme. They’ve turned the dial up somewhat on the turquoise, which is now the majority colour on the top side of the car. I don’t mind this, but I do have an issue with the squared off design on the nose, which ruins the flow of the car’s otherwise sleek shape.
The side of the car is virtually unchanged, limiting the turquoise to flashes on the floor and aero panels. It would have been nice to see the Jaguar itself in the same turquoise colour, but the current effect with the majority of sponsors and other decals in white works just fine. Not sure it’s an improvement, so I’ll keep their rating steady.
Same drivers, new livery for Nissan. They’ve gone for the unusual with an asymmetrical design, perhaps following BMW’s footsteps from last season. It’s simply majority black on the right hand side, and majority red on the left (at least on the nose and top section of the car). The way the colours intersect make an interesting diamond design, but remind me more of Stade Rennais than anything to do with Nissan.
I’ve always thought of Nissan’s colours to be blue, white and red (thanks Gran Turismo), but perhaps this is what they’re embracing moving forward. They’ve also gone for a half black, half unpainted carbon effect, which may be a weight saving technique across the board, but doesn’t look that great, especially on the wheel arches. An improvement from last year, with the effect from front on really saving an otherwise average livery.
NIO 333 FE Team
Ma Qinghua joins Oliver Turvey at NIO, starting his Formula e career with an absolute nightmare in Saudi Arabia. The team has gone a little more traditional with the livery this year, but have continued their turquoise and white theme, adding to it a little blue this time around. This would have been incredibly useful on last year’s livery, which was in desperate need of an extra element.
I’m a fan of the clean separation of the turquoise and white from the top to the side, whilst the same can be said at the back, showing off the curves of the car between the blue and turquoise sections. Simple, clean and effective, doing well with the shapes the car provides. Thilst the red highlights for Ma work well, the Yellow ones for Turvey aren’t quite as complementary.
Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team
Mercedes have entered Formula e with a driver lineup that could be competitive in any series around the world, in Vandoorne and de Vries. The biggest winner in my eyes however, is Petronas, who will receive a tonne of brand awareness via association (if anyone else’s brain works like mine), due to the similarity with the F1 livery. This is ironically unintentional given there is no place for an oil company in an electric series, but it’s funny to see the similarity between the highlight colour on both teams’ cars.
The theme is similar across both liveries, with the tessellating Silver Arrow design across much of the car and of course the base colour of silver being complemented with smokey black. This is the livery we all expected, but I don’t think can be disappointed with. It’s a great effort with enough care put into intricate details to make it a pleasure to look at in detail.
Mahindra have kept the same drivers, and have evolved their livery as opposed to making wholesale changes. The most striking aspect of the car is the chunky, blocky horizontal red section on the nose of the car. It’s a little disruptive to the flow of the bodywork, and the blue lines bordering it aren’t the most visually appealing.
The main change year on year is the removal of the alternating red and white stripes, which were my favourite element of last year’s livery. These have evolved to red and blue ones (such as the nose above) which aren’t as impactful and can be easily missed if not paying close attention to the car. In theory it’s a slight downgrade, but not sure why I rated it so harshly last year. Nice to see they’ve kept the Indian themed rim paint too.
Dragon have changed their drivers with Hartley and Müller joining the team, but their livery theme has remained constant. You’d think black and white would be boring, and whilst many of the above liveries prove that theory with even more colours, this one is an exception to the rule. It’s a more or less 50/50 split between the two colours, depending on which angle you look at it from, with the red flashes providing a bit of excitement where the two other colours can’t.
The side black section looks fairly simple on its own but looks quite jagged when mixed with other sections of the car. The front is almost all black and looks super clean. The roll hoop is covered in a neat stripey design, in contrast to the remainder of the car. It’s a case of simple sections mixed with hard angles and a few intricacies to make a really nice design overall. Who would have thought the car with the least colour would be one of the best.
Envision Virgin Racing
Bird and Frijns remain at Virgin, but unfortunately their almost perfect livery has evolved! To be fair very little has changed, but the main difference is silver being used instead of white on the top of the car. The contrast of the purple and white is what really put the livery on another level last season, whereas the silver really dulls this down. Also, being a matte silver, it doesn’t even stick out or sparkle from any angle, which is a shame as the pattern is really neat.
Not much to add given the rest of the livery is more or less identical. I’m still a fan of the deep purple, just wish they hadn’t made the change from white to silver!
Techeetah have brought in da Costa to replace Lotterer, and with him a few minor changes to the livery. The most obvious change is the gold section on the nose being narrowed. The car loses the sharp effect of having the gold meeting the black right on the nose’s edge, which is what I enjoyed so much about it last season.
There’s now a gold pattern on the barge board as opposed to solid gold which is a nice touch, and the whole halo is gold this season, much nicer than the awkwardly cut off design from last time. Unfortunately the unnecessary complication on the nose/cockpit area brings it down a notch for me.
BMW i Andretti Motorsport
BMW have replaced da Costa with Maximilian Günther, and have taken their livery to another level of mess. From front on, I can’t really gather any sort of coherent design. There are way too many colours that don’t really complement each other, and overlap is a way that may make a nice powerpoint theme or cover page design, but not quite a racing livery.
It’s a little clearer from the side, but the blue and purple still don’t suit each other, whilst the black also doesn’t really look like it belongs given white is already so prominent on the car. The jagged shapes don’t really work the way they do on the Dragon car either, and instead look messy instead of functional. The asymmetry just adds to the dysfunction. Perhaps I’ll like it more in a year’s time and will think I was being harsh, but I just cannot rate it any higher right now.
Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler
Not sure why every manufacturer wants red, black and white as their main colours these days, but I’m glad Schaeffler have kept some green on the car to ensure this car doesn’t entirely fade into the rest of the grid. Their driver lineup remains the same, but their livery has turned to the dark side, with black, rather than white, playing the main role.
It’s unassuming from the front, but actually has some really nice design elements on the side. The red and black stripes on the floor look great, as do the compartmental red and white sections on the sidepods. The green helps to break up the business as usual colour scheme on the engine cover. It does a decent effort complementing the template the shape of the car has provided. A nice effort in a year bombarded with red, black and white machines.
Best Red, Black and White Livery Award – Geox Dragon and ROKiT Venturi
Two liveries with totally different philosophies, but both looks great in their own way. Dragon barelly qualifies, but there is red on the car!
Best Turquoise Livery Award – NIO 333 FE Team
It’s quite simple at the end of the day and I may have rated it too highly, but I really enjoy the clean lines and complementary colours. A big improvement on last season.
Hire a New Livery Designer Award – BMW i Andretti Motorsport
This just is not a good design. I’m free if you guys need me.
Tyrrell had a season to forget in 1984. What had some promise, including a podium for Brundle in Detroit, turned into an exclusion from the championship, when it was discovered (ironically after said podium) their cheeky tactics were outside the rules. They had been running their cars underweight during the race, before adding lead to the water tanks to meet weight requirements in scrutineering. Despite this disappointment, they had at least one of the best looking cars on the grid.
It’s unusual to see teams run different liveries on their cars in F1. It’s often a once off, such as David Coulthard’s Red Bull in the last race of his career, but Martin Brundle and Stefan Bellof had different liveries for the whole 1984 season. Despite some sponsors being shared by both cars, the two didn’t have many other visual similarities.
Bellof’s livery looked to have significant inspiration from his own helmet design. While Maredo brought a base of black to the car, it took Bellof’s signature red and yellow lines, and placed them along the top sides of the car, from nose to engine. It may be the best helmet to car colour coordination of all time! The massive number on the nose is not my favourite part of the livery – not that it looks awful, but that the yellow, red and white lines end so abruptly above the number.
That aside, the colours on this car work really well, with the sponsor colours also blending in very well for the most part. Even the DeLonghi blue even fits in pretty well, as it’s so subtle against the black. It’s simple, uncomplicated, and objectively attractive!
On the other side of the garage, Brundle’s car had a very different approach. Yardley had a fairly rich history in Formula 1 up to this point, sponsoring both BRM and McLaren in the 70s, and had a brief (and final) stint in the sport on this car. It meant their brown aftershave bottle design was translated to an F1 car. It is surprisingly not appalling and actually quite memorable, bordering on good looking. It gives off some brown JPS Lotus vibes with the gold piping, and the black wings are a welcome relief from the almost flat brown. I always thought the nose design was a little strange, but have just realised it is meant to be a gold medal. Not sure if the design was ambiguous or if I was just clueless!
DeLonghi, which appears on both cars, works fairly well here too. It stands out a lot more on Brundle’s car and even works quite well wrapped around the front of the cockpit, but the blue rectangle could have been placed a little more thoughtfully on the side. The section near the front suspension is especially careless and would detract significantly from the livery if it wasn’t partially hidden by the tyres.
It was a doomed season for Tyrrell in the end, but at least gave us F1 and livery buffs something to talk about, even 25 years later!
Let me know what you think in the comments below! If you have any suggestions for future liveries, pop them in there too.
This is my first time reviewing the full MotoGP grid, so hopefully I’m not too far out of my depth. MotoGP is always exciting to watch, especially when Marquez doesn’t take off into the distance, so thought that given I watch it most weekends, I may as well put this together.
Alma Pramac Ducati
It was a promising first race of the season for Pramac, with Miller shooting to the front of the grid before his seat failed. He’s joined by Francesco Bagnaia this season, after Petrucci’s promotion to the Ducati factory team. The bike itself is split pretty evenly between red and blue this year, divided by a diagonal white line on the sides – I’m uncertain as to how well this actually works, especially with the thinly outlined white Pramac logo on top of it.
The front doesn’t quite match the side, but looks great in its own regard – the spiked design fits the bike well. The white sections are nicely outlined with black, framing the number well. The black lines in front of the seat help the leathers match the bike in terms of design, and they are themselves nicely asymmetric with the colouring.
Aprilia Factory Racing
It’s mainly black for Aprilia this year, supported by the classic Italian red, white and green. The fluro yellow might be one colour too many though, and it clashes pretty hard with the green on the bike and leathers.
The front of the bike is laid out well; the matte black helps of the number to stick out, and the red, white and green distributed well next to the windscreen only. A similar design is used to great effect on the tail of the bike too.
LCR Honda Idemitsu
The two LCR bikes are painted in separate designs, with Idemitsu clearly the major sponsor on Nakagami’s bike. The colours are distributed fairly evenly on the bike, mainly white on the side to show of the main sponsor, with a nice shade of red the other main colour on the bike. Black with gold piping is also used wisely, most prominently on the front and on the side sweeping to the tail.
I’m not the biggest fan of the design on the front. While it suits the shape of the windscreen, the shape of the white section is just a little off putting. Similarly, the way the number overlaps the gold lines is a little annoying, where it could have been smaller, or lines made a wider to avoid the issue.
LCR Honda Castrol
Only some subtle changes for Crutchlow in 2019, with Givi still the main sponsor. The Italian colours feature again here, this time with a large red section for the main sponsor, with the smaller green sections seemingly placed for Castrol.
I like the green stripe that leads toward the tail; it’s adjacent to the Givi section but works very well given the forced separation of the two panels. The front is nicer here than the Idemitsu machine, but the number still overlaps the linework.
Mission Winnow Ducati
A fairly big change for 2019, with Ducati moving quite close to 100% red on their bikes, apart from two white lines which frame the Mission Winnow logo, and some cleverly placed black sections on mainly the underside.
It isn’t just plain red though, there’s an interesting pattern of different shades of red behind the Mission Winnow logo. Lenovo looks to have requested grey for their logo to sit on top of. Some other subtle touches include a tiny Italian flag under the NetApp logo, whilst rims are piped with the red, which looks fantastic.
Reale Avintia Racing
The Avintia team bring a fluorescent yellow onto the bike to accompany the white and blue this season. It’s a clean livery, with each sponsor given an appropriate amount of space and framing, although it ends up looking quite full with little room to spare.
The colour combination works just fine although I have some slight continuity issues, with the yellow lines directly against the other colours in most sections, whilst leave a tiny space of blue along the top section of the bike. Nothing super memorable about the design, apart from the suitcase handle winglets!
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
After succeeding in pretty much every other level of Motorsport, you’d think Red Bull KTM are due to break through any year now. That said, even with a lot of KTM orange on the bike, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t feel this is unmistakably a Red Bull livery.
Navy blue and orange are a combination I’ve loved since my childhood, but the contrast of the orange, red and yellow is a bit too much, and fight for superiority rather than work in harmony. It’s essentially two different liveries on the one bike and ends up more disappointing than impressive. Not to say I entirely dislike it, but it could have looked a lot nicer if they favoured one style over the other.
Red Bull KTM Tech 3
Now the Tech 3 livery takes the above issues and laughs at them. Subtract the red and yellow, replace with the Toro Rosso silver, and boom, a beautiful livery. The lovely blue colour complements the orange perfectly, whilst the silver works harmoniously with both.
Rather than 4 or 5 main colours, they’ve nailed just the 3. Colours aside, the designs of both the Red Bull KTMs is identical, yet this one is miles ahead in the looks department. Thank goodness for the Red Bull/Toro Rosso rebrand.
Repsol Honda Team
Marquez continues to dominate, winning all but one race he’s finished, whilst Lorenzo, who looked to have turned a corner last year, is yet to finish in the top 10 as I write this article. Thanks to Repsol backing, the factory Honda team livery hasn’t changed substantially since 1994, which is an incredible 25 year stretch of continuity.
That in mind, there isn’t much to talk about! The Repsol logo and colours are still proudly emblazoned across the whole bike, although the main design is not as circular as it used to be. The front of the bike is one of the cleanest though, which I am a fan of.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP
Yamaha have made a slight change of livery direction. Monster has beefed up it’s sponsorship to take over almost the entire side of the bike and in turn, just about making black the main colour. It’s a cool, aggressive look, giving the design a negative space look, exaggerated by the blue pinstripes broken up by the Monster logo.
The pattern continues on the front where the Monster logos look a little messier crammed amongst the rider numbers and other design elements. The chrome strip diving the main sponsor and the rest on the side is a neat touch.
Petronas Yamaha SRT
After years in Formula 1 and other car/bike categories, Petronas has joined the MotoGP field with Yamaha SRT. It’s refreshing that they haven’t followed Red Bull in a strict branding policy across all categories, going with a blend of turquoise, black and silver on this effort.
I can’t say I’m in love as for some reason, my first connection to the spray paint style gradients was those custom airbrushed trucker caps you’d find at tourist markets on holidays. OK, definitely a bit of a stretch, but despite my weird association, I can’t entirely dislike the livery. What it does do, is help me appreciate that silver and turquoise work better together than I gave it credit for (in F1), the black combo not looking quite as amazing as I’d imagined.
Team SUZUKI ECSTAR
Suzuki are sticking with their royal blue and flashes of fluro yellow and white. It just sends me generic vibes, not just with the fairly standard shade of blue, but also the approach of the secondary colours, placed without a whole lot of ingenuity.
It ends up looking like a cookie cutter livery and makes it hard for them to stick out of the pack, especially when squads like Yamaha have owned a similar shade of blue for many years. I’d much sooner associate the Rizla Cyan colour with Suzuki than the current colour combination.
Best Looker Award – Red Bull KTM Tech 3
The Toro Rosso Formula 1 livery is beautiful, and switching the red to orange doesn’t change that fact. Lovely design.
Least Attractive Award – Suzuki / Red Bull KTM
It’s not that Suzuki is ugly, it’s just a little boring and lacks a unique touch. KTM on the other hand is torn between two liveries and suffers for it.
So which was your favourite? Vote below! Don’t hesitate to leave a comment – let me know if there are any liveries you’d like me to review.