Round-Up – 2020 Formula 1 Field

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.

Williams Racing

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

★★★★

Scuderia Ferrari

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

★★★☆

Bonus Awards

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!

Livery Mockups – 2020 Formula 1 Field

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.

Alfa Romeo

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.

Alpha Tauri

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.

Ferrari

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.

Haas

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.

McLaren

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.

Mercedes

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.

Racing Point

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.

Red Bull

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.

Renault

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.

Williams

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.

Top 20 F1 Liveries of the 2010s

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!

Livery of the Day – Tyrrell 012

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.

bellof 1984 tyrrell monaco

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 tyrrell 1984

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.

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..

Livery Mockups – 2019 Formula 1 Field

Thought I’d get in nice and early this year! I try my best to keep things realistic, and get as many hints as to what the teams will actually be doing in the new season, but some of that info is a little hard to come by given most team launches are still about a month away. Most teams do have up to date sponsor lists available, but apart from this, I’ve taken creative control. Thanks to legend WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot from IMG for the wonderful template!

Ferrari

ferrari 2019

I kept it simple last year, but this time I’ve let go, and gone for the black that many of us have been wishing for for years. The car is obviously still majority red, a very slightly darker shade than usual, with two large black sections on the back and front. The swooping nature of the black sections help to border the sponsors, especially on the sidepod, which usually look unappealing on their own given the different shapes and colours between them.

From a top view the car would be red, with red piping from the side on the shark fin and wings to suit. The Mission Winnow logo doesn’t even look half bad, and fills what would otherwise be an empty hole. While Ferrari is basically its form of Italian patriotism nowadays, there’s a little stripe of the Italian flag colours in front of the rear wheel.

Haashaas 2019

It was a bit of surprise when little known Rich Energy were announced as major partners of the Haas team. Dodgy backers aren’t new to F1, so hopefully this company is legitimate, but can’t say I’d be surprised if they didn’t see out the year.

I’ve used their logo as inspiration for this design, emblazoned across the side of the car, supporting the text logo along the sidepod. Other antler details have also been added on gold backgrounds, to add some colour to the car, but in form that is unique to the team and sponsor. The gold itself is more vibrant than that used on the real logo (from their website), as I feel the original colour was too dull to stand out, and generally wouldn’t look as nice. I’ve also been careful not to add too much gold, as it can look tacky. Also, minimal gold has a proven track record of looking great (e.g. JPS Lotus). The red flashes add another touch of colour, and make sure we don’t forget about HAAS (they’re trying to sell stuff too!).

McLarenmclaren 2019

McLaren have teased us with an all black logo on social media. This may point to an increased presence of black on the car in 2019, or it could mean nothing at all. I’ve gone with the latter, as I feel the black sections of last year’s car were the weakest parts of the livery.

I was pessimistic of the blue initially, but after seeing the lovely shade they applied to the car, it proved to be a great combination. I’ve decided to expand on these sections slightly, changing the halo from black to blue, as well as making the inside of the cockpit blue. The wing end plates are also blue and I’ve limited black to the logos only. I’d love to have used white rather than black for the logos, but they slightly too hard to read that way. Overall, I’m happy for McLaren to keep the car simple and let the papaya shine, but would be interested to see how others make a complex livery with these colours work.

Mercedesmercedes 2019

Once again, I’m hoping for Mercedes to simplify the livery, and also move away from the smokey gradient design theme. Here I’ve added some solid black sections along the top and bottom of the car, which are separated from the silver by bright turquoise and blue.

Mercedes over the last couple of years have added blue to the usual Petronas turquoise, promoting their hybrid technology. Rather than separate lines for the two, I’ve used both in gradients along the length of the respective sections of the car.

Racing Pointracing point 2019

There really isn’t much to go off in terms of sponsorship for Racing Point, so I’ve made the assumption that BWT will continue their sponsorship, post Force India. I’ve gone for a more cohesive design, because as appealing as last year’s livery was, I feel as though there were some clashing design elements on the car.

The pink and white looked great together so I’ve retained the colour combination, with the white sections fading to a very light silver as they reach the front and rear of the car, rather than having solid silver stripes. However, there are bright pink stripes, three in formation following the white sections, ending just short of the pink/white notches. Another slight touch is changing all black logos to blue; they are dark enough to be easily distinguished, and help to keep the colour scheme to four-ish colours rather than 5.

Red Bullred bull 2019

I’ve really enjoyed Red Bull’s liveries the past couple of years, but recently I’ve started to think that more could be done with the colours available. The single stripe may be beginning to get stale, so I’ve experimented with what adding more colour could do. One angle the team hasn’t explored is more yellow. They’ve only every stuck with yellow on the nose and airbox, accompanying the bulls, but alongside the very dark blue and bright red, make for a very strong combination of colours.

There are three main ‘swoops’ of yellow, the main one allowing for the bull to be entirely bordered, with each section following and then transitioning to a minor portion of red. It also helps to bring the halo into the design, that are a lot of teams have either tried to hide last season, or neglect altogether.

Renaultrenault 2019

I dream of an entirely two tone livery, and all my hopes are with Renault. Their most recent stint in Formula 1 has delivered three black and yellow cars, so ignoring that sponsors such as Castrol likely wouldn’t play ball, they are our best chance.

I’ve thought back to their 2016 all black test livery which looked so sleek for inspiration. It’s mainly black, with just a few yellow stripes, thoughtfully placed along the natural lines of the car’s body. As mentioned, there are only two colours on the car, including all sponsor logos. It makes for a nice effect, especially with the soft tyres and the yellow is bright enough against the black for legibility to be an issue.

Saubersauber 2019

Everybody loved the candy apple red on the 2018 Sauber, which left a few of us confused as to why more of the car wasn’t adorned with the beautiful colour. It’s a no brainer then that I’ve increased the amount of red on the car, but have tried to remain realistic, as Sauber’s colours of white and blue are very important to the team.

Red is along the top of the car with white on the bottom section, which is broken up by further red, along with some of the navy blue used last season. The lack of sponsors makes it tough to form a design, but I feel as though the above fills up the empty space well, whilst keeping the prime real estate enticing to potential sponsors.

Toro Rossotoro rosso 2019

There isn’t a whole lot of the current Toro Rosso that I would change. The colours are fantastic and distributed well, so I had a go to see what some minimal changes could do to the look of the car. I’ve moved one line to flow from the rear all the way to the front of the halo, whilst adding another along the length of the bottom of the car. There’s also a red section along the nose/cockpit.

I’ve also made use of negative space, with the circle usually behind the bull this time within the red section just under it. I’ve maintained this design theme in the other red sections too.

Williamswilliams 2019

With the return of Kubica and sadly waving goodbye to Martini, Polish oil company Orlen have come aboard as sponsor of the Williams team. I imagine Williams returning to their traditional blue and white (depending on how large Orlen’s investment is), and have tried to work with the curves of the car, but also with some slightly jarring straight lines against the grain.

This effect has been used well in the past, memorably with the Compaq/HP Williams cars, and feel it works well not only as a design, but with fitting in with the team’s heritage. It’s also an attempt to fill as much space as possible, as the team’s lack of sponsors could easily be exposed with a more simplistic livery.

 

So what are your favourites? What improvements would you make? Do you have any predictions on what the teams will be running in 2019? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Livery of the Day – AGS JH25B/JH27

AGS, short for Automobiles Gonfaronnaises Sportives, was a French Formula 1 team based out of Gonfaron (as the name suggests), a small town in the south of France.  Approximately half way between Marseilles and Cannes and with a population of no more than 3,500, it perfectly fits the no mans land which was the back of the grid in the late 80s and early 90s.

AGS 5

In their 6 season stint in Formula one from 1986 to 1991, AGS managed to score two points, actually quite an achievement with 1st – 6th points structure, but failed to pre-qualify 48 times (counting both cars), not to mentioned many more failed attempts to qualify on a Saturday afternoon. There was hope initially, but various setbacks such as sponsor Bouygues Group pulling funding while a new facility was being built, creating a huge financial hole and causing owner Henri Julien to sell the team, as well as driver Philippe Streiff being paralysed in a testing crash in 1989, contributed to their eventual collapse one race before the end of the 1991 season.

AGS 4

Going into 1991, the team had retained Gabriele Tarquini, and had brought in one time championship hopeful Stefan Johansson. His tenure only lasted two races, neither of which he qualified for, before being replaced by Fabrizio Barbazza, whilst Olivier Grouillard also made an appearance in the team’s final event. The season began with this asymmetric white, blue and silver livery, before it changed along with new ownership, to what we see in the images above and below. Does it look familiar?

Grand Prix of France

A striking resemblance to Fernando Alonso’s new 2018 helmet! Now it must be a coincidence – his helmet has always used these colours in one way or another, but the similarities are uncanny. Perhaps this is foreshadowing? With all things pointing to a future in Indycar to complete his triple crown, maybe he’ll follow AGS’ path in this being the last helmet livery he uses in F1. Amazing how similar the colours and design are, but can’t imagine he took inspiration from a perennial backmarker…

AGS 3

Moving on from ridiculous asumptions, the livery’s main colour is navy blue, filling almost the entire rear and side of the car, with sky blue in front of the cockpit and nose. The two sections are separated by a yellow and red ribbon, starting just behind the nose and wrapping over the airbox.

AGS 6

And that’s about all there is to it. Sponsorship is minimal, leaving plenty of empty space on the livery, and what logos do appear are small and don’t add much to the overall design. The design is a little off but not offensive, the colours work but only just, it is memorable but also an afterthought. A perfect summary of the team.

Round-Up – 2018 Formula 1 Field

The 2018 F1 season is well underway now, with the guy just below snagging the first two wins of the year. It’s looking up for Ferrari in the fight with Mercedes, but who wins in the livery stakes?

Ferrari

Ferrari 2018 3

I rejoiced at the news that Santander would not be sponsoring Ferrari in 2018 for one simple reason – there would no longer be a requirement to have tonnes of white on the car. However, for the first time since the Vodafone era, I think I kinda miss it. Plain red has worked very well in the past, notably in 2007 in Raikkonen’s WDC year, but it doesn’t quite hit the same mark in 2018, and it mostly has to do with the shade of red that has been used. While it’s quite nice in the somewhat enhanced image above, it’s a little more obvious below in an image closer to how it would appear to the naked eye, that the red is too flat to look that awesome on its own.

Ferrari 2018 2

Where the 2007 car was a slightly darker and slightly metallic red, the red used for the last few years just doesn’t excite on its own. Add to this the cluster of large, clashing sponsors on the sidepods and the varying additions of white and black along the side and you can see why it doesn’t come close to hitting the highs of 2007. This was also a great chance to add black as a prominent second colour, but it wasn’t taken.

★★☆

Force India

Force India 2018 2

After what was a refreshing 2017 livery,  Force India have exceeded expectations with this cracker. The shade of pink used is more or less the same, but there is now a significant amount of white in the mix, helping to break up the bright pink. The design is also far more interesting, incorporating the white sections and new vibrant pink stripes very well to the shape of the car.

Force India 2018 1

It’s also far more unique than the generic swoops of last year, with some odd choices, most notably the pink on the nose which breaks to white a couple of time, likely for sponsors and the driver number to stand out better. Only thing that is slightly annoying for me is the BWT logo not sitting on a single solid colour on the sidepods or front wing end plates – still attractive, but its the unevenness that irks me. Reinvigorating to see such an against the grain design.

★★★★☆

Haas

Haas 2018 1

No surprises from Haas, who have whipped out black, white and red for 2018. However, it’s a huge improvement on last year’s yawn inducing colour scheme. The white opens up the livery making it far more pleasing to look at, in comparison to the grey in 2017 which was just drab.

Haas 2018 3

The design itself hasn’t changed significantly and still draws the same pros and cons. The black/white split half way up the sidepod is great and a simple way of keeping the plain colours from being boring. However, the nose is still an area that could be improved as it just doesn’t quite suit the rest of the car, and isn’t so pleasant on its own anyway.

★★★☆

McLaren

Australian Grand Prix Qualifying

After complete and utter disappointment last year, we can all rejoice after McLaren listened to the people and painted the MCL33 papaya orange. Based on the fondly remembered McLaren Formula 1 and sports cars of the 60s and 70s, and after putting out the feelers with Alonso’s drive in the Indy 500 last year, McLaren have pleased the fans with their colour choice for 2018.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Australian Grand Prix - Practice Day - Melbourne, Australia

I say it a lot – colour choice is vital. This design is incredibly simple, with the only non orange elements being the rear & front wings, as well as the shark fin. I found out myself how difficult it can be to work with this colour, unable to put any complexity into it without destroying it, so I have full respect for the simplicity. The slightly reflective blue is a nice touch and does work well alongside the orange, which I have to reiterate, looks terrific on the car. If only the halo was blue (or didn’t exist)!

★★★★☆

Mercedes

Mercedes 2018 1

Not much change for Mercedes, who have stuck with their silver and neon blue/turquoise swooping design. However, it is an evolution, with the neon lines far thicker than last year, and requiring less background turquoise fill the car with colour.

Formula One F1 - Australian Grand Prix

The wispy black remains on the engine cover to help the Mercedes logo stand out, but still wish they’d explore an alternative because it just ends up looking a little dirty. It’s certainly a slight improvement overall, but will likely be unable to get excited about a silver Mercedes livery unless significant changes are made, however unlikely that may be.

★★★

Red Bull

Red Bull 1

So year three without change for Red Bull and I’m still OK with this. Only major change is with Aston Martin coming in as a main sponsor, and popping their logos on the rear wing and disrupting the red line in front of the sidepods.

Red Bull 2

Am I still as in love as I was last year? No, but it’s still fantastic. No complaints, but hopefully we see some sort of evolution next year.

★★★★☆

Renault

Renault 2018 3

Now THIS is an evolution! Last year’s livery was neither here or there, but they’ve really made some positive changes to finesse the design in 2018. I’m quite partial to a warm yellow, but the cooler shade used this year also works very well, and is a nice change. However, the change with the strongest impact to the car’s good looks is keeping the yellow just to the top of the nose and leaving the sides black. It’s a great effect that I’m a huge fan of.

Renault 2018 2

They’ve also added two nifty black pinstripes from the tip of the nose to the cockpit which looks nice. The line around the edge of and sweeping along the bottom of the sidepods I’m indifferent to, but the added yellow to the front wing is nice. Great overall, especially when viewed front on.

★★★★

Sauber

Australian Grand Prix Practice

One of the great pieces of news for 2018 was that Alfa Romeo were going to be sponsoring Sauber, who have been on the edge in F1 in terms of performance and sponsorship for a number of years now. What this meant to livery buffs like myself was that there was a strong chance of red on the Sauber in the new year. Our prayers were answered with the unveiling of the livery, which proudly displayed a beautiful ruby or candy apple red on the engine cover. While this is a lovely colour, I’m disappointed it wasn’t extended all across the top of the car, like I’d hoped in my mockup earlier this year. It would have been a great effect to see the red from nose to exhaust, but instead, white is prominent toward the front of the car.

F1 Winter Testing in Barcelona - Day Two

The result, however, is that front on, the car looks suspiciously like the Williams with the navy blue lines on the white. The design here is actually the same as last year, where it was gold on blue, but almost looks like two liveries on the one car as the red is barely visible from front angles. A bit of a missed opportunity given the colours they had to work with, so unfortunately is a downgrade from last year’s very complete livery.

★★★

Toro Rosso

Toro Rosso 2

For the first time ever, I’m glad that Toro Rosso have retained their livery. It was stunning last year and it’s still stunning this year. The borderline-purple-in-particular-lighting shade of blue is great, the vibrant red and reflective silver complement it perfectly and the placement of each of the colours is wonderful.

2018 Australian GP

No significant change to note, although the rear wing end plates have a slight update, with the Red Bull Simply Cola logo better fitting the design, where it was plain red last year. I’m satisfied!

★★★★★

Williams

Williams 2018 2

As above, but disappointingly in this case, Williams have also retained their livery. Season 5 has already begun for this Martini livery and whilst iconic, could use a refresh of some sort. There have been some changes albeit of minimal impact, the most significant being the increased volume of the black section sweeping along the bottom sides of the car.

Williams 2018 3

Another big one is that there are fewer sponsors present on the car. This could be an alarming trend for the years to come as we’ve seen a sharp drop off in performance for the team, where it seemed they’d brought back their former stability since the new engine rules. Let’s hope their fortunes improve.

★★★

 

Bonus Awards

Best Looker Award – Toro Rosso

Toro Rosso go back to back. However, I hope they don’t get stuck into old habits and now keep this colour scheme for the next 70 years.

Least Attractive Award – Ferrari

Perhaps this is a little harsh, but I just don’t enjoy so much of that particular shade of red. Some more black would have been fantastic.

Most Likely to be an Ice Cream Flavour – Force India

With so much pink and white on the car, it looks like it would be a tasty flavour. Some sneaky chocolate brown and you’ve have Neapolitan on the grid for the first time ever!

Fan Favourite Award – McLaren

Righting the wrongs of 2017 and the years before, McLaren has certainly pleased the fans this year.

Missed Potential Award – Sauber

Could have been incredible with more of that candy apple red on the car, but alas, there will hopefully be many more years of improvements to come.

Livery Mockups – 2018 Formula 1 Field

A day late and a dollar short this year unfortunately! While I’d started to design these a couple of weeks ago, time got the best of me and alas, I’ve missed the boat in terms of getting these out before the launches. However, I can assure you these designs were started well before the launches, and therefore haven’t taken inspiration from any of the recent launches. In any case, here are my F1 mockups for the 2018 season, in reverse alphabetical order for something different.

Williams

Williams 2018

Every year I try to give the Williams a different look and feel, and while I went retro last year, I’ve gone with something (just about) substantially different for 2018. The Martini stripes are a lot more versatile than they look at first glance, and by simply placing them diagonally and against the grain of the car as opposed to the usual sweeping curves, it gives the livery a fresh new look.

However, I haven’t ignored the curves of the car entirely, sharply ending the stripes along the natural body lines on the nose, sidepod and rear wing endplate, as well as to leave a space for the Martini logo.

The actual 2018 car has followed the same theme of the last few years, they have added a large sweeping chunk of grey to fill up some white space. I wonder how it would have looked in navy blue.

 

Toro Rosso

Toro Rosso 2018

This is one livery I would be very happy to see stay the same in 2018. The vibrant blue and red, and sleek silver were a welcome change after 11 years of bleh, so I’ve made sure to keep true to the 2017 colour scheme.

The simple silver bull stays, and the red line isn’t too different from the actual 2017 livery. The slight changes are that it ends at the sidepod and the second half is moved to the sidepod from above it, and that there is a bull pattern in a slightly darker red just for something different.

For the first time ever, don’t change, Toro Rosso!

 

Sauber

Sauber 2018

Everyone was excited by the possibilities opened by Sauber’s new partnership with Alfa Romeo. Red was on the cards with the launch of the partnership and the actual 2018 didn’t deviate much from this, but my heart was set on the beautiful metallic dark red.

I thought it was a waste to not expand that lovely colour further along the car, so took the liberty to place it all over the top, whilst keeping the sides mainly white. Extending the red along the top helps the flow of the car, where keeping it just on the engine cover gives the impression of a lack of care in the design (just seems a little boring in application in the link above). Some extra flashes of red line the larger red sections and helps fill up the car, despite the void that is the Sauber sidepod of late.  I’ve also managed to keep this two tone, although realistically I should have added some blue, given that is Sauber’s team colour.

So glad to see this colour for the first time since Force India’s first winter test.

 

Renault

Renault 2018

Keeping the Renault two-tone wasn’t the plan originally, but it ended up working quite well. The black and yellow contrast enough for logos to be perfectly visible and the combination is one that just about always works perfectly.

I’d attempted a mainly yellow car, but ended up with the opposite; a sleek black design with a fair amount of yellow piping. I’ve attempted to make good use of the newly introduced halo (which is universally regarded as hideous) with the piping. How teams make use of this feature with their 2018 liveries will be a key factor in overall looks.

Simple and not overly complicated designs executed well can be some of the most memorable.

 

Red Bull

Red Bull 2018

Red Bull have unleashed a monster recently with the all blue ‘disruption’ livery which will almost certainly only be used in winter testing. Realistically, we’ll be seeing the navy blue and red for the 2018 season, and I’ve daringly avoided yellow too where possible. I’ve taken a chapter from the new Toro Rosso book in doing so, keeping the bull and logo super clean in red only, where the yellow outline almost looked out of place in 2017 in comparison to the rest of the livery.

The other elements of the design, being the red lines along the body, are slightly thicker and are cut off at an angle. There are also additional lines, underlining the Red Bull logo, as well as on the wing end plates.

 

Mercedes

Mercedes 2018

Mercedes always presents a challenge, in that I can never seem to make a good looking silver livery. Every single time it ends up looking plain and boring, so I go to colour extremes. As I did last year, and the year before, I’ve piled on the black, as it adds some interest to what really is a bit of a dull colour in silver.

I’ve kept true to Mercedes’ love for the airbrush gradient application of colour with the turquoise on silver, whilst keeping the edges between the black and turquoise sharp along the sidepod and nose lines of the car. There’s also a subtle black section along the bottom of the car, slightly reducing the amount of silver used, whilst accentuating the natural curves of the car.

The black also helps many of the logos pop out to the viewer, where they stand out less on the silver. Plain black also looks better than the dirty looking airbrushed black on the engine cover in recent years.

 

McLaren

McLaren 2018

This is probably the car I’ve had the most frustration with in terms of design. I believe McLaren understand that the strong orange livery in 2017 wasn’t very well received, so perhaps in hope, I’ve gone with papaya orange that everyone rightfully rages about and wishes to see in 2018.

The design is rather plain as the papaya orange is surprisingly difficult to complement with other colours. I’ve gone with black instead of the blue used in IndyCar as that was more a Indy throwback, but kept it to a minimum, with flashes on the halo, airbox, very rear of the engine cover and wing end plates.

Again, not in love with this by any means, but am sure McLaren will want to move on from their Honda disaster with a turn in the right livery colour direction.

 

Haas

Haas 2018

This design is seemingly irrelevant now as I’d started it back when the Maserati Haas rumour were lingering. Either way, I’ve followed the main Haas theme in splitting the colours half way up the sidepod, but in this instance, half charcoal grey and half blue.

The blue adds a bit of colour to what has was a very dull affair last year, with the white wing end plates especially opening the car up slightly. The white flashes act as a partial separation of the blue and grey, with some extra white sections wholly in the blue on the engine cover and rear of the sidepod. All white sections bordered on one edge with a red pinstripe.

A shame that this rumour never turned out to be true, but at least we’re in for less grey in 2018.

 

Force India

Force India 2018

Or is it FORCE F1? Either way, the pink panther has also been very tough to design. I attempted using just two shades of pink which didn’t turn out very well, and ended up with just pink and black, this time with a vapourwave (quite a stretch, I know) feel.

The four sections of  angular lines work in layers, and use odd shapes to fill up sections of the car without logos. They both create a feeling of unease, jutting against the grain, but also a sense of calm, cutting along the cars curves, especially on the nose section. The black wings work well against the largely bright pink car.

 

Ferrari

Ferrari 2018

Finally, Ferrari, in ditching Santander, have opened us up to the hope of getting rid of the majority of white on the car and reintroducing black as the secondary colour. This paired with the removal of the suspiciously Marlboro looking Scuderia logo from online media channels means we may even have an attractive engine cover too.

I have gone with some more black, mainly on the engine cover and wing end plates, but also along the bottom of the car. Flashes too have been added on both ends of the halo, as well as the tip of the nosecone.

I don’t know how Ferrari get away with it year after year, perhaps we get used to it very quickly, but their logo arrangement on the sidepod is quite jarring and makes designing a complete and beautiful livery very difficult. Red, white, brown and yellows of different hues is a bit of a nightmare. They’ve been doing it for years but somehow, it never specifically receives much negative feedback. Perhaps there will be more hope next year.

 

So they were my mockups for the 2018 Formula 1 season. Any in particular that you liked, or perhaps didn’t? Do you feel you have any improvements of your own? Let me know below!

Livery Mockups – 2017 F1 Helmet Liveries

I had some spare time over the summer break earlier this year and thought I’d mess around in Photoshop, to see which drivers’ helmet designs would translate well onto cars. Some fared better than others, while some I couldn’t get to work at all, which is why I don’t have a full ‘grid’ below. I’ve also made sure not to use any logos, which really accentuates the design. It’s helped me notice that while I love simple helmet designs, these end up looking the emptiest on an F1 car. Finally decided to post them up, so check them out below!

Fernando Alonso

Alonso

The colours and design work well on a car for Alonso, and I haven’t had to stray much at all from the helmet. Colour distribution makes this look a lot more yellow than the helmet, but I don’t feel it suffers much for it.

Valtteri Bottas

Bottas v4

Love Valtteri’s helmet, but without sponsorship, the lack of detail leads to quite a plain livery. I don’t hate it, but would be very sponsor friendly!

Marcus Ericsson

Ericsson

Marcus added some sparkle this year, and while this isn’t my preference, made for a decent looking F1 livery. The lines seem to flow nicely along the car and look nice and aggressive.

Lewis Hamilton

Hamilton

Struggled to get Lewis’ design to ‘fit’ on a car, therefore, the three stripes do look quote chunky. Not my favourite, but I do look forward to the day that we see a metallic candy apple red/maroon car on the grid.

Nico Hulkenberg

Hulkenberg

While I kinda despise Huklenberg’s new helmet, which went from unique to awfully generic at the start of the season, it works pretty well on the car. Definitely helped by the white section on the airbox, even the circus tent pattern looks alright over the entire car.

Daniil Kvyat

Kvyat

Almost unrecognisable without the Red Bull logo! Side on helmet design is well suited to the car, and has an almost entirely different personality minus the sponsorship.

Kevin Magnussen

Magnussen

I have to say I never really paid attention to Magnussen’s helmet until I made this, but I’m glad I did, because it’s a great design despite being mostly silver/grey. The giant stylised K fits well on the engine cover and the colours are simple, but pop with the red. The stripey pattern makes for a good, subtle secondary design.

Felipe Massa

Massa

This is one that I thought would never worked, but is actually OK! The rear of the car is quite plain with the solid yellow, but toward the front, the hexagonal patterns are quite interesting. The design flows well along the nose.

Esteban OconOcon

This is slightly ruined by my lack of design skills, sourcing a picture of bubbles on the internet, but that aside, Ocon’s colour choice is quite basic and monotonous (I wonder if it will be back next year, it’s quite gimmicky I feel), but the design flows well enough along the body.

Jolyon Palmer

Palmer

One of my favourites. Colour choice is slightly on and not entirely complementary, but the white stripe works really well, flowing effortlessly from the nose to the airbox. Nice little colour split from the top to the bottom as well.

Kimi Raikkonen

Raikkonen

Whether it’s the design of my lack of artistic skills, this livery looks very disjointed on a car compared to Kimi’s helmet. Lots of lines jutting at different angles makes me a little uncomfortable!

Lance Stroll

Stroll

What’s probably my favourite helmet looks a little boring on an F1 car! I’m sure I could have taken some liberties to spice this up a little, but going for realism leads to some lack of excitement.

 

Had a go at a few other helmets, but just couldn’t seem to get anything flowing for them. Let me know what you think of the above!