Round-Up – Formula e 2019-20

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.

★★★

Nissan e.dams

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 Racing

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.

★★★

GEOX Dragon

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!

★★★★☆

DS Techeetah

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.

★★★★

Bonus Awards

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.

Round-Up – Formula e 2019-20

Round-Up – Formula E 2016-2017 Field

Lots of hype around season 3, with new teams joining including a big manufacturer in Jaguar and the promise of new, faster and better looking cars. Here’s a look into just how well the teams have pulled off their liveries this season, after the opening round in Hong Kong.

DS Virgin Racing

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DS Virgin have hung on to Sam Bird for the new season, whilst making the surprise signing of triple WTCC champion José María López, who will make his Formula E debut at 33.

The livery is more or less the same as last year with purple on the top, chrome silver on the sides, black on the sidepods and red accents on the wing(lets). The most notable change is the actual purple colours they’ve chosen, which apart from being more reflective, is also a more vibrant shade, which really opens up the livery as it looked quite drab last season.

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The biggest change to the physical appearance of the cars this season is the bulkier front wings, which now feature elements almost acting as wheel arches along the top. Virgin have used this space well, adding more purple, which looks great.

I can’t tell if they’ve used a lighter shade of silver to border the purple sections, or if they’ve cleverly placed the normal colour to appear that way with the reflection of the silver, but either way, it too a nice piece of design.

★★★☆

NextEV NIO

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Piquet and Turvey remain at NextEV this season after a quite appalling season 2. However, where Virgin improved its livery, NextEV took a step backward. Whilst this livery also hasn’t changed dramatically, their colour choice went south. The bright cyan is gone and has been replaced by a darker, metallic aqua colour. I don’t despise this new colour, but I definitely feel as though it is inferior to the old one.

nextev-16-17-3

The design itself is still quite attractive, with the thick diagonal stripe on the side of the cockpit, which then goes over the cockpit and engulfing most of the top of the car. There’s a new design on the rear, with some thin coloured lines in the shape of forward arrows, much like their logo. Not a bad design, but with other yellow/red accents and green/red inside the roll hoop, perhaps there are a few too many colours on the car.

nextev-16-17-2

These lines are only noticeable from certain angles or on closer inspection, so from the TV cameras, it’s still a pretty uniform livery. Not too bad overall, but certainly a downgrade.

★★★

Venturi Formula E Team

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Maro Engel comes in to replace Mike Conway at Venturi for Season 3, with Jacques Villeneuve nowhere to be seen! The livery has been changed this season, with the matte black gone in favour of classic glossy black. As I mentioned in my launch post, it does give me FC Basel vibes, but is in itself a very unique livery.

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The secondary colours here are blue and red and are used evenly. The main design is on the sidepod, where the two colours are placed side by side in an interesting fashion. I find my self describing this as a 90 degree design, with red and blue sections folding over the top and side of the sidepods, going half way down each side. The ends of these sections are squared off, giving it a look I’ve never seen before on a racing car.

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The rest of the car is mostly black, with a red section in front of the cockpit and blue on the tip of the nose and front wing. In this case odd and different work in Venturi’s favour and I approve of this livery!

★★★★

Faraday Future Dragon Racing

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Dragon have kept the same two drivers for season 3, but have a new partner in Faraday Future, and have created a lot of buzz with their exciting new livery. The striking new design features the Faraday logo in an increasing size from front to back, creating a colour gradient which fades from black to white.

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However, the fun doesn’t stop there. The direction of the gradient is the opposite on each car! This means Duval’s car is mainly white, whilst d’Ambrosio’s car is mainly black. While at first it seems like a great way to differentiate between the drivers, it can end up being a little more confusing. I recall back to when Ford Performance Racing tried this with Winterbottom and Davison and whilst many thought it was a good idea at first, it personally made things even more confusing on the track. Hopefully it’s a little more distinguishable in this front to back colour orientation, as opposed to side to side on the Falcons.

faraday-dragon-16-17-3

That aside, the design itself is fantastic. Great and subtle use of the Faraday Future logo, despite it being plastered all over the car, and a really pleasant use of texture which can often be unpleasant when used over an entire car. All of this is wonderful, but the third colour is pivotal to the livery looking complete. The use of burnt orange on the roll hoop, mirrors, nose and front wing add a needed touch of colour, and a classy one at that. It’s a great car to look at from any angle, although if I had to choose, I’d have to say I prefer d’Ambrosio’s mainly black livery.

★★★★★

Renault e.Dams

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No changes at Renault for season 3 in terms of drivers, but the livery on the other hand is completely new. I say it every time, but colour is the most important part of a livery and Renault have absolutely NAILED it with this blue. This bright and open shade of blue is stunning. A plain livery in this colour would have been just fine, but the design takes things to another level of beauty.

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Black wings often make cars look great and these matte black wings are no exception. They add a lovely contrast, and along with the perfectly placed yellow stripes, add some extra colour and necessary extra design elements to a simple livery. There’s nothing wrong with this livery, but I do feel teams should be looking past the tacky circuit board electronic futuristic designs, like on the sidepods and engine cover of the Renault.

★★★★☆

I’ve since been informed that it’s not at all a circuit board design, but in fact a design matching the “honeycomb” on the rear of the Renault F1 car this year. Thanks for alerting me to this guys!

ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport

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ABT too have retained both drivers for the new season, but have kept their very distinctive colours. I instantly prefer this year’s design as their don’t appear to be any weird airbrushed sections. The colour combination I’m sure is still a little jarring for some, but I can’t help but find some enjoyment in seeing red, green and yellow alongside each other. The design itself if very nice, especially the green sidepod section which is split sharply from the red, as well as the yellow on the top front wing element.

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In fact the yellow elements are quite well placed all over the car, although I’d have preferred to see it thicker on the nose, closer to the edge and having less of a point at the tip.

From what I can tell, all the colours are split by thin silver lines, which I feel may be helping separate the colours a bit better than if they were connected directly. The only thing I’m really confused about is the jumbled lettering on the side of the car and roll hoop. Just a strange design choice which I don’t feel looks very nice and alternatives such as simple flat colours, or perhaps pinstripes, would have worked a lot better.

★★★★

Mahindra Racing Formula E Team

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Ladies and gentlemen, this is why you put the call out to the fans. You get a vast range of lovely designs to choose from, and you may even pick something as lovely as this! One lucky fan had their livery chosen to be used on the Mahindra cars this season and it looks great.

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Lots of red and white stripes on this one, which follow the lines of the car beautifully, something that hasn’t been attempted much with these somewhat blocky Formula E cars. It’s all uniform too and black wings, as I mentioned earlier, will work with anything.

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However, the longer I look at it, and the more I look back at the season 2 livery, the more design similarities I see. The front and rear wing end plates are identical, the front cockpit/nose design is almost the same but with different colours (and slightly different shaping), the roll-hoop is the same…either the fan livery designer was very unoriginal or perhaps the winning design wasn’t by a fan at all! #conspiracy! Either way, it does leave me feeling as though I was duped, which is a shame because it really is a nice looking livery, and one that looked so fresh when I first saw it. Hmm.

★★★

Panasonic Jaguar Racing

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Everybody had high hopes for this livery. Jaguar was back in single seaters and what were they most recently known for in open wheel racing? British racing green! The hype was real. And then they launched their car. Unfortunately, what we got was grey, with a gimmicky circuit board electronic design. Perhaps I’m becoming more cynical the further I go into this round-up, but I’m really disappointed by this.

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As mentioned above, it’s a base colour of charcoal grey, with light blue thin parallel lines going around the car, notably from the rear to the roll hoop and from the cockpit, wrapping around the nose, in a circuit board fashion.

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I can’t blame Jaguar for the hype, but I can blame them for a somewhat generic design and  pinching NextEV’s colours.

★☆

Techeetah

Processed with Snapseed.

The new Chinese team have a great scalp in Jean-Éric Vergne, who they successfully attracted to move from DS Virgin, and have brought in Ma Qinghua, the experienced, albeit mostly unsuccessful Chinese driver who drove in four races of Team Aguri last season. Lotus Techeetah have gone for black and gold for their first livery. It is of course very reminiscent of Lotus, but not the beautiful JPS machines of the 70s and 80s, rather the underwhelming imitations of the last few years in F1. The spiked design created with the gold and red really do cast my mind back to the Lotus’ of 2014 and 2015, and it’s a shame because I never found those liveries to be very attractive.

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That said, they’ve tried something new here, with both matte and glossy black creating a subtle black on black design which is difficult to make out from a distance (on further inspection it may just be glossy grey). The gold is reflective which is at least some point of difference and is mostly well placed, especially on the front wing and in front of the rear wheels. However, whilst it looks quite nice from the front, the side view is rather uninspiring. The logos also put me off a little bit too, The Peninsula logo especially looks a little too high and the odd one out in white. There are some intricacies, but certainly room for improvement here.

MS Amlin Andretti

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Here’s a nice way to end the round-up! Amlin Andretti looks brilliant this season. Robin Frijns and António Félix da Costa are driving white and blue cars in 2016-17, as opposed to the livery copied over from Team Aguri the season before. The white is mainly allocated to the sides, whilst the reflective blue features on the engine cover, cockpit, nose and wing end plates, and looks far better split evenly with the white as opposed to covering the entire car.

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The white and blue are split perfectly by red/purple ribbons, which edge sharply onto the white but fade slowly into the blue. The use of the car’s lines is perfect here, especially along the nose and cockpit, making it exceptionally visually pleasing in my eyes.

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The red/purple sections curve along the car in varying widths which creates the interesting ribbon effect. All the logos fit the car’s colour scheme, creating a wonderfully uniform design and an overall great design. Great effort from these guys.

★★★★★

A few hits and a few misses for me this season and I’m eagerly anticipating the changes that will be coming. On to round 2!

Round-Up – Formula E 2016-2017 Field

Livery of the Day – Jaguar R1

It was only a matter of time before this beuty came up and with news of Jaguar replacing Trulli in Formula E still fresh in our memories, let’s have a look at what is one of the most universally liked liveries in the history of Formula 1.

Jaguar 6

From 1997 to 1999, Ford supplied engines to Stewart Grand Prix, in what proved to be a reasonably successful partnership at times. However, for the 2000 season, they bought the team from Sir Jackie and branded it Jaguar. They held onto Johnny Herbert and brought in Eddie Irvine, who was newly released from Ferrari. A solid, experienced pair for the new era.

Jaguar 2

Unfortunately, apart from the new Jaguar name, the team’s form continued to be mediocre all the way through to the end of their F1 stint in 2004 (until a certain Red Bull came along) and impressive results were few and far between during this time. The one thing that did consistently impress, however, was the famous green livery.

Not many teams have used green as a main colour for their liveries through the years, and any team that uses or has used green since will provoke memories of the Jaguar cars. These liveries are all very similar and all are fantastic, but my narrow winner for favourite has to be the original, the R1.

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Firstly, what a brilliant choice of colour. British racing green as it is called, is a lovely deep green, slightly reflective and metallic, and just beautifully classy. The Jaguar outline on the engine cover, which was carried on in a way by the “Red Bull” now that I think of it, is low key, sleek and adds a bit of spark to an otherwise low key livery. The main design element however, is the thick white area which goes along the length the side, from the sidepod to the nose. It is bordered by a pinstripe of red and the whole area is a pefect fit with the green, breaking it up very well. I only wish it had ended closer to the tip of the nose rather than at the front wing mounts.

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The important thing with this livery is that all the sponsors fit well. It has to be said, HSBC looked great on the Stewart too and despite the logo mostly being in black, having it on a white background makes it fit in seamlessly. What took this over the line in comparison to the later liveries are the Becks logo, which looked a little overstated on the 2001 car and the blue EDS logos on the front wing in the 2001-2003 cars, whereas the red DHL logo matches far better.

An interesting design element on this livery is the gradient on the front wing. It sharply fades from green to white, which is interesting, but doesn’t quite suit the car and looks out of place quite frankly. It’s odd and perhaps something you wouldn’t have noticed at first glance.

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The R5 livery was also a very nice livery. It was the most different of the five as it didn’t use any of the letters in HSBC logo, and it worked very well, but something about having the letters on the R1 livery make it feel more complete for me. Then again, the more I look at it, the less sure I am which livery is my favourite!

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Unfortunately, if the render shown with the press release is anything to go by, they won’t be going down the same path. It looks like another ‘futuristic’, electronic livery will be present on the grid next season, which is a theme that is quickly becoming common and tired. A shame because it is a nice livery, but lacks any originality. However, they’ve only just announced their participation, so there is still hope of seeing British racing green in a top single seater series once again!

 

 

Livery of the Day – Jaguar R1