Round-Up – Formula e 2017-18

As the first round concludes in Hong Kong, there is no better time to have a look at the how the Formula e grid lined up for the first two races of the new season.

Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler

Audi Digrassi 2

Abt Schaeffler is back for another year and this time with increased investment from Audi, which has now become an official manufacturer in the series. Di Grassi and Abt remain as drivers, as we see some significant changes to the team’s livery.

Audi has taken charge of the team and in doing so, the livery. Thankfully it’s not devoid of personality like their final WEC effort and have kept some of the original Abt Schaeffler character with the large green portion, although the distinctive yellow is now gone. Although I never disliked the yellow, it does now seem a little more coordinated with the all the colours not shouting for attention all at once like they were before.

Audi Abt 2

The design is quite angular, as seems to have been the theme for Formula e so far. The main portions of colour are the green on the rear of the car, white on the sidepods and nose and black in front of the cockpit, although there are some interesting disruptions along the side where the colours interject. There is also a great red marking along the side and ‘airbox’ of Abt’s car, allowing for quick and easy distinction between the two cars. While they’ve turned down the colour, they’ve definitely designed a sharper and more refined livery this season.

★★★★☆

 

MS+AD Andretti Formula e

Andretti 3

A big signature for Andretti in the off season, with Kamui Kobayashi joining the team for his first season in Formula e. They’ve also completely changed the livery, which I’m a little disappointed with, because last year’s effort was one of my favourites! The new 2017-18 livery is a two tone teal effort, which annoyingly infringes on NIO’s colour scheme, as they have moved from their grey/teal to a two tone teal livery this season.

Andretti 2

Using another team’s colour like that will lose points for me, especially as it isn’t their first time doing something like this! Remember when Amlin moved from Aguri to Andretti, and Andretti used a near identical livery which confused everyone?

All that aside, the design is strong. It uses the darker teal as the main colour on the car, whilst the lighter teal highlights certain edges of the car. There are also some nice details on the side, similar to their wavy effort last year, but in the new colours. The light teal section on the top of the sidepods give me Sauber vibes which is nice. To distinguish their drivers, they’ve gone with white mirrors and airbox piping for da Costa, and purple for Kobayashi.

★★★★

 

DS Virgin Racing

DS Virgin 5

Sam Bird is back after a strong season 2016-17 and joining him at DS Virgin is fellow Brit Alex Lynn, replacing Lopez. Not much to say here with the livery relatively unchanged.

DS Virgin 7

I am becoming slightly tired of this livery and would have hoped for a least a little bit of tinkering from season to season. Perhaps adding more purple or replacing some of the black for white just to keep things fresh. Instead, it’s getting stale in here.

★★★

 

Dragon Racing

Dragon 4

Duval out and Jani in for Dragon Racing, as they drop Faraday Future from their name entirely. Unfortunately they’ve also dropped their groundbreaking split livery from last season. It was a stunner and unfortunate to have only lasted one season, but it has been replaced with another great split effort.

Dragon 2

They’ve gone with a lovely white and candy apple red colour scheme for Jani and D’Ambrosio respectively, with crisp piping along the edgy bodywork, which does appear to work very well with these design techniques. This red colour is one of my favourites to see on a racing livery, but I believe it looks just a little better with the dark piping on the light main colour as opposed to the reverse.

Dragon 3

The design is intricate with neat little multi stripe segments, such as on the front wing, airbox and especially ‘engine’ cover. A great effort, but I do miss the unique design and burnt orange of last season’s cars.

★★★★☆

 

Panasonic Jaguar Racing

Jaguar

Nelson Piquet Jr. has moved across to join Mitch Evans at Jaguar this season. However, the livery has remained virtually identical. It’s the same futuristic, electric, circuit board themed design that everyone was slightly disappointed with last year after the (perhaps false) expectations of British racing green.

Jaguar 2

Perhaps this disappointment has faded because I don’t dislike this as much as last year and in fact quite like the vibrant cyan colour alongside the deep charcoal. Still not a fan of the gimmicky theme though…

★★☆

 

Mahindra Racing

Mahindra 3

It’s an unchanged line-up and another fan designed livery for Mahindra this year. Or at least I think so, as it looks a lot like last season’s livery with some added blue sections for Renesas. Perhaps they’ve not drawn the winner yet? Either way, this is a step down from last season, which was a very attractive mainly two colour livery with the vibrant red and blue not quite singing in harmony.

Mahindra 2

Not much more to add; it feels like a hurriedly adapted version of the 2016-17 livery for a last minute sponsor addition. Let’s see if anything changes in the coming rounds, because I got similar dodgy vibes last year with the fan livery.

★★☆

NIO Formula E Team

NIO

With Piquet moving over to Jaguar, NIO (now minus NextEV) have brought former IndyCar driver Luca Filippi to drive for the team in season 2017-18. They livery design theme is similar to last season, although with some big colour changes, moving to a two tone teal scheme. I feel like I’m repeating myself! Unfortunately Andretti have infringed on their colour territory, but pulled it off a little better too.

NIO 2

The thick diagonal stripe remains, but is now a dark teal, whilst the rest of the car is split between the dark and light teal. With the distinction between the two colours being very subtle its hard to get excited by this design. It’s just a shame we now have 4 cars in very similar colour schemes.

★★★

 

Renault e.dams

Renault 2

No driver changes and only some subtle livery changes for Renault this season. The main changes are that there is now no yellow whatsoever, the livery now has a glossy finish rather than matte, and black is more pronounced, extending along the sidepods rather than just on the wing end plates and wheel arches.

Renault

It’s still a lovely blue which was the main draw card last season, but the lack of a little punch of vibrant yellow brings it down a notch, and is not as eye catching. Perhaps the slow transition to Nissan has already begun!

★★★☆

Techeetah

Teheetah 2

Techeetah have hired the services of open wheel and endurance veteran Andre Lotterer for season 2017-18, hopefully putting to a stop what was a revolving door of second drivers accompanyin Vergne. They’ve also thankfully made some changes to the livery, although I’m still a little wishy washy about it. It’s a tale of two angles here. In the above picture, it looks stunning. A great mix of black and gold in an edgy, angular design, with the gold looking as though it’s everywhere it needs to be.

Techeetah

However, moving to a lower angle, side profile image, I’m less convinced of its beauty. Here, we get one large chunk of gold, proving that the colour is far prettier in smaller sections, as well as big black areas which look rather empty. I also feel sticking with a two tone black and gold livery would have been nicer than the including the little white sections lining the gold in parts. Either way, a definite upgrade on last year’s low quality effort. The stylised Cheetah on the side is also pretty neat.

★★★☆

 

Venturi Formula E

Venturi

Finally to Venturi, who seem to have a turned a corner in pace, with the quick out of the box Mortara. They had one of the most interesting designs last year and have kept the same theme despite a significant colour change. Unfortunately it’s lost a lot of its charm in this configuration. Much of the sleek black is replaced with a rather dull silver, the two of which don’t work so well together, and the jutting section on the sidepod for ZF and Rohm has not been executed nearly as well this time around. The red lining of this section doesn’t look sharp at all, but I’m not sure if intentional or just an optical illusion from how it sits next to the silver.

Venturi 2

The rest of the design is OK; the red and silver lines underlining Venturi on the black section beneath the cockpit actually looks great. It’s a shame they didn’t stick with black as the main colour and use red, silver and blue accents entirely.

★★☆

 

No 5 star liveries for me this season and unfortunately, mostly downgrades! What are your thoughts? Do you agree with my opinions or was I harsh on any of the teams? What’s your favourite? Let me know what you think below!

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Round-Up – Formula e 2017-18

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

nextev-16-17-1

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

venturi-16-17-2

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.

venturi-16-17-3

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.

venturi-16-17-1

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

faraday-dragon-16-17-2

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.

faraday-dragon-16-17-4

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

renault-e-dams-16-17-2

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.

renault-e-dams-16-17-1

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

abt-schaeffler-16-17-2

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.

abt-schaeffler-16-17-1

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

mahindra-16-17-2

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.

mahindra-16-17-3

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.

mahindra-16-17-4

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

jaguar-16-17-3

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.

jaguar-16-17-2

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.

jaguar-16-17-1

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.

techeetah-16-17-1

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

amlin-andretti-16-17-1

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.

amlin-andretti-16-17-3

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