Livery of the Day – Jordan 198

Jordan had some of the most loved liveries of all time in Formula 1. Their Benson & Hedges sponsorship got off to a sketchy start with the gold cars which ended up looking brown on camera, before moving to the yellow that they became so well known for. There was a fantastic progression with these liveries, each year evolving just enough to stay fresh. While they were all great, I can only choose one to single out, so let’s look at the 198.

Jordan 198 6

1998 was a coming of age for the team. In came stalwart champion Damon Hill after a brief and very frustrating year with Arrows to partner the promising young German Ralf Schumacher. It turned out to be a great move, as Hill scored Jordan’s maiden Grand Prix victory (albeit controversially) on his way to 6th in the Championship. Jordan would finish 4th in the constructors championship, the best result in their history up to that point.

Damon Hill of Great Britain and Jordan Mugen Honda

For me, this livery is possibly the strongest of the B&H era, and probably my favourite ‘Buzzin Hornets’ iteration. The most important part of the livery is perfect here. The strong, warm yellow is so pleasant to look at in any light, where the fluorescent yellow in later versions was slightly jarring. This also meant the black accompanying it worked in perfect harmony, and there was plenty of it here. The large dark presence on the sidepods and nose left a strong impression, but ended perhaps to abruptly on the latter.

Jordan 198 4


Then there’s the part that many remember so fondly, even though it’s quite a minor part of the livery in terms of scale. The hornet on the side of the nose is a brilliant idea, replacing 1997’s snake, and I wonder if this or the non-tobacco slogan came first. It’s a fantastic graphic, despite not exactly being an attractive creature, but really sets the tone for the theme of the livery, which other sections add to so well to. It makes clever use of the front wing supports and ever so slightly bleeds onto the top of the nose, creating a 3D feel.

Damon Hill

The creativity in this design comes to the fore when looking from a higher angle. The jagged, angled, black stripes work brilliantly along the engine cover, as they do creeping over the top of the sidepods, bringing the hornet theme to life in exceptional fashion. Even the straight, rectangular Mugen Honda section fits in nicely when it really has no right to.

Damon Hill

The black wings with yellow end plates are exactly what is needed to complete this design. It helps the nose blend into the wing, although as mentioned above, I’d have loved to see this section worked into the yellow of rest of the a little more softly.

Jordan 198 5

It’s a great looking car from every angle. The design makes perfect use of every curve and crevice, and despite having potential to be a brilliant two tone livery, the MasterCard colours blend in very well and end up being very welcome third and fourth colours.

Livery of the Day – Jordan 198

Livery of the Day – Williams FW21

Williams 1

At the end of the 20th century, the Williams team spent 2 seasons in unfamiliar colours. After spending their entire history mainly in white or blue (bar the FW05 and perhaps the FW04), many criticised the red Williams’ cars, which especially in 1998, looked a little too similar to one particular Italian team.

The 1998 machine, the FW20
The 1998 machine, the FW20.

For four seasons, Williams enjoyed enormous success in what are now the infamous Rothmans liveries. The big change for 1998, apart from the raft of new regulations, was new sponsorship from Winfield. The 1998 livery was a shock to the F1 world, in the fact it was a red Williams. At the same time, however, the livery itself wasn’t ground-breaking. It was a pleasing livery and the design itself wasn’t bad, but something was off for me, perhaps the shade of red, or the cluttered look of some of the logos. After a lacklustre 1998 season by Williams’ standards, more changes were to come for 1999. Two new drivers in Alexander Zanardi and Ralf Schumacher, and despite having the same main sponsors, an all new livery, and what a livery it was!

The livery on the new FW21 featured a brighter shade of red and a lot more white. The red sections were spiced up with what I would call tear designs, tearing from yellow to red on the nose, front of the sidepods and airbox, and red to blue toward the rear axle. Perhaps this is where Toyota got the idea. Along with that, the top half of the car, as if painted from a birds eye view, is in white, cutting sharply along the body lines of the nose, all the way to the rear of the car. This area has a red inset for another Winfield logo in front of the cockpit. Speaking of the Winfield logo, a new one had been designed since the end of the 1998 season, and therefore, the improved version adorned the 1999 car.

The use of the car’s lines, with the red and white placed as it has been, is some of the most natural and aesthetically pleasing livery design of all time. Seeing the red, yellow and blue split by the white along the car’s natural lines pleases me more than it should. Due to the colour placement, every logo, from Veltins to Nortel, looks as though it belongs on the car, without any forcibly coloured areas, a la Total.

Williams 5

It is an almost faultless livery. If anything did disturb the livery, it would be the Brother logo, as it is the only logo on the car that is blue on white, rather than black or red. However, this truly is nit-picking. Hell, Woody Woodpecker doesn’t really bother me on this!

There is plenty of nostalgic value in this for me due to my extensive playing of F1 Challenge, but I don’t think this has overly distorted my opinion of this livery. Unfortunately (for me anyway), Williams was to be sponsored by Compaq in the new millennium, which would be the beginning of a new era and another infamous livery.

The FW21 livery is quite possibly my favourite livery of all time. It isn’t as fondly remembered as its predecessor, nor its successor, and perhaps this is due to the lack of results while the livery adorned the cars, or possibly just its brief lifespan. A true beauty and a shame it didn’t last longer than a single season.

Livery of the Day – Williams FW21