2015 Liveries: The Verdict!

There was a fair amount of optimism about the 2015 livery season, with the prospect of several teams making significant changes and introducing bold new designs and sponsors into the sport. Of course, that was all somewhat dampened by that McLaren non-event of a launch, not to mention the growing threat of F1’s grid shrinking to the smallest it’s ever been; but even so, there have been at least a few small developments to get excited about. So let’s do our customary annual team-by-team run through…

For this year, I’m bringing back the points system that I used in 2012 and 2013 (but dropped for last year), to give a reflection of how each livery scores in an assortment of different categories. Each category has up to five points available, making for a score out of 20, and here’s what they all mean:

Colours: Are the individual colours themselves good choices? And more importantly, how well do they go together?
Design: How the colours are actually applied to the car, and in particular whether they fit well with the lines of it.
Sponsors: Having a good portfolio of sponsors scores points, but so too does integrating them effectively with the livery rather than just slapping on multi-coloured stickers.
Originality: Does it offer anything new to the grid’s portfolio? Or if it’s based on an old design, does it at least freshen things up?
Bonus points: Additional marks can be given for anything I like about the livery that doesn’t fall in the above (but can’t take it above a maximum score of 20)

In practice, a car that scores 14 or above is well-regarded, 10-13 is decent, and anything in single figures is a disappointment. And to keep a sense of suspense, let’s run through them in ascending order of their score. Bet you can’t guess which one that means we do first…

McLaren Honda

Colours: 4/5
Honestly, in principle there’s nothing at all wrong with silver, black and red. They’re great colours for an F1 car. But…
Design: 1/5
They’ve been applied with no thought or care here, and look awful.
Sponsors: 1/5
And McLaren are still without a title sponsor, which is an unacceptable state of affairs.
Originality: 1/5
And they haven’t bothered to come up with a new livery despite pretending they were going to.

Total: 7/20

Manor Marussia F1 Team

Colours: 3/5
Red white and black are a good combo, but I don’t really like this more orangey shade. The darker red on the team uniforms looks much better.
Design: 2/5
Well, it exists. It’s simple and workmanlike, neither stylish nor ugly.
Sponsors: 0/5
Can’t give them points for sponsors when they don’t have any!
Originality: 2/5
It’s basically last year’s Marussia, but they have at least made a small tweak by removing the black panels from the side.
Bonus points: 2
One because nobody ever expected them to have a proper livery at this stage anyway (they’ve been more concerned with just getting on the grid). And one for looking more like the McLaren should have done than the McLaren does.

Total: 9/20

Infiniti Red Bull Racing

Colours: 2/5
Terrific shade of blue, which goes well with the red and yellow, but by gum the purple spoils it.
Design: 2/5
Making the lines more solid (as opposed to the spray-paint) has had a negative rather than positive effect.
Sponsors: 3/5
Funny that a team who are basically themselves a sponsor are also one of the few to get a separate title sponsor. Really like how the Red Bull text on the monocoque now looks.
Originality: 3/5
At least there’s been an attempt to mix it up this year, even if it’s not successful.

Total: 10/20

Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team

Colours: 4/5
It still feels like the discovery that the silver and turquoise go so well together was an accident: but it’s a happy accident. A point off the usual 5/5, though, for there being too much black now.
Design: 3/5
It looks better now it’s less spray-painty, but both the black and turquoise sections still feel a bit wishy-washy.
Sponsors: 3/5
Can’t fault how they’re integrated on the car, but it’d be nice to see more of them.
Originality: 2/5
While they’ve tended to make subtle changes since its introduction in 2010, it’s still basically a five-year-old design now – and pretty much identical to the latter part of last season.

Total: 12/20

Scuderia Toro Rosso

Colours: 3/5
Lovely combo of metallic blue, red and gold works better than Red Bull’s.
Design: 4/5
I say it every year, but I still think the bull should be got rid of. Otherwise, though, I like the gold/red flashes and the rear wing works well too. It’s a lot smarter than the earliest STRs.
Sponsors: 3/5
Still a little sparse, but it’s good that they’ve got a few of their own that are distinct from Red Bull, and none of them clash.
Originality: 2/5
Kudos for mixing it up a little bit each year, but not enough for the new car reveal to ever be exciting.

Total: 12/20

Scuderia Ferrari

Colours: 3/5
If they ever go back to proper rosso corsa, we’ll give them a 5/5. Until then, nope.
Design: 3/5
Nothing especially wrong with this, although nor is it particularly exciting. Lines flow better than last year, we just wish there was more black on the wings.
Sponsors: 3/5
They’ve got a pretty good array of sponsors, and Santander suits the car well – but that UPS logo is still a glaring problem.
Originality: 1/5
Nobody deserves credit for painting a Ferrari red and white. Not that it should ever be anything else, of course.
Bonus points: 2
To make up for the fact that, although it loses out on originality, Ferrari are the one team who are allowed to be that way.

Total: 13/20

Sauber F1 Team

Felipe Nasr (BRA), Sauber F1 Team. Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Colours: 3/5
Nice to see yellow back on the grid in some form, but there’s already enough blue around and that shade is more plastic than metallic.
Design: 3/5
Simple and smart. No great shakes, but doesn’t do much wrong, and the new nose bit helps enormously.
Sponsors: 2/5
The ones they have are integrated nicely, but they don’t have very many, and could yet end up with even fewer.
Originality: 4/5
I’ve slated Sauber so often on this site for being dull and boring with their livery that I have to applaud them for surprising us with something COMPLETELY new. Even if it does look like a mid-90s Ligier.
Bonus points: 1

Total: 13/20

Lotus F1 Team

Colours: 4/5
Well, you know what we’re going to say: this would be a 5 for the black and gold (and a cleaner shade of the latter than the metallic style of previous years), but a point dropped for chucking clashy red in there.
Design: 4/5
Much improved on previous years. Still doesn’t look much like a JPS car (only the 2011 one was ever close) but aside from the red bits it’s highly smart.
Sponsors: 4/5
Once again: would be a 5, for a good array of backers who all fit the colour scheme, if not for sodding PDVSA.
Originality: 2/5
One point above the standard “you just nicked the JPS livery” 1/5 for having the decency to actually come up with fresh lines (and change the colour tones a bit) this time around.

Total: 14/20

Sahara Force India F1 Team

Colours: 4/5
Silver and black, with orange trim? Yes please. The addition of subtle green maybe overcooks it, though.
Design: 3/5
Perfectly functional, maybe just a little lacking in excitement.
Sponsors: 4/5
Terrific work: they’ve actually got lots of sponsors (even if several are owned by the same two companies) and every single logo is coloured to fit in with the livery. That’s how it’s done.
Originality: 4/5
I wanted to give them top marks for the way they blew our socks off on launch day: but I have to drop a point for its similarity (if in inverse) to the McLaren.

Total: 15/20

Williams Martini Racing

Colours: 4/5
Definitely the right choice of base colour to go with those gorgeous Martini stripes.
Design: 3/5
The larger Martini stripe on the engine cover improves it, but still a bit sparse in some areas. Dark wings help to break things up, though.
Sponsors: 4/5
A nice proper old-fashioned title sponsor, and adding Rexona helps to boost the overall portfolio.
Originality: 2/5
Only a slight tweak from last year, and of course it’s piggy-backing on a classic design anyway.
Bonus points: 2
Because it’s still gorgeous even with the flaws mentioned above.

Total: 15/20

So there we have it: unsurprisingly, Williams hold on to top spot despite only minor changes from last year, but they’re joined by Force India, who get massive kudos for something genuinely new (for them, at least) and an incredibly smart application of sponsors. Even less of a shock is my thinly-veiled contempt for the McLaren, while Mercedes are disappointingly samey and Red Bull disappointingly ugly. Honourable mentions, too, for Sauber and Lotus, two teams who’ve copped flak from me in recent years but have done solid jobs for 2015.

So that’s my take: what do you reckon?

11 Comments on 2015 Liveries: The Verdict!

  1. fandericciardo3 // March 12, 2015 at 4:40 pm // Reply

    Whoa, Sauber 4th best for your livery verdict. Not bad 🙂

    • fandericciardo3 // March 12, 2015 at 5:13 pm // Reply

      oh, and I also have my take too! This took time to put my opinions.

      1: Williams – “Still the Best”
      2: Force India – “I liked the orange-white-green Force India than the black Force India, but this was a nice effort done for the team.”
      3: Lotus – “Last year I didn’t like the livery with that twin-tusk nose, but now, this is getting better and deserves a Top 3 place.”
      4: Mercedes – “If they placed the Hugo Boss logo at the airbox, like McLaren did in their Hugo Boss days, I would put this on the Top 3, but they didn’t do that and I’ve put Merc a position down on my list. Good by the way.”
      5: Sauber – “It just nearly got to be a sponsorless Sauber, but the Banco do Brasil sponsorship saved this from being sponsorless. However, it has a good colour, and the livery along with the sponsors look OK for me. Good effort for Sauber, then!”
      6: Ferrari – “Alfa Romeo on the car, replacing Fiat…some F1 fans would like it.”
      7: Toro Rosso – “The nose that this STR had at its launch – I liked that better, but the new one they unveiled at the Barcelona test can be similar to Red Bull’s, in a way.”
      8: Red Bull – “I like the camo dazzle livery, but this one is an OK effort. I describe this as a modern Red Bull livery with modern colours in terms of colour codes.”
      9: McLaren – “I like its front nose, but the car livery, as considered to be the most disliked livery of 2015, it’s a sponsorless McLaren…”
      10: Manor – “The colours work well, but it’s a sponsorless car.”

  2. Agreed! Except for the McLaren… at first I found it really dull and unimaginative too, but it grow on me. Imagine a big white Mobil 1 logo on the black sides and it could look really good!

  3. A shame Williams still aren’t doing the proper Martini Racing Overalls:

  4. bert van marenswoud // March 13, 2015 at 10:45 pm // Reply

    Nice piece, I do enjoy your site. On topic, McLaren could and should do a better livery. Williams just still did not get it perfect yet, maybe next year. Mercedes that engine cover is just ugly, red bull actually works for me, sauber blue is just not the right colour, Force india is nice but lacks colour, Ferrari’s red is off as you so rightfully note, Lotus not really, steel a design and then tweak it, manor see you when you drive.The most sad thing is the lack of sponsors on more than half the grid, and howmany teams are their own sponsors. F1 is not doing a good job there, it’s actually failing miserable and losing fast. I do not think at the end of the season all cars will still be here.

    • Totally agree, the lack of sponsors on all of the cars must be a bit of a worry. But then having no sponsors is not an excuse to have a dull livery, you have all that free space and no constraints!

  5. 1: Williams – Classic livery, and good job with the other sponsors in blue or white, its a shame the nose on the FW37 looks so bad.
    2: Force India – I do like the Force India scheme, a good evolution and much better than last years.
    3: Lotus – Every season they have improved something with this classic livery and done something elsewhere to ruin it. The caps and overalls are awful this season, last years was so much better. The red PDVSA logos really spoil it.
    4: Toro Rosso – If it ain’t broke… again a better Red Bull than RBR, I like the gold and red stripes, good balance to the scheme.
    5: Ferrari – Again, new sponsors, wrong red, tidier than last year, please, please change the UPS logo!
    6: Mercedes – Similar to Lotus, the side pods are better but the air box/engine cover is poor, good to see new sponsors though. The PETRONAS green should be bolder and have a more obvious blend like the Valvoline and Corona Walker Racing Champ Cars.
    7: Sauber – Same template as last season, just coloured in with Microsoft paint! It did stand out during the race though.
    8: Red Bull – The camo livery was great, the new race livery is poor, the purple block is just wrong, if they had kept the camo livery and changed black/white to dark blue/purple that could have been number one!
    9: Manor – Last years scheme without the black and sponsors, actually works quite well, looks a bit GP2 though. I’m sure this will change, if not race by race, but when the 2015 car comes out.
    10: McLaren – nothing new to add here, same as no new title sponsor, boo McLaren!

  6. Bert van Marenswoud // March 30, 2015 at 10:03 am // Reply

    Noticed in Malaysia that the black from McLaren has a silver flake in it that becomes visable when under direct sunlight. Nice touch but not enough, find a sponsor, bring some upbeat colours to your car, how hard could that be.

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  8. 11. McLaren 2nd livery…. Boring and the red streak over the nose makes it looks like it is swollen… 2/10
    10.Red Bull. Too much colours, TOO ******* MUCH. Red, yellow, white, purple and blue are a poor mix, with the Purple especially ruining the car. the sponsor of the monocoque is just another distraction. utter mess, 3/10
    9. McLaren original livery. Seems to hark back to the 2006-2013 cars, but with the difference that most of these actually were good, and not half black. nice try but very poorly executed. 4/10
    8. Manor. Looks like an interim livery, and is very empty. the shade of red makes the car look like it’s been in the sun for too long. still a sympathetic attempt, 4/10
    7. Sauber. colours look plastic, very uninspired and backmarkerish. 5.5/10
    6. Mercedes. black area is executed poorly and looks very atrificial, and doesn’t suit the rest of the livery. please either add more black, or leave it out. 6.5/10
    5. Williams, yeah…. side pods could use some filling, 7/10
    4. Ferrari. It’s red, no-nonsense and the car looks good too. red still looks a bit faded, though, could be darker, 7/10
    3. Lotus. Luckily, there is a lot less red on the car compared to it’s predecessor. Lines are neat, sponsors well ordered, 7.5/10
    2. Toro Rosso, looks like a posh RB, without the woeful clusterfuck of colours, 8/10
    1. Force India. Looks like what a McLaren should look like. 8.5/10

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