Launch season is nearly upon us once again; and so what better way to kick things off than with a run through each of the teams on the grid, with a bit of speculation about how each one is going to look?
Unfortunately, 2011 seems to be one of those years where continuity, rather than innovation, is order of the day. It’s unlikely that, for livery fans at least, we’ll get another season like 2010 in a very long time – we had four new teams (if you include Mercedes), each bringing their own distinctive look to the grid, as well as a dramatic new look for Renault. In 2011, however, with the odd exception it seems like most of the teams will look very similar to last year’s models – and, of course, we aren’t getting any new teams this year. Nevertheless, let’s run down the list and see if we can spot any speculatory nuggets of interest…
Red Bull Racing
I still hold out hope that Red Bull will undergo a dramatic livery change at some point, and paint their car to look like a can o’ the red stuff, it ain’t going to happen just after they’ve won the title. Expect the car to look exactly the bloody same yet again.
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
As for Red Bull, see also McLaren. The Woking outfit sparked a bit of excitement recently, when a merchandise page on their site (apparently inadvertently, as the page in question is now empty) revealed a “new collection” of clothing that was all black with a hint of that orangey red of theirs. But no can do, apparently, according to their official Twitter: “Black livery? Er, no: the same Rocket Red & chrome finish that you’ve grown to love since Vodafone McLaren Mercedes was born in 2007…” Er, great.
Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro
After the slap on the wrist for their blatantly-obviously-Marlboro-themed design, we could reasonably expect some changes for the Scuderia this year. And so it’s possibly proving to be – although unconfirmed (and sorry, I don’t know the original source – comment if you do!), the image at left has shown up online, showing a slight change to the engine box design for 2011. Presumably to deflect accusations that it’s just meant to look like a Marlboro packet, the white bit that looks like a Marlboro packet has been slightly reshaped (but enough to still look quite like a Marlboro packet), and says “Scuderia Ferrari” on it, with the prancing horse shield on to boot. This is great, frankly – but not as great as the ’70s-style reintroduction of Italia green to the top bit of the car. More of this sort of thing, I say!
Mercedes GP Petronas F1 Team
Frankly, after they made me look stupid last year by having the car look exactly like their initial mockup despite my brashly claiming it definitely wasn’t going to look like their initial mockup, I’m wary of speculating about Merc at all. But, well, it’ll probably look much the same as last year, won’t it?
Could be interesting. Williams have lost/are losing a lot of sponsors this year – I think both RBS and Philips will be gone, and I don’t even know if they’re actually still going to have AT&T as title sponsors, either (despite the name being on the entry list) – even if they do, though, it’s not like AT&T actually affect the livery much, such is the nature of their odd deal. It’s therefore anybody’s guess as to what the Williams will look like this year, although if I were a betting man, I’d say it will be a fairly workmanlike blue-and-white, with a few sponsors dotted here and there. Would absolutely love it if Frank and co. said “To hell with it” and went back to white and green, though.
Force India F1 Team
They’ve got a good (by which I mean distinctive) livery now; they’ll likely stick with it. Good on ’em.
Sauber F1 Team
We can only hope the 2011 effort is a bit more exciting than the 2010 one. I suspect it will be – imaginatively-named Mexican telecommunications company Telmex are coming onboard this year, and although not necessarily as title sponsors, it’s hard to see where any other livery influence might come from. Telmex’s corporate colours are sky blue and white, which would of course look bloody lovely on a car (think ’98 Benetton), so here’s hoping.
Scuderia Toro Rosso
Whatever. Can they hurry up and get bought by someone so we don’t have this thing every year, now?
If indeed it is even called a Team Lotus by the time the season kicks off. Anyway, the black-and-gold idea was nixed (in my opinion, for the better), so it looks like The Best F1 Livery Of The 21st Century will get another airing in 2011. There are no downsides to this, really.
Hispania Racing F1 Team
You’ve got to hope they go with something a bit more exciting this year, haven’t you? The car improved when it got a redesign partway through 2010, but it still wasn’t exactly very inspiring. Rumours of a possible linkup with Telefonica won’t go away, though – and in the absence of a Renault-looking Renault, perhaps another bright yellow car is exactly what the grid needs.
Marussia Virgin Racing
Despite Marussia being promoted to full title sponsor status, I can’t see them having much of an influence on Virgin’s excellent team identity beyond the way the logos were already laid out in 2010. Expect the red/white/black combo to continue this year.
And there we go. As I’ve said, there’s really not a huge amount of speculating to be done – with only Renault, Sauber and Williams looking in any way likely to offer much in the way of drastic change. But we’ll see – every year, something usually comes along from left-field, and I imagine there are still twists and turns to come in the Lotus Renault/Team Lotus story to boot.
Thanks, by the way, to F1 Colours’ army of commenters for seeking out various bits of livery speculation over the break, and alerting me to developments I might not otherwise have caught! As ever, if you find anything livery-related of interest, let me know either by email or in comments!