Well, we expected a different identity for the Williams team for this season – and we’re pleased to say they haven’t let us down, developing a completely new colour scheme rather than simply adjusting a previous design or falling back on their 2000s default of blue and white.
Well, we say completely new – it’s worth noting that “white, light blue and red” were the main colours of the Martini livery, and they’re still the main colours here. But they’ve very much taken things in a different direction, basing their identity around a sharp, electric shade of blue of a type that hasn’t really been seen on an F1 car before. If you look over to Formula E, electric/fluorescent colours are a bit more of a standard – and the new Williams team kit certainly looks a bit more like an FE outfit – and we wonder if it’ll be the case that more teams will move in this kind of direction in order to stand out a bit more.
The big surprise of launch day, meanwhile, is that the team have a new title sponsor – Rokit, a new mobile phone manufacturer co-founded by Jonathan Kendrick, who worked as a tyre engineer for Goodyear in the late 1970s and actually even worked on Alan Jones’ Williams in 1978. We know very little about this new brand at this point, and it seems to fall very much into the tradition of “boutique companies that don’t really mean anything to anyone outside of F1” kind of sponsors. But at least it means the team has a title sponsor, and what’s more, the red of their logo, while it hasn’t been worked into the livery itself (the deal presumably coming too late in development), maintains a slight consistency with the Martini look and feel.
Colours aside, the livery itself isn’t the most inspiring – the shape of the colour section calls to mind the default liveries on an unlicensed game like Motorsport Manager, and it’s otherwise all quite plain and straightforward. There’s been criticism in some quarters of the “fade” or “spraypaint” effect rather than having clean lines to delineate – something I’ve never been that keen on when Mercedes do it with the Petronas turquoise, but truth be told I think it works a bit better here. It’s also still annoying the way so much of the car is carbon-coloured – though it’s also worth bearing in mind that this is a 2018 car in 2019 colours, so if this year’s car is a dramatically different shape perhaps more of it will actually be painted, too.
All in all, though, it’s a cautious thumbs-up. It’ll take some getting used to, as it really doesn’t feel very “Williams” in style. But it’s clear that the team needed a new identity to strike forwards with, and in this they’ve certainly got it.