And this batshit crazy livery season has one more twist.
Just like last year, when Renault suddenly switched from their launch black to a vibrant yellow (and, sort of, when McLaren switched from their rubbish 2015 job to a slightly less rubbish one a few races in), Force India have thrown us all a curveball a week and a bit before the season kicks off by unveiling a completely different colour scheme from the one they initially launched.
A pink one.
Now, unlike those previous examples, this one hasn’t come about as a result of a response to fan criticism – although I do wonder if the lukewarm reception their mostly silver and quite boring paint job had received was a contributing factor. Not that I’m suggesting that Force India read F1 Colours, of course, but Renault obviously do, so you never know. Anyway, instead, this colour scheme is as a result of a new sponsorship linkup with “water technology specialists” BWT. And while I don’t know what a water technology specialist does, I certainly know – thanks to this livery launch – that BWT are one, and I expect that’s what they were banking on.
Interestingly, pink doesn’t actually feature in BWT’s own blue corporate identity – but there is a precedent for them running this colour in the DTM series. And so, presumably Force India have decided to take this opportunity to make a big old PR splash (er, no pun intended) by following suit. And they’ve certainly succeeded.
As far as the livery itself goes… well, while I fully admire (and support) the addition of a new and bright colour to the grid (and the removal of some more of its silver), I’m not entirely sold on the design. The shade of pink is a bit washed out – it’s a colour that we don’t often see on the grid, but if we’re going to, I’d prefer it to be in a more vibrant hue, such as that seen on Damon Hill’s 1992 Brabham. And while all the other sponsors have been shaded in to match, BWT’s logo jumps out in a quite clashy way – although again, maybe that’s deliberate, as you certainly can’t miss who the standout sponsor is meant to be.
To be fair, though, this is just one rendered image – we haven’t seen how it looks on the track, and the team have described it as a “matt” finish, so there’s a good chance it could still look spectacular under racing light conditions.
It’s also of note that the team have managed to attract a new major – and livery-altering – sponsor in this way (I wonder if it’s made McLaren look on enviously?), particularly when you consider that it’s not really something the team have done in their current guise (while their cars have been covered in logos, they’ve almost all been Vijay Mallya-owned brands), nor indeed when they were Spyker or Midland, nor even in the last couple of years as Jordan. Is this a positive movement for the sport’s commercial future? Is it in some way inspired by the “new era” of Liberty ownership? Will more teams follow suit? I don’t know, but this is one of the best years this blog has had yet in terms of new and exciting things to cover, so I only hope it continues.
Now: are you watching, Haas?