I feel like there’s a constant, internal struggle going on with Renault’s livery. Yin versus Yang. Jekyll versus Hyde. Yellow versus Black. When they returned to the sport in 2016, they initially announced an almost entirely black livery, with bits of yellow – but despite being pretty smart, it was also rather dull. So they changed it to an almost entirely yellow livery, with bits of black. This was also pretty smart – and gained points for being yellow, certainly – but was still a little bit dull.
Last year saw more of a compromise between the two competing sides of their identity: the front half was yellow, the back half was black. It didn’t completely sate those of us who’d love to see them go full-on bumblebee stripey, but it did a good job. For 2018, however, things have changed again – and in the ongoing battle, it’s now the black side of things that’s very much coming out on top.
By which I mean to say: the 2018 Renault is quite similar to the 2017 one, only there’s more black on it this time.
The big difference is that whereas last year the entire monocoque was yellow, and everything else behind it (a few splashes aside) was black, this time around it’s only the nose that’s yellow – the sides of the monocoque are now black. This creates a particularly unusual effect, in that if you look at the car side-on, it’s black; but from the front, it’s yellow.
I could perhaps be accused of inconsistency in how I react to Renault having a car in this colour compared with other teams. Because it does look really good in the side-on view: uniform white sponsor logos (except, again, for that pesky Castrol) and splashes of yellow. And I’m a fan of many past black cars – among them Saubers, Minardis and Arrowses. But the problem is… it’s Renault. Renault don’t have to be black, they have yellow in their locker – and if you can paint your car yellow, then it’s this humble correspondent’s view that you should.
I’m also trying to figure out the shade of yellow on it – the 2016 car had this problem, in that it sometimes looked orangey and sometimes a more fluorescent shade. This one, though, does look like it’s a brighter and more striking yellow than last year’s slightly golder tint – more 2000 Jordan than 1999 Jordan, you could say. That should help it to stand out – from the front, at least.
But still, it absolutely cannot be denied that it’s a great-looking racing car – and as with the past couple of Renaults, we should probably stop thinking about what it could or should be, and instead enjoy what it is.
(Although I’m not entirely certain that those race numbers will pass “easily legible from a distance” muster. I would not be at all surprised to see them get filled in, like McLaren’s were last year, before we’re a race or two into the season.)
Meanwhile, for the second post in a row a piece of team launch news also comes with a piece of news about our designer friend Sean Bull, who announced this afternoon that he has been hired by Renault to work in their graphic design department! So that thing we said about how F1 teams should start looking to hire designers like Sean turned out to be… remarkably prescient. Huge congratulations to Sean, and we can’t wait to see what contributions he’ll make to the team’s design identity; although he did make us feel rather old when he said this:
cheers mate! like ive said before, your website as a kid really got me started on this! seeing all the obscure ones you found and sketching them out with felt tips was what i did!
— Sean Bull Design (@seanbulldesign) February 21, 2018
“As a kid”. Blooming heck.