Well, this is a turnup for the books. We’ve been castigating Sauber for having boring and unimaginative liveries ever since they returned to the sport in 2010; and even when they changed to a blue and yellow scheme in 2015, we weren’t super keen on the slightly plasticky look to the colouring.
We expected that they might have to change things this year, due to losing Felipe Nasr’s Banco do Brasil sponsorship – but honestly, the expectation around here was that they would just go back to a boring white, grey or black car. Instead, they’ve come up with a completely new livery to celebrate their 25th year in the sport – and what that’s meant is changing the blue to a proper metallic blue (just like we told them they should!), the yellow to gold, and increasing the volume of white.
What’s interesting about this is that it gives the car a quite retro look, without actually being based on any piece of Sauber’s own previous history. But there’s something about it that calls to mind classic, tobacco-based liveries of the 1980s and 1990s – it’s a little Silk Cut here, a little Embassy Regal there.
It’s also a really good way of covering up the fact that they don’t really have any sponsors aside from Silanna any more – because rather than just leaving the car plain, there are actually design elements on it, from the “25 Years” logo to the stripes that run from the side and on to the rear wing endplates. And kudos, too, for painting that horrible returning shark fin (something that looks worryingly like it’s going to be a recurring feature of 2017’s aerodynamics) black to try and hide it, rather than blue to stand out.
All in all: a bloody good effort from Sauber. Who’d have thunk it? 2017 is already off to a very strong start, and if previous rumours about McLaren and Toro Rosso end up coming true… well, the “who’s got the best livery” order is getting a right old shakeup.