Aside from McLaren shuffling through various sidepod sponsors, and Lotus shifting PDVSA to theirs in somewhat ugly fashion, we haven’t had much in the way of dramatic livery changes since the start of the season. Force India, however, have just announced a new major sponsorship deal with Smirnoff – and with it comes a slightly altered livery.
Once again, the change is predominantly on the sidepod – although apparently, Smirnoff’s name will only appear there for certain races – and it means that the large orange block that previously carried Sahara branding is now entirely black. I’m a little bit torn on this, to be honest – the car looks pretty cool the way it’s now almost all in black (with just a few flashes of orange, white and green) and it calls to mind an early ’90s car even more now than before. But on the other hand, I really liked the orange sidepods, and it’s an under-used colour in F1 generally that previously served to give Force India a nice bit of identity. Also, the new design still doesn’t solve the biggest problem on the car, which is that ghastly and out-of-place Claro logo.
I suspect that if the team had launched with the car like this, I’d like it more – I’m just not sure it was an improvement on what was there previously. But it’s always nice to see new major sponsors coming in (whatever you might think about whether alcohol branding really mixes with motorsport), and indeed it’s hard not to see this as a reaction by Smirnoff (although their drinks are different) to the prominence Martini have been afforded by their Williams linkup.