2010 Liveries : The Verdict!

Well, with all 12 teams’ liveries now unveiled, and the season opening race mere days away, I thought it time to take one last look at all 12 together, to see how they compare to one-another – and to the history of liveries in general – and give them all marks out of ten. It’s undoubtedly a more colourful grid than last year, with plenty of new colours thrown into the mix and only two cars that are predominantly white – but at the same time, we’ve suddenly been hit by a surfeit of silver/grey, and you wonder if certain teams could have done a little more to distinguish themselves. Here, then, is the full grid lineup :

McLaren: Can’t really be blamed for sticking with the colour scheme that’s served them well over the past few years, nor for the clash with Mercedes (since they were doing silver first). I think the orange-red on the engine cover flowing into the rear wing is a bit overcooked, but the shade of chrome/silver looks really good on the lines of the car. 7/10

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Mercedes: Can’t fault the desire to do something that harkens back to the glory years, but this only partly succeeds – lovely choice of silver (if too similar to the McLaren) and the race numbers look brilliantly retro. The black, though, works well on the nose but less so on the engine cover – and the turquoise is just a mistake, there should either be much more or much less of it. 5/10

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Red Bull: Elements of this, notably the engine cover and nose tip, still work really well, and it’s a strong shade of blue. But other parts are perhaps a little too busy, and if I were in charge of it I’d maybe look to clean up and simplify it a bit. It’s also looking a bit tired after a few years in use. 6/10

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Ferrari: A Ferrari is a Ferrari is a Ferrari, really. Aside from the additional white bits, not a huge amount to distinguish it from previous years; though compared with the rather menacing all-red job of the Raikkonen years, it calls back the late ’90s cars a bit more. 7/10

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Williams: Loses points for being exactly the same as last year (even moreso than the McLaren, though slightly less so than the Red Bull) and although I liked it then, I’m starting to get quite bored of it now. Lovely shade of blue, and it’s smart and functional, but it’s really rather dull, and rolling it out again shows a singular lack of imagination. 6/10

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Renault: Storming. I still can’t quite decide how well the red bits work (red and yellow looked good on a ’90s Jordan, but they’re quite un-Renault-ish, and the third colour on this car should clearly be white), but at least they add a sponsor to an otherwise blank car. Odd that they should play up the Renault connection now they’re not actually owned by the French marque, but it’s the livery many of us have wanted ever since they bought out Benetton, and done in quite daring fashion, so I can’t complain. 8/10

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Force India: On the one hand, a bit more of a change from last year would be nice; on the other hand, it’s fair to say no F1 car has ever looked like Force India’s current livery, and that’s to be applauded. Perhaps a little bit wishy-washy, but orange is always good to see. 7/10

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Toro Rosso: Nothing here really changes my usual opinion that the Toro Rossos are the Red Bulls’ uglier cousins – and the new red patch on the nose only really adds to that. And while the bull painting has become their distinctive identity, it’s another thing that has simply stuck around too long (remember when Jordan changed their nose animal every year?), and despite its existence these cars somehow blend into the background, perhaps due to the too-dark blue. Even moreso than the parent team, it’s time for a change. 4/10

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Lotus: It’s just perfect, isn’t it? Alright, not quite – it could have some more exciting sponsors on there. But the shade of green (already, as long-time readers know, my favourite colour on an F1 car) is beautiful, the golden yellow offsets it beautifully, it’s got a terrifically retro look, it’s just… perfect. Shame about the shape of the chassis – blocky and outdated where others look sleek and modern – but this is still the best-looking F1 car in many a year. 10/10

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HRT: By comparison, ugly and boring to a spectacular degree. Might look good with some sponsors on it, but I can’t fathom why anyone would paint a car in such a way that it’ll actually blend into the track. Just you wait for the first time someone blames a crash on not being able to see it. 1/10

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Sauber: Some will find this boring, yes – but there’s a clean smartness to it (despite being, like most of this year’s cars, badly in need of sponsors) and I find the substitution of blue for black a quite clever twist on the way BMW have become Sauber (who, lest we forget, first ran in all-black livery) again. The nose thing is a little odd, though. 7/10

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Virgin Racing: Another top job. Almost exactly the colour scheme we expected, this is nevertheless a lovely combination of three colours that simply work superbly together – and in a smart, “swooping” fashion that enhances the lines of the car. Not really sure about the point of the grey pattern at the back of the engine cover, but it’s a small quibble. 9/10

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So that’s what I think – what about you? Agree? Disagree? Do you love the HRT, and hate the Lotus? Feel free to debate your favourite and least favourite cars (even add your own ratings, if you want!) in the comments below, and let’s see what the consensus is among you, the readers…!


    Tanya Jones

    March 10, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    The orange isn’t really surprising on the Force India car, but it’s a nice incorporation of the flag.


    March 11, 2010 at 8:18 pm

    The liveries I don’t like:
    12th HRT- Most boring livery ever?!
    11th Sauber- Bit of a non livery. I hope they paint it properly ASAP
    10th Williams- Smart, but extremely dull. Typical Williams
    9th Toro Rosso- it doesn’t look right without the giant bull draped across the sidepods

    The liveries I do I like:
    8th Lotus- If they painted the car in a Jaguar-ish shade of green, it might’ve been my favourite livery ever. But they didn’t, so it’s not. Shame
    7th Force India- Nice, but it’s a bit too white
    6th Virgin- The black is great, but the red spoils it
    5th McLaren- Might’ve been higher, but I’m getting a bit bored it by now
    4th Ferrari- I think the odd sized wings look better in white than red, so I approve
    3th Mercedes- Because I’m in the minority of people who actually likes turquoise!
    2rd Red Bull- I wish they’d change it more, but I still love it
    1st Renault- A bit garish, but nothing beats yellow!


    March 30, 2010 at 6:57 am

    After seeing all the cars in the flesh in Melbourne, i’ll give the following judgement.

    1. Renault – easily distinguishable, and looks great as well
    2. Mercedes – looks great, even if the silver is more similar to the McLaren than I thought. Schumacher’s fluoro red helmet offsets it very nicely.
    3. Ferrari – looks great, even without the red wings
    4. McLaren – still a classy livery
    5. Lotus – as Ned says, maybe it would be nicer if the green was a touch lighter – but still a nice livery.
    6. Force India – clean and nice livery
    7. Virgin – the day-glo red doesn’t look particularly good
    8. Red Bull – looks quite cluttered and a bit tired now
    9. Williams – an efficient livery, but quite plain
    10. Toro Rosso – still too similar to the Red Bull – bring back the bull on the sidepods
    11. Sauber – obvious
    12. HRT – very dull


    April 2, 2010 at 3:28 am

    Good work with your site and if I could wish, then i would like you to show and rate official team shirts as well as cars.

    My opinions on this years F1-liveries.

    Mclaren: It is not bad, but it could be better. I would like to see either the classic mclaren in white/red, or alternatively replacing the red with a distinctive orange on the current car.

    Mercedes: Should have used more of the Petronas green as this color really sticks out. My ideal would be black and turquoise, but i imagine why the want to stick with silver.

    Red Bull: Agree with your rating. A really nice design but too similar to previous years. My dream whould be to see a purple base color and to skip some of the red details.

    Ferrari: Decent and easy to distinguish but i would prefer either an even more red, or by replacing the white with and more yellow to better suit Shell

    Williams: I like blue cars, but this shade is not ideal as it often looks dusty and grey. More like the 96-97 Williams or even better like the 2000-2001 Prost cars would be good.

    Renualt: Really striking and looks very good, i might prefer another color than red on the wings, but still very easy to spot.

    Force India: The favourite of the year. These colors really go well together and i love this green shade.

    Toro Rosso: Too similar to last year even if i actually like the additional red and the nice shape of the car. I would advise TR to design their cars as the Red Bull sugarfree can with silver and light blue (I have seen someone design this online)

    Lotus: Is really nice, but unfourtunatly the real beauty only can be seen in ideal light conditions. I would have chosen a more bright green in order to really make it stick out. Like the yellow details on the wheels though.

    HRT: Looks better on track than in the studio, but still nothing great. Will probably change with sponsors coming.

    Sauber. White and black goes well together but i am not sure if i like the cars because of its shape or its color.

    Virgin: Looks nice in the studio, but can be mistaken for a mclaren, hrt or even a ferrari while racing. I hoped for the first shocking pink racing car, but i guess you can have it all.

    Tom K

    April 8, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    shocking pink? wasn’t that last seen on a brabham in their final year?

    and i disagree with some of the above comments… the virgin is possibly the smartest looking entry of a new team since Jordan’s 1991 entry (admittedly not as good, but not much could be!) the lotus is nice, but predictable, we all knew it would be as it was without any petronas backing.
    As for the other teams, a little disappointing that they didn’t go further, given that there are cost cutting measures in place, i was hoping the teams would favour personal identity more so than sponsorship dictation (such as Force India have achieved)
    Renault is the only other good looking team this year… the red spoils the car, but since it’s the only major source of income for the team, that TOTAL sponsorship is permissible


    May 6, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    Not really a big thing, but HRT seems to have changed their livery a bit for barcelona. I only saw some pictures of Klien sitting in the cockpit, not the whole car, but the white stripe is not there anymore. Instead there’s only a red one that ends with a flag of spain right beneath the cockpit. I wonder if the rest of the car also looks different, just didn’t find any photographs.


      May 7, 2010 at 9:46 am

      well it seems that they have completely removed the white stripe on the car, and made some changes to the red stripe.

    J.A. Brown

    August 27, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    If I’m not mistaken, the “black” on the Sauber isn’t black, but tungsten or some other dark shade of grey.

    And the pink on the 1992 Brabham wasn’t really shocking pink, was it? But maybe that’s nitpicking…


    March 5, 2015 at 12:32 pm

    Here is my best liveries of 2010, then 🙂
    BTW I already know it’s old, but I want to make my own opinions of them.

    1. Renault – ” Wow, retro Renault! It’s looking awesome and it really reminds me of that Renault F1 30th Anniversary livery. ”
    2. Lotus – ” Classic. Can’t say more about it. ”
    3. McLaren – ” I’m OK with this but at least it’s the same kind of a Vodafone McLaren livery because the Hugo Boss logo isn’t on the airbox. ”
    4. Ferrari – ” That livery with the Marlboro barcode was the great livery for Ferrari this year in terms of “whatever the F1 fans around the world like about the car liveries”. ”
    5. Force India – ” Orange, white and green describes the team and the livery. ”
    6. Toro Rosso – ” I am okay with this livery. It would be needed for a better look. ”
    7. Red Bull – ” A nice looking Red Bull with good stripes. ”
    8. Virgin – ” Nice touch of red and black, nice effort for Virgin! ”
    9. Mercedes – ” That silve colour is kinda similar to the McLaren but there should be some more turquoise in favour of Petronas becoming the team’s title sponsor. ”
    10. Williams – ” Not much of a change for the team’s livery for their next season. I wish they would do that. ”
    11. Sauber – ” Oh, why couldn’t they make a new fresh livery instead of this which was on the BMW Sauber? Well, it isn’t worse as the HRT but what I like about the entire car is Kobayashi in it. ”
    12. HRT – ” It’s a very dull car without any sponsors either on the sidepod or engine cover. “

    A 1997 MasterCard Lola

    August 20, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    I don’t get the hate for the HRT. It is one of my favourites of the 2009-2013 era because it is sleek, simple and modern.


    February 4, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    It’s old but never it’s late

    1- Lotus: That is beautiful!
    2- Virgin: I like it and it was NEW, with sponsors very integrated
    3- Renault: I never understood that passion with red wings, but if the wings were black it will be on top
    4- Force India: Great colours but it was the same as last year
    5- Ferrari: Fake Marlboro and Santander, I wanted a black one
    6- Toro Rosso: I loved that hand-painted bull, but that Red Bull logo ruins it
    7- Mercedes: It was called that it will be grey, but missing turquoise
    8- Red Bull: Same as last year with some more sponsors
    9- Good combination of colours, but is an old one
    10- Williams: Exactly the same
    11- Sauber: New era for they, same livery (changing blue for grey) with no sponsors
    12- Hispania: Pffffff what a s*** livery

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