2012 Livery Speculation

I’ll be honest with you upfront: this isn’t going to be the most interesting year for this. Remember back in 2010, when we had all the new teams coming in but didn’t know what most of them were going to look like? Ah, happy days. Skip forward to 2012, however, and it’s a very different story – twelve teams on the grid that, with the odd exception, will almost certainly run in liveries identical to the ones they had in 2011 (and, in some cases, the ones they had in 2012).

But tradition is tradition, and with the launch season starting so late this year (at the time of writing, no team is scheduled to launch their car before February), I need something to write about, so let’s do a rundown of what we might be expecting to see this year…

Red Bull Racing

Will probably look exactly the same as last year.

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes

Will probably look exactly the same as last year (although wouldn’t it be lovely if those persistent rumours of switching to a black-and-red livery came true?)

Scuderia Ferrari

Will definitely look exactly the same as last year.

Mercedes AMG Petronas

I wouldn’t expect as much of a change as they made between 2010 and 2011, but some continued evolution of their distinctive silver-and-turquoise design would be nice. If I could fix one thing on the Merc, it would be to have the entire sidepod in turquoise rather than that odd halfway measure we saw last year.

Lotus F1 Team

Well, having fought so hard to win the Lotus name outright, The Team Formerly Known As Renault (And Also Benetton And Toleman) are hardly going to give up their JPS-inspired black-and-gold livery in a hurry. I’d like to see the red Total-sponsored endplates toned down, perhaps, although even those grew on me by the end of the season.

One potential hiccup, mind, is the lingering question over whether or not they’ll be allowed to race in the livery in Canada. I doubt this will cause them to change the season livery outright, but could we see them granted special dispensation to run in a one-off scheme? If so, perhaps they could make the same change they occasionally did with their uniform last year, and flip the colours? A gold car with black trim would undoubtedly look rather special (hey, if any Photoshop whizzes want to mock one up, I’ll gladly post it).

EDIT: And someone has! Brilliant, thank you Theo, aka “Vert”, for this excellent job (seen left).

Sahara Force India F1 Team

There are rumours that the buy-in of the Sahara Group might prompt a change in Force India’s livery – but with the team’s identity so closely tied to that of their country, that seems unlikely (particularly as Sahara themselves use the Indian flag in their logo). Expect more of the same orange/white/green scheme (if possibly applied in a slightly different pattern) – unless a sudden bout of even further patriotism leads to a switch to Indian sporting blue.

Sauber F1 Team

Sauber don’t do liveries.

Scuderia Toro Rosso

As with Force India, a large investment partway through 2011 led to rumours that Toro Rosso could change livery altogether for 2012. I think it’s unlikely, though – certainly, they might integrate the various Aabar-owned brands into the livery a little better this year, and we might see a bit more red and white on there (courtesy of rumoured new title sponsor CEPSA). But it’s still a Toro Rosso, it’s still selling cans of Red Bull, and so it’ll still be the same predominant blue, red and gold.

Williams F1

A once-proud team searching badly for an identity, Williams have now even lost their title sponsor – although it’s not like AT&T ever really had anything to do with the livery anyway. If a potential new sponsor doesn’t end up having an influence, then I wouldn’t be surprised to see last year’s retro-themed design continue; or perhaps alternatively, they could switch to another classic from their glory years – this one, perhaps?

Caterham F1 Team

They’ve lost the Lotus name, but they’ve already said that the green-and-yellow livery will be continuing for at least another year. Hurrah! AirAsia might see more prominent display on the car this year, too.

HRT F1 Team

Anyone’s guess, really. The 2011 livery was brilliant/mental (delete as appropriate), but the “plea for sponsors” idea was a spectacular failure. I wouldn’t mind seeing them keep the colour scheme, but please, no “YOUR NAME HERE” gubbins this time. Find some sponsors, or just leave it plain.

Marussia F1 Team

You know, if any team were going to make a major change this year, I’d expect it to be Marussia/Virgin. Now fully in the hands of the Russian sportscar manufacturer, they could well switch to a red-white-blue design to match the company’s logo. On the other hand, we know that Virgin are still around as a sponsor – so although their logo would fit quite nicely on such a design, that piece of continuity might be enough to justify keeping the smart red/black/white livery. But still, don’t be surprised if they roll up in something akin to a mid-90s Footwork…



    January 17, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    A nice summary, I guess 2010 was really the pinnacle of great liveries with Renault, Virgin and Team Lotus. With Group Lotus and Marussia coming in there’s only the green Caterhams left of those three


    January 18, 2012 at 1:37 am

    Let’s adopt a Glass Half Full attitude.

    Force India- I retain hope that one day green and orange will get equal or greater prominence than white on the car

    Sauber- They can’t stay black and white forever. Remember the multicoloured Mexico logo they had on the rear wing: http://www.ntaonline.com/includes/media/images/Mexico.JPG Who knows, maybe they’ll go from one extreme to the other and paint the whole car like that?!

    Toro Rosso- All those gold bits they added midway through 2011 made a big improvement to the livery, in my opinion. What’s to say they won’t go a step further and paint the whole thing gold, with streaks of CEPSA red?

    Williams- As much as I detest Hugo Chavez, if in some nationalistic ego trip he was to suddenly pay several million dollars to paint the entire car in the colours of the Venezuelan flag (yellow, red and blue), I would have to give him some credit. More realistically, they might add more PDVSA red

    HRT- If they’re trying to Spanishify the team, a good start would be to paint the car red and yellow. Think China’s A1GP livery: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d8/2007_A1GP_Zhuhai_Team_China.jpg

    Marussia- Yet more potential for national colours! A blue, white and red livery along the lines of the 1997 Arrows would be lovely jovely.

    OK, even being optimistic it’s hard to see Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes, Lotus or Caterham changing much/ at all. But there is always an element of doubt, which makes waiting for car launches so exciting (though often ultimately disappointing) for us livery enthusiasts.


    January 18, 2012 at 1:48 am

    “Sauber don’t do liveries” hahaha that was brilliant.

    I also have a feeling most liveries will remain the same but I still have a glimmer of hope that we are going to be surprised.


    January 18, 2012 at 12:24 pm

    First of all, congratulations for your site! I follow you since last year and I share the passion for F1 liveries.
    Really there are no many changes this year but maybe the teams could work on improving what has already been showed.
    From the new Ferrari suits shown in Wrooom 2012, it seems that the Italian flag can be used more in 2012 livery (without “falling” in the 2011 wing) and really would be nice for Sauber put more effort (even if the good Peter has candidly stated that their identity is the white-red-gray).
    Curious if any Manor/Virgin inheritance remains on Marussia cars.


    January 23, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Today on the suit worn by Kimi Raikkonen for the Lotus test, yellow completely disappeared (relegated to two small strips on the shoulders). The suit also seems to have lost that shiny fabric seen in 2011 in favor of a more attractive matt finish. It may well be temporary overalls. But if this was a clue to a totally black Lotus with a very few gold insert?


    January 27, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Ok, so some teams are never likely to change thier look, they are: Ferrari, Lotus, Mercedes, Caterham, Red Bull.. But if I was being asked for recommendations on who should do what (etc) I would offer the following advice:

    TORO ROSSO: It’s high time this team got it’s own identity. It needs Red Bull to allow something to happen that makes Toro Rosso a brand, rather than a poor relation. How about use the ‘Diet Red Bull’ colours? Or swap the dark blue for a sky blue. There are not other sky blue cars on the grid since Mild Seven dissappeared, it would stand out a mile. Light blue is also very Italian.

    MARUSSIA: It’s a blank canvas for the Russian owned outfit. I would pull in a team to look at all the other designs and go with a strong identity, one that suggests this is a serious team and not another Midland, Spyker or Super Aguri 2 season effort. This is a strong name in Russia – Go all-blue with Red/White features, like Prost F1. And get Russian sponsors in cyrillic lettering all over it.

    SAUBER: I really liked Sauber’s Blue-Cyan Red Bull-Petronas designs, but recreating this is unlikely, they need to push for either the original All-black look of Frentzen’s car in the early 1990s, or go for something completely new. The Visit Mexico colours look exciting, much more so than the stuffy white-with-black-bits 2010-11 efforts. If I was Peter Sauber, I’d get something bright, fun and unique – Purple is probably too Simtek-ish, but this is an option – as is turquoise.

    FORCE INDIA: Bolder with the colours! The 2011 was scruffy, the shade of green on the overalls and staff shirts is nothing like the green on the car.

    McLAREN: At some point they’ll do away with the Silver of Mercedes, but not just yet. When they do, they could revert to all-Orange, red and white (1980s) or try the all-Black like the previous gent suggested (which I liked, by the way!).

    HRT: This whole team is one big identity crisis. It needs to be renamed for a start, what was wrong with ‘Hispania’? Grab the colours from the Spanish flag, paint the car mainly yellow, with red sections. Might look McDonalds-ish though. Telefonica sponsored Minardi for a season and had a wonderful Lime Green/Yellow paint job – this would work too.

    WILLIAMS: Renault is back, and yellow on the blue like Mansell’s 1992 car would be fabulous. It was a great suggestion! Double thumbs up.

    TRABANT F1: My own imaginary team struggled for sponsored, and the engine often overheated in practice. My pay-per-race drivers didn’t seem to have a super-licence, but the cars will feature a leopard-print design in 2012, with shocking pink bits (and overalls). Our cars are the only ones with Ice Cream van music for the parade lap.


    January 29, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    According to spanish website CarNDriver/TheF1 and Snntagsblick, Peter Sauber said that the livery is gonna be different, mostly white, darker, and with a touch of red. Sounds like the previous livery, however Sauber says it’s not. Let’s see how it goes.


    February 1, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Ok the Mclaren Mp4 27 is more chrome than ever … fortunately has no crocodile nose! Even if has a STRONG duck nose. (Remember Ferrari F90?)


      February 3, 2012 at 9:26 am

      Ferrari F2012. Oh dear…!!!! But, as you mentioned earlier, this is a site on liveries….


    February 2, 2012 at 3:09 am

    So? where’s the official Caterham and the Mclaren livery review? Go go you’re late! 😉

      Seb Patrick

      February 2, 2012 at 11:27 am

      Haha… when someone unveils a NEW livery, I’ll give them a full story 😉 I’m waiting for the Force India and Ferrari launches tomorrow, then I’ll do a roundup of all the “Looking exactly the same as last year” cars so far 😉


    February 6, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Seb, looking forward to you ripping into Sauber’s abomination of a paintjob for 2012. Just seen a pic and it’s… it’s… just plain horrid.


    February 7, 2012 at 9:23 am

    So it seems that HRT have changed their outfit once again: http://www.hispaniaracing.com/en/

    Also seen this kind of gold on the mechanics suit and inside of the pits.

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