Fantasy 2018 Grid – by Daniel Crossman

As the 2017 F1 season prepares to draw to a close, for many (especially with the titles already settled) thoughts are starting to turn to 2018. And that’s especially true when it comes to liveries – indeed, those of us who are interested in them, and those who design fantasy versions, are almost perpetually thinking forwards as soon as the existing cars have been revealed.

In the past we’ve done roundups of fan-created livery designs looking to the next year, but this time around, rather than gathering the work of several different artists on the same teams, we’re looking at just one artist who’s gone particularly above and beyond in terms of visualising the 2018 season.

Daniel Crossman is one of our favourite up-and-coming designers (we hesitate to say “fan designer” or “amateur designer” about the likes of Daniel and Sean Bull, because that overlooks the fact that they do actually do professional design work within motorsport) and he’s one of several who are turning out designs that are more immediately fan-pleasing than the ones that we often see on actual cars.

(Incidentally, we know that fantasy designers are, of course, not subject to the same design considerations as the designers of actual working team liveries – so when we say a design looks “better” than the one on an actual car, we say it with the knowledge that there might be reasons why this the case beyond simple aesthetic decisions. We also say it, in this particular instance, in the knowledge that 2017 was a vintage year for excellent F1 liveries almost entirely across the board.)

Anyway, Daniel has not just done a few different concepts for the 2018 season – he’s worked out multiple possible designs for every team on the grid. Some of these are based on rumours about new sponsorship linkups are rebrand, and others are from the realm of pure fantasy – but what they all are is excellent. So we’ve decided to go through each team that he’s done a portfolio for, and pick out our favourite – to make a complete Fantasy 2018 Grid designed entirely by him. And we’ve even included one of his designs for a non-existent “returning” team, just to add an eleventh car to the grid.

Note that some of these designs don’t take into account driver and engine changes that have happened since they were done!


Keeping it simple, what’s good about this Mercedes design is that it strips back the amount of black that has crept onto the car in recent years. It’s understandable that the Petronas turquoise needs to be on there, but the original “Silver Arrows” identity has been somewhat lost of late, and restricting the black area to the shark fin is a good way of dealing with it.


Like us, Daniel clearly hankers after the days when the secondary colour on a (darker red) Ferrari was black, rather than white. The team may not have been massively successful in the early ’90s, but the cars were at their best-looking ever, and we’d love to see a Scuderia livery that homages that.


Well, this is a biggie. It’s not considered all that likely that Red Bull will actually completely change their colour scheme to match the new Aston Martin title sponsorship – but as this design shows, it would be absolutely flipping amazing if they did. I’m not generally a fan of fluorescent colours on F1 cars, but I do like this Brawn-style yellow, and it goes so well with the black and classic racing green.


The bold and striking pink BWT livery got Force India a lot of headlines in 2017, and I hope they stick with the concept going forward. But equally, it was a bit of a rush job, and it would be nice to see it evolved into something a bit more deeply thought-out this time – and to go for a richer shade of pink than the slightly washed-out look of the 2017 car. Daniel’s other Force India concepts made use of black as a secondary colour, but I really like the bold step of mixing blue in with this one.


Gasp! It’s not Martini! That’s because, as we’ll see later, I’ve constructed this grid on the premise of Williams losing their prestige sponsor at the end of this year. Largely because, while it’s still a lovely livery, it would just be nice to see something done a bit different – both with Martini, and with Williams. A red Williams (calling back to 1998) would be fantastic, but I doubt that’ll happen – so let’s instead have them look to their glory years with a terrific blue and yellow ’80s/early ’90s inspired design.


Let’s face it, there’s not very much that needs to be improved upon with this livery. Daniel has another concept that sees white introduced as a major colour, but I prefer sticking with the Prost-style metallic blue and red, and just shuffling the pattern of the colours around a bit. It looks fundamentally the same, but I really like the idea of splitting the colours behind the bull on the engine cover.


Renault have got the colours right these days, but could possibly stand to apply them in a more interesting way. Taking inspiration from the fantastic striped 2010 car – with more than a bit of Buzzin’ Hornets Jordan in the mix too – this one does the job just fine.


It’s not that a grey and white car is inherently a bad idea, it’s just that the 2017 Haas was so dull with it. This is an improvement not just by shifting more towards silver – brightening the whole thing up generally – but also giving a bit more of an American identity with the subtle stars and stripes.


I love that McLaren actually went orange for 2017 so much that I don’t even mind that they didn’t go the whole hog with it. But it’s hard to deny that the fully orange IndyCar that Alonso raced was far more striking than the F1 team’s livery. Daniel hasn’t designed a fully orange McLaren – maybe because it’s not that much of an artistic exercise! – so of his concepts, I’ve picked the one that’s closest to that. Really, though, I’d be happy with one that left out the black almost entirely, and had the logos and race numbers in blue, to give a truly 1960s Bruce McLaren feel (such as with this one of Sean Bull’s).


We’d be more than happy for Sauber to keep their fantastic 2017 livery, but on the other hand… well, just look at what Daniel’s done here. It’s a bit of a leap based on the possibility of Alfa Romeo becoming involved with the team – he also did some white, Alitalia-sponsored designs that are well worth a look – and thus tempting over Martini to recreate a truly classic late 1970s look. Well, wouldn’t you want to see this on the grid?


Because, well, why not? And because with the Martini Williams gone, we don’t have a white car within this set. Stewart’s first couple of liveries were a bit muggy, with a cream shade of white and slightly boring application of the tartan, but they switched to a much sharper and brighter look for 1999. I was never really disappointed that we didn’t see it after that season because it was immediately replaced by the green Jaguar – but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be nice to see it make a comeback. Question is, would they factory-share with Red Bull, or what…?

Check out more of Daniel’s work on Behance, and keep an eye on our Twitter for more of our favourite fantasy designs!



    November 30, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    My opinion:

    Mercedes: YES!
    Ferrari: Good wings, but the black on the shark fin should stay on the shark fin (and ideally the shark fin should stay off the car).
    RBR: Radical & very cool to get some green on the grid.
    Force India: Far better than 2017 – we can only hope.
    Williams: Where’s Martini? Otherwise a good angular design.
    Toro Rosso: “If it’s not broken, don’t change it.”
    Renault: Good but more yellow up front.
    Haas: In my opinion a grey car is an inherently bad idea…
    Mclaren: PLEASE SEND 1X BUCKET OF ORANGE PAINT TO MCLAREN F1 TEAM. NEEDED URGENTLY TO PAINT REAR OF MCL33 CARS. (Honestly how do teams keep painting parts of their cars grey by accident?)
    Sauber: Apart from stealing Martini, this is good – a better Ferrari than Ferrari


    December 2, 2017 at 11:14 pm

    Is it just me or does the Williams design look similar to the paint jobs given to the Feisar team from the Wipeout games?


    December 4, 2017 at 6:27 pm

    WOW we are back to this again.
    my fave artical of the year is back. ”calling all optimistic F1 livery fanatics. now is your time to dream”
    shame that a couple of things have happened since this one was published. the shark fins are gone (i sit on the fence when it comes to shark fins on the one had they can be great for extending sponser/name/number space – on the other – they are ugly), and sauber have revieled their livery for 2018 (which look really really good yet again – or is that just me??)
    Mercedes: Hire Dan Crossman all is forgiven and you could end up looking the best on the grid from this day forward. 🙂 Love the use of the colour whilst it sticks to previous designs and ……….. puts the black in the right place. – ony the front wing end plates are missing it.
    Ferarri: yes yes yes (but take out the shrk fin and leave the design as it is – only have to reposition the 5 then. thats almost a moody Beautiful.
    Red Bull: a lovely and interesting concept, but are red bull going to want to give up their colour sceme quite so fully. but it cannot be navy & green & yellow & red (sick) – also i dont see TAG Sponser ???
    Force India: beautifull but mabey a little to much Purple down the bottom (my opinion) – keep the barge board black and fade the nore to the dark pink. – otherwise – i want to see that so badly.
    Williams: HELL YEAH – but why not something new with martini – it sticks by colour schemes of Liervies past – and that important for a team like William sas far as im concerened.
    Toro Roso: agree – nothing needs changing on this one, BUT…….i think they should seriously consider the extra red on the engin cover – plus this doesnt have a shark fin so the most realistic prospect yet.
    Renault: Love it – agree Seb – that Buzzing Hornets Jordan look is insain. and the castrol sponsers above become accepable. great alence of colours.
    HAAS: Livery Designers. shit down, be quiet and look. now learn how your car can look great in grey & patriotic all in one swoop – Bingo.
    McLaren: oh Yes – OH YESS – ZAK BROWN – your car needs to look something similer to this. now turning to Dan – i dont know what that white shevron on the shark fin is, but it dont look good. but i do think that that white shevron from 2017 needs to stay somewhere. i actually really liked it.
    Sauber: Now we know that it isnt going to look like this its a sad moment – because that is lovely. but there are lessons to be learnt here – williams – take away the white – or at least some of it. and repeat this design – BOOM your on to a winner – you’ll be back on top of the livery list.

    Stewart – Nice one Dan. bring back a slice of history.

    SO: if i had to choose one?? –
    it would have been Sauber – as it cant be – it has to be said that this is dificult because all of the designs are more realistic that previous articals (No Offence).
    But Boil it down – and the two that catch the eye are Haas and McLaren.


      December 6, 2017 at 5:29 pm

      The ‘chevron’ on the McLaren’s shark fin (assuming I’m talking about the right place) is actually a kiwi, which is of course, the national bird of New Zealand (so is on there as a nod to Bruce McLaren, who made it the team’s mascot as he was a Kiwi himself). Agree with you though, I loved the livery on the MCL32 (my favourite of the year) but I wouldn’t mind seeing something like this in 2018.


        December 8, 2017 at 3:30 pm

        – Thanks i did wonder as much, but hednt thought about Bruce McLaren – so thanks. totaly agree with you with having a revised 2017 livery for 2018 – but it that turned up on the track im excited 🙂 😉


          December 14, 2017 at 5:48 pm

          While I wouldn’t mind a revision of the 2017 livery design (papaya orange instead of tarocco perhaps, or maybe a combination of the two), I’d still be just as happy if they decided not to change it at all (I’m probably in a minority for that one), as despite how it’s performed, the MCL32 has become one of my favourite F1 cars, thanks to its distinctive livery and also some of the chassis’ smaller but distinctive details (namely, the slots on the nose and the rear wing endplates) that made it in my opinion definitely one of, if not the meanest (as well as best although the STR12 gives it a run for its money) looking cars on the grid. But, as I’ve probably said already, it would be brilliant if this concept became a reality.


    January 3, 2018 at 6:52 pm

    Seriously? Martini leaves Williams?


      January 3, 2018 at 7:57 pm

      Aaah! Sorry, I’ve got it…

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