A day late with this, then – but to make up for it, there are lots of lovely images below…
It’s quite strange to think that two cars from 1983 have made it in to my top five, when you consider how ugly the F1 cars of the time were. Indeed, with this particular car, you have to look past the actual design of the chassis, as this list is first and foremost about the paint jobs themselves. And Renault’s yellow/black/white combination is an absolute classic. Truth be told, it’s really the succession of colour schemes of the late ’70s and early ’80s that I’m highlighting here – but given that I had to pick from just one year (as with the Marlboro McLaren and classic red Ferrari), I’ve gone for my particular favourite.
I’d hinted previously that I loved this combination of colours, when discussing the Minardis of the late ’80s/early ’90s – and indeed, that car would have been higher if it didn’t owe such a significant debt to this Renault. You’ll note that the colours are so well-chosen that none are needed to “separate” each other – so the yellow can run into both the white and black, and white and black (obviously) can also co-exist. While some of the other cars were more predominantly yellow, with various striped patterns, the ’83 car was instead divided into almost equal chunks. The nose doesn’t look great – partly down to its actual shape, though, rather than the livery – and the Renault “diamond” logo, which has always been a bit ugly, could do with being smaller (although the word “elf” always looks great in huge letters on an F1 car).
Various other details are great, though – I love the coloured race numbers both on the engine cover, and the way they’re placed at a slight angle (and asymmetrically) on the front wing – and I think it’s a neat touch to have red numbers on car #15, and blue on #16; the red looks slightly better, but they’re both great. I’m not sure there’s ever been a colour scheme – with the obvious exception of Ferrari red – that’s so instantly identifiable with a team or manufacturer and not associated with a particular sponsor, and the only thing that’s so completely baffling is that Renault chose not to go back to it when they were free of Mild Seven sponsorship at the end of 2006. The ING logos could quite easily have been placed onto a car that looked like this; and, indeed, the ’83 livery in particular still looks good applied to a modern-day chassis;. Indeed, Renault themselves clearly know how great it is, having mocked up a special livery last year to commemorate 30 years of F1 – so why the hell don’t the current cars look like that? Sigh.
Anyway, yes. The colour scheme is an absolute classic, the ’83 livery my favourite application of it, and that’s why it’s here in the list.