The Top 25 F1 Liveries of All Time : #22

Go on, then – how many of you saw this one coming?


This is where things start to become controversial – and where it becomes clear that this is a personal favourites list, rather than an “undisputed best ever” list. Because this livery was absolutely hated when it was launched – and continues to show up in people’s “worst ever” lists to this day. But… for some reason, and despite the fact that I myself didn’t like it at the time… I think it works pretty well. You have to get past the fact that it’s a red Williams – and the fact that it has Woody Woodpecker on the nose – but the colour scheme works well, and the sponsor names on the sidepods and monocoque are picked out nicely. The only thing that doesn’t really work is the white section at the front of the nose cone – it basically looks as if it’s been copied-and-pasted from 1997’s Rothmans car – but aside from that, it was a bold step by Williams, and while it never really succeeded, I think it’s quite an underrated effort.

Embed from Getty Images



    January 17, 2008 at 4:13 am

    Hmmmm…..interesting. I actually quite liked the ’99 Williams (exactly as you say, once I’d gotten over it being another red Williams) and it would actually be well up there in any list I was putting together. This one’s simple but not quite enough for me, but good on you for picking it. Anything with both a kangaroo and a woodpecker on the side of it has got to be okay!


    January 17, 2008 at 7:15 am

    Very smooth design. I expect Ferrari to figure highly in this list.


    January 27, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    This one does look good. People had a hard time accepting that the Rothmans ultra-popular and distinctive scheme was abandoned for ’98.
    The radical change almost feels like a prevision of things to come in the Championship, as Williams lost their dominance.


    January 28, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    Been trying to make this comment all day but somehow my comments I make at work don’t seem to get through. Anyway. Was just saying that I still don’t like this design, it does nothing for me, except Woody Woodpecker of course. So I only like the car’s nose. There, saved.


    January 28, 2008 at 10:06 pm

    the color scheme and basic design is so tastefull and concise that it almost makes you forget about how williams ran out of money and needed to cover up the entire thing in sponsor’s logos. almost makes you forget that.


    February 1, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    I’ve got a 1:18 scale model of this car and the longer I’ve had it the more I’ve liked it. The yellow and white stripes over the side pods work really well but you tend to not notice them with all the massive white Winfield logos.


    January 27, 2009 at 2:22 am

    I like this one and it’s probably my 3rd fav Williams behind the 1999 and 1997 cars. Good for you for choosing this great looking car! I still like the 1999 WIlliams the best though


    May 3, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    Loved this list but can’t believe this one made it in! If you have to choose a Winfield Williams, surely the 1999 design is the one! They never did look right in red to me though.


    May 11, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    Absolutely disagree with you here. You have to consider that this design supplanted one of the best and most recognizable, that being the Williams Rothmann design of Hill, Villeneuve which is classic.

    Ned Flanders

    May 19, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    I miss the red Williams’, what great liveries! Especially compared to their current boring, boring blue and white. Williams need a radical makeover ASAP, and their livery would be a good place to start


    May 20, 2010 at 7:56 am

    The 1998 livery was certainly not my favorite, the 99 parrot suited me more. What I found interesting when I did some research on the car for a mod was, that the livery was tweaked over the course of the season. Williams removed some lines on the side of the nose, the Winfield logo on the sidepod changed and some more details. These changes improved the livery a lot for me and I like the late season variants far more than the early season version.

    Ned Flanders

    May 20, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    Oh I never noticed the difference. But you’re absolutely right, the 1999 design was even better (I was meant to add that on the end of my post but I forgot). In fact, I’d say the 1999 Williams is one of my favourite ever liveries full stop

    harry morgan

    October 25, 2010 at 8:10 am

    they never should have changed to red for 1998, that killed Jacques Villeneuve’s career. The 1999 livery was good, but they failed to win a race, until Ralf Schumacher won at Imola in 2001 with blue and white livery.

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    October 9, 2011 at 2:09 pm

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