After yesterday’s controversy, this is surely safer ground. Who doesn’t like this?
The long-suffering Arrows team underwent something of a rebirth (brief as it was) at the turn of the century, having endured a pretty lousy end to the previous decade – the high-profile failure of the Damon Hill experiment, the uncertainty and constant rebranding that took place during an ill-fated 1999 – and in addition to rolling out a surprisingly neat and tidy car that was among the fastest of all in a straight line that year, and with journeyman workhorse Jos Verstappen in the form of his career, one of the more prominent changes was an overhaul of the team’s visual identity, thanks to a linkup with Orange that gave the team one of the most memorable liveries of recent years. The team had already begun to introduce a combination of black and orange on the ’99 car – which was predominantly black but with flashes of red, white and orange through sponsorship with Repsol – and this was followed up with a design that made the orange more prevalent in deference to the new sponsors. Orange is a colour that hasn’t been too widely used in F1 – partly as it has a habit of not showing up well on TV cameras, as Spyker found to their cost last year – but the Arrows of 2000-2002 made you wonder why people didn’t try it more often. Combined with enough black to offset it, it stood out as distinctive without ever being garish. The fact that the 2000 car was such a well-designed machine, too, meant that the lines couldn’t help but look smart. The cars of the following two seasons would refine the layout – increasing the ratio of black to orange – but they also messed up the simplicity somewhat with multi-coloured sponsor logos such as Asiatech and Red Bull, and given how much of a breath of fresh air the scheme was on its first appearance, it’s a shame that it had become somewhat tiresome by the time the team folded. Nevertheless, it gave Arrows a distinctive and memorable visual identity for arguably the first time in their history – with the added bonus that the phrase “Orange Arrows” could refer either to the team’s official entry name, or simply a description of their car!