2009 Launches : A Round-Up

Okay, it’s about time I got around to this, so that we’ll be nice and up-to-date for when the next round of launches kicks off (Red Bull are scheduled to launch on the 9th, with Force India and Toro Rosso to be confirmed and the Williams livery to be unveiled at the opening race). It’s looking increasingly like, aside from the Renault, no team has actually bothered to make significant changes to their design this year – but let’s go through team by team and see if there are any differences we can spot, or points worth noting.

We start with Ferrari, first out of the blocks (as they were last year) and, of course, sticking with almost exactly the same livery (as they did last year). Ferrari only ever change things when they’ve got a new major sponsor – or if it’s an end-of-era type situation, as they did when making the design a bit more “futuristic” for the post-Schumacher era.

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They’ve gone with the same wider version of the “barcode” Marlboro fudging as was seen on the car for some of last season – it’s nowhere near as nice as the simpler version from 2007 and last year’s launch, to be honest. The sooner this weird, rule-bending half-association with Marlboro is over, and they have to actually put some thought into the liveries again, the better – sure, the cars always look nice, but they’re desperately unimaginative.

Speaking of desperately unimaginative… hey, it’s Toyota!

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I don’t think there’s ever been a team with such a bloody-minded determination NEVER TO CHANGE. Alright, so as we discussed at the time of the ’08 launch, they make minor changes each year, but essentially, it’s been THE SAME BASTARD CAR since 2002. And it’s BORING. Even moreso when you consider that, as I’ve mentioned repeatedly, we have too many predominantly white cars nowadays. For the record, this has been changed from last year (you wouldn’t know at a glance, but compare side by side and you get an idea), in that the red bits are back to being asymmetrical. But all that does is make it look like an older version, rather than something new. Sigh.

McLaren, meanwhile, haven’t got bored of the chrome look yet, and so are yet another team that are running a car almost identical to the last couple of years.

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There are a couple of points worth noting on this one, though. If we compare it to last year, it can be seen that the red/black lines that run alongside the nose no longer stretch past the cockpit. This is probably, along with the way the red on the sidepod seems to run for further, a consequence of the new shape of the car. Meanwhile, it could just be a trick of the light, but the red looks a bit brighter, and a bit less orange. To be honest, though, these things are difficult to judge at launch, and there would seem to be no practical reason to simply change the shade, so I doubt it’s really any different. And the other point to note is that, clearly proud of Lewis’ World Champion status, they’ve stuck his race number #1 on the rear wing’s endplate. It’s particularly interesting when you consider that they didn’t bother to do the same with Alonso’s 2007 car – clearly, the team feel differently about champions that actually won in their own machinery…

And finally, we have BMW. Once again, not a huge amount to say, with a basic paint scheme that only alters to fit the simpler lines of these ugly new machines :

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… but there are at least changes to note, and they’re quite obvious. The end of the sponsorship deal with Credit Suisse has left a gap on the car, with Intel moving to the rear wing endplate space (have they scaled back their involvement, too? They’re not on the front wing any more, either) It remains to be seen if the gap on the engine cover is going to be filled by a new sponsor before the season starts, but it’s interesting that BMW have chosen to put the old “BMW Power” text on the lower part – it’s somewhat reminiscent of their branding on the old Williamses. Oh, and Nick Heidfeld has a new, green helmet design – but I’ll be looking at all helmet designs once the season gets underway!

It’s a shame, really. I launched this blog to commentate on liveries, and over the last couple of seasons there’s been very little to talk about in the way of new designs (even less now that the number of teams in the sport is shrinking). Still, I’m hoping to keep things going (and I do mean it, this time!) with some more “history”-based articles, so hopefully that’ll see us through a barren year of paint-job-related excitement!


    Watson Waterstone

    February 1, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    Yes, please immerse us in the fun history of F1! Thanks.


    February 4, 2009 at 9:27 am

    There’s an interesting thing about the McLaren. The part of the engine cover along the spine and up to where it starts to curve away to bend around the bulge of the engine and cooling system – the engine cover ‘fin’ for lack of a better word – looks to be semi transparent. In some angles you can see the wheel and suspension of the wheel on the far side through the body work. You can see it on the image in the article. Maybe McLaren’s trying to perfect some form of stealth technology?

    And isn’t the BMW boring?

    The Last Pope

    February 4, 2009 at 10:40 pm

    That has to be a reflection of the right rear tyre right? Sure the Carbon fibre is probably real thin there but even one sheet isnt transparent and that would be one flopply fin lol.

    I agree the BMW is boring but it is tidy aswell and I bet it will be real fast.

    Force India’s 2OO9 wall calender has a car livery with more of an Indian flag theme. Maybe a prelude to what their new car will look like? cant get much worse than last years huh?

    By the way nice website Seb. You are right this is the only place on the internet dedicated to F1 Liveries. If you can keep it going though the whole season with other articles on cars from the past then that would be very cool. You may have lost some readers last year, but you gained one today.

    Darren M

    February 16, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    2009 may not have been great for new liveries so far, but there is still Force India, Williams and ‘the team formally known as Honda’ to launch, and I think we will see 3 new liveries when they do!

    Also, there is talk of manafcturer teams like Toyota, BMW and Renault quiting at the end of the season, and Toro Rosso is up for sale. Max Mosely claims there will be 12 teams on the grid next year so we’ll see at least 2 new liveries then if that is the case.

    And if Renault doesn’t quit F1, ING has just announced that it is pulling out of F1 next season so we can expect them to have a new livery in 2010 if they are still around.

    So have faith and keep the site going, the next livery revolution is on its way!


    February 17, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Look about half way down this page for a bunch of photos about the semi transparent McLaren – http://www.grandprixgames.org/read.php?3,835012,page=26

    Looking forward to Renault next year, if they stick around. Hopefully they’ll go for a more traditional yellow and black!

    How good does the new Red Bull look??


    February 19, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    I agree totally about the boring liveries this year, although i think Toyota’s this year is much better being assymetric, I think the problem is that there are no new sponsers, the teams have probably done really well holding onto the ones they already had. I would like to think that the remaining teams will do something different with their liveries, especially whoever takes over the Honda team.
    With regards to the new Red Bull, I think they have missed a trick as the red blue silver stripes up the nose and over the side pods don’t match the blue silver red of the red bull cola can on the rear wing, just a thought.
    Keep up the good work with the website and there are definetley some good historical liveries out there to discuss and admire.
    Also what about a fantasy livery section? See if us fans can do a better job than the heroes who’s jobs we would all love?

    Used trucks

    February 20, 2009 at 7:34 am

    wow … that Vodafone car pic is looking real awesome … i think McLaren loves this design 😀

    The Last Pope

    February 21, 2009 at 1:55 am

    I stand corrected Gareth. In those pics it is clearly not a reflection. Maybe carbon fibre cant be used at such small thickness.

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