We didn’t get a post out on this straight away because AlphaTauri took the bizarre step of launching their car on a Friday night – and on Valentine’s Day, to boot. There was no chance I was going to have the chance to get away and give this the writeup it deserves, so you’re getting it now. But it does deserve having time spent on it, because bloody hell, what a livery this is.
My initial reaction from the first shots I saw of the launch was how weird I thought the massive logo and “ALPHA TAURI” text on the engine cover were – and I still think that. But it’s weird in a good way. It’s unusual, and striking, and while it’s not a kind of layout we often see on an F1 car, it is one that actually fits the design and shape of this car really well.
The colour scheme, meanwhile, is one that’s close to not working – because it’s dangerously close to just being a simple black and white. That would make it very smart, sure, but also a bit dull – especially in a season where Haas already have a similar colour scheme. But it’s not just a simple black and white: instead it’s an extremely choice shade of very dark blue, coupled with something that’s not quite white, not quite silver, not quite grey, but somewhere on that spectrum.
And crucially, the whole car sticks to those two colours – with one exception (more of that shortly), every logo on the car is in the main colour scheme, just as it was on the blue and silver Toro Rosso livery that preceded this one. Doing this can make such a big difference to a livery, and is crucial if you’re going to take a simple colour scheme – like this dark blue and not-quite-white, or like the black and white of a 1998 Arrows – and make it sharp and striking. As for that one exception, meanwhile – it’s the Honda logo, unusually placed low on the sidepod, and picked out in a bright red. It’s another move that feels like it shouldn’t work, yet somehow does.
My favourite view of the car, though, is from the top down. That’s where we get a good look not only at that nice and smart race number font (something of a trend this season so far, that), but at the “panel” design on the nose. That’s a style that we don’t really see so much on F1 cars these days, but puts me in mind of how they looked in the 1990s – so naturally, it’s a style I’m in favour of.
All in all, considering the previous liveries it had to live up to, this is a remarkably good job. It’s striking and effective, and everyone’s talking about it. It’s going to look great on track, and it’s absolutely had the desired effect of drawing attention to the first clothing brand to name an F1 team since Benetton shuffled out of the sport in the early 2000s. And frankly, it makes us think even more that the parent team really ought to buck their ideas up.