Back to Black for Lotus

Well, this is interesting. As regular readers will know, I’m a huge, huge fan of the 2010 Lotus livery – I think it’s the best one not only on this year’s grid, but quite possibly on any year’s grid for the last decade. So I can’t really see any reason for them to want to change it any time soon. But they can.

In a move that is certain to excite Lotus fans and followers of Formula One™ around the world, Lotus Racing has announced this morning that its cars will be running in a black and gold colour scheme from the 2011 Championship onwards.

There’s no denying that the black-and-gold JPS livery is pretty much the most famous and iconic racing livery of all time. It was a wonderful car both in its original appearances in the ’70s, and later in the ’80s (when, for all his time at McLaren, the most evocative images of Ayrton Senna on-track could be found). But the thing is, there’s a crucial difference between that livery and the green-and-gold that Lotus are using this year. Green was a “Lotus” colour first and foremost – it was the team’s visual identity at their inception. That identity later changed, but entirely due to sponsorship concerns (it’s telling that every time the team were without a major sponsor, they went back to some configuration of that original look) – and the black-and-gold is a sponsor’s livery. It’s associated very heavily with Lotus, yes – but even more so with John Player Special. People know it as “the JPS car”.

This new car – of course, due to tobacco sponsorship legislation – won’t be sponsored by JPS. We don’t know who’ll be sponsoring the team next year, but unless it’s – say- Guinness, it won’t be their corporate colours defining the team’s identity. It almost feels like an arbitrary decision – and something designed to curry racing fans’ opinion. And that smacks of desperation from a team that were actually already doing pretty alright at being the best-supported of the new teams. I’m sure the car will look utterly fantastic, however it turns out – but is it the right move? I’m not entirely sure.

Incidentally, the second part of Lotus’ announcement is fairly exciting:

To bring the fans even closer to the team in its second season Head of Marketing Silvi Schaumloeffel today explained how the 2011 livery will be designed: “We have worked all year to make sure our fans are given unprecedented access to our team. We are all very excited about the move to a black and gold paint scheme for next season, and we want our fans to help us design the livery that will be racing around the world next year. We will shortly be announcing exactly how the fans can take part in our design process, so keep an eye on our website for more details. The person who designs the livery we finally choose will be joining us at our first test next year to see the car out on track for the very first time, so for Lotus and F1™ fans it is the chance of a lifetime to help us take the next step forward in our amazing story in 2011.”

That is pretty awesome, you have to say. Budding designers, get your pens out!

(Oh, and I reserve the right to retract any reservations I have about this should the team suddenly announce Bruno Senna as a driver, obviously)



    November 11, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    This year has not only been a great season for the races and championship fight, but has also given us a lot of attention to liveries. Ferrari have definitely improved with the all red engine cover, and HRT’s only upgrade has been to a much better, and actually pretty good looking, metallic gray with yellow. In addition, the original Renault livery has been improved by the additional engine cover tweaks/HP logo.

    I hope for next year McLaren will start thinking of changing the livery as Merc. insists on a more silvery car (blech, but it is bland now anyway). Sauber also surely needs to get a real livery next season. And maybe Williams will change too, with new sponsors, perhaps even away from blue/white! I loved their special Brazil bits of livery for Barichello that worked as teasers of how good it could be.

    I really liked the current Lotus Racing livery, and I think it shows that they do have taste, so if Black/Gold really happens (some seem to think it is purely to offend Group Lotus) it will look good, I am sure.


    November 12, 2010 at 11:52 am

    There’s probably a good chance that the rumoured Lotus Cars and Renault partnership will take the green livery, so we might be able to have both.

    Unfortunately that means we’ll lose the Renault livery, which I think is the best on the 2010 grid.


    November 12, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    I was never a huge fan of the JPS Lotus. However, I think there is potential in those colours to make a pretty incredible looking livery


    November 19, 2010 at 12:30 am

    Hilarious they will ask a ‘fan’ to design it.
    How would the fan know what the secondary sponsors are going to be for example ! – Good PR though.

    They’ll just select a fan who gets closest to their
    already selected livery design that some LotusRenault artist came up with several months ago !


    November 19, 2010 at 5:53 am

    Haha, very cynical, but probably pretty close to the truth!


    November 26, 2010 at 9:21 am

    Markers at the ready guys! I doubt that the next “1Malaysia Racing” livery will be designed by a Fan but It’s be very interesting to see what the fans modern interpretation of probably the most iconic livery of all time is (notice iconic and not the best Seb lol). I’ll certianly give it a go but how can any sponser be pleased with having their name constantly linked to JPS all season, JPS will get so much coverage next year without spending a penny!


    November 29, 2010 at 9:25 am

    From Speed TV, KV Racing’s three Group Lotus cars to run in retro liveries, just like Lotus Racing! Will this Lotus madness ever end????

    “The last element of KV’s plans for 2011 will fans of the retro Lotus paint scheme the team used this season. While it remains unclear whether Lotus will dress all of KV’s cars in vintage liveries next year, Vasser says people should expect to see a greater variety of visuals that draw from Lotus’ rich history in Formula One and Indy Car racing.

    “You’ll see some historic liveries next year; John Player Special colors, the Camel Lotus yellow, the British Racing Green and some other cool stuff. The fans really connected to the car’s colors this year and the racing push by Lotus in IndyCar will really line up with the launch of their new road cars in 2012. Everything is coming together nicely and I think the fans will be really happy to see our cars when they hit the track.””


    December 8, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    The world has gone Lotus mad! now we have two Lotus Renault in F1, Lotus ART in GP2 and GP3, Lotus KV Racing in Indycar plus numerous Lotus GT projects! Will Someone please bang some heads together and get these people all to be one company and one brand. I am loving all the Lotus liveries that are being rpoduced these days though 🙂


      December 8, 2010 at 3:17 pm

      Agreed. It’s utterly ridiculous

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