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 www.lotusracing.my 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)