Caterham, Marussia and Williams (sort of) round off 2013 launches

And almost as quickly as it began, the 2013 launch season is over. That’s what happens, I guess, when the number of teams is reduced, AND when half of them choose to “launch” by rolling out their new cars amid little fanfare on the same test day.

With the demise of HRT, we’re now left with just two of the new teams who joined the grid at the start of the 2010 season – and they both have different names. But both Caterham (as Lotus) and Marussia (as Virgin) had stonkingly excellent liveries upon their original launches, so how are they shaping up as they go into their respective fourth seasons?

Let’s look at Caterham first, then. In both 2011 and 2012, they disappointed me by moving away from the amazing 2010 car to a slightly weaker variant. I was never especially keen on the diagonal profile strip they introduced in 2011, nor the way they deployed the nose stripe after that first year. Interestingly, however, they seem this year to have moved partly away from the green-and-yellow styling, without ditching it entirely.

The yellow stripe visible in profile is still a bit of a misstep, primarily because it’s now the only such area on the car. Instead, a dark grey has been introduced to the front and rear wings – which actually looks kind of great. Suddenly the car’s quite reminiscent of an ’80s or early ’90s livery – a feeling that’s only enhanced by looking at it from the front on, where there’s no yellow visible at all, and in fact it winds up looking somewhat like the marvellous 1983 Benetton Tyrrell.

But it’s odd that after seemingly making a conscious effort to move away from the “Lotus” design – the shade of green appears to have changed a bit, too – they’d keep that last remnant of it. Ditching yellow from the livery altogether would, I think, have been a more positive statement. Although, that said: that Tyrrell I like so much had a tiny amount of yellow on it, too.

On to Marussia, meanwhile, and there’s further evidence of what was once a striking and superb red-and-black livery being reduced to… well, just something wholly bland, really.

Losing sponsors – including former team namers Virgin – has undoubtedly harmed the team, and they now feel like an outfit severely lacking in identity. The 2013 paint job certainly isn’t horrible – but neither is it in any way dramatic or inspiring. Maybe it’s that the colours are a bit washed out, but more than anything, it reminds me of the 2006 Midland. And that’s not a good thing.

And finally, although they haven’t yet held a proper launch, Williams have shown us their 2013 livery by sticking it on their 2012 car at the first round of testing:

Embed from Getty Images

And, well… it’s just a bit depressing, really, as a fan of the team, to see so few sponsors on the car and on their completely uninspiring new uniforms. Obviously the departure of Bruno Senna hasn’t helped much in that regard, and it’s not like the cars of the previous couple of years were plastered in names, but this feels even more stark. It sure feels like a long time ago that this was happening, eh?

Apologies for the lateness in catching up with these launches, by the way – real life got somewhat in the way over the last week. But I’ll be back to do a full roundup – and, most importantly, ranking the things – later in the week…



    February 12, 2013 at 12:38 am

    New Caterham is easily my favourite of last few years. Green liveries look great, but I’ve felt theirs has always been too dark and the only thing better than the new shade is the black/grey 90’s looking wings, it works surprisingly well on a modern car. Pure nostalgia. Gotta say I’m a fan of the fat yellow stripe too, but it would still be great without it.

      Seb Patrick

      February 12, 2013 at 12:09 pm

      Yeah, the more I look at it, I think it needs the yellow to offset the rest. If anything, a little touch more of it on the nose, to offset the main colour, would probably improve it (as on that Tyrrell).

      But I think it’s my favourite livery since the 2010 Lotus-as-was, certainly.


    February 12, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    This car confuses me. I think that head on, it’s absolutely beautiful. However, side on, I don’t think the green/yellow combination is as good as it was last year. Kind of makes me wish they had got rid of the yellow altogether. The Jaguar-ish green is great, but not together with that yellow.


    February 21, 2013 at 1:41 am

    i noticed yesterday at the launch that the senna “s” has returned on the front wing pylons. it’s interesting that they took it off while bruno was driving, but put it back on now that he’s gone.


    February 26, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    Disappointed with the Williams and the Marrusia, thought it wqas going to be more like Max Chilton’s GP2 car with large Aon logos all over it, but not to be. The Willimas is a bit rubbish to be honest, it’s as if PDVSA have no identity of thier own, the HVM Indycar of EJ Viso was superbb in black white and bright green, that would be beter than the Rothmans-lite scheme of the past few years.
    As for the Caterham, well played, the yellow fits well with Renault and Caterham and the rest of the sponser in white on green is class.

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