You know, it’s funny – back when Marussia took over Virgin Racing, I said on more than one occasion that they should mix up the livery by adding in some blue, to match their corporate colours. But did they listen to me? Nope.
Yet as soon as they sell the team back to Manor, what happens? Well, first the car gets some additional blue partway through last season, courtesy of a sponsorship deal; and then, for 2016, their first full season as “Manor Racing” rather than “Manor Marussia”, they finally go… full-on blue and red (and black and white).
And okay, this livery isn’t perfect. It’s almost entirely lacking in sponsors (although they have at least got a couple), and once again we’d have to quibble about the fact that after black and grey, the most common colours on the grid in 2016 are red, white and blue. But, nobody else has got them in this combination, and the blue is a particularly lovely metallic shade that calls to mind my beloved Prost Acer. It certainly looks a lot more striking out on track than last year’s car did, or indeed than the plastic-blue Sauber (which, incidentally, looks to have retained an almost identical livery this year, just with a few additional sponsors on the wing). And while the text on the car is sparse, I really like the team’s new, clean and simple typography.
If nothing else, it’s a splash of colour on a grid that’s otherwise mostly lacking in it – and for that alone, unless Renault (or, more drastically, Toro Rosso) come out with a bright yellow car in the next fortnight, I’d say that’s enough to win them the 2016 “Best Livery” stakes.
Well, that or the fact that they are basically now the London Weekend Television logo.