A little while ago, unusual and flashy Formula 1 car launches were all the rage. Now, that isn’t quite the case. So, let’s look back at some of F1’s more unusual car reveals.
Expensive, snazzy F1 car unveilings in exotic locations used to be common before the start of a new season.
But, sadly, now we have to put up with pre-testing car roll-outs and social media photo reveals. So, with the latest batch F1 launches just around the corner, here are a few examples of when teams went all out with weird and wacky car reveals.
The Earth Car
Honda revealed its 2007 F1 car with Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello at the Natural History Museum in London, but it was the car under the covers that really surprised.
Because Honda had gone for basically no sponsorship or branding, instead covering its car in, well, the globe. It’s safe to say the RA107’s livery remains one of the strangest in F1.
Spicing things up
McLaren went all out for its 1997 F1 car launch, with the Spice Girls – at the time, one of the biggest music acts in the world – performing at London’s Alexandra Palace for the unveiling of the new MP4/12, signalling a new livery direction with the black and silver West colour scheme.
Some added sugar
Sauber also brought pop music to its launch, with girl band the Sugababes performing at the unveiling of its 2004 car – driven that year by Fisichella and Felipe Massa. The launch took place at Red Bull’s Hangar-7 in Salzburg, as the drinks company was a major sponsor of Sauber before forming its own team the following year.
Piecing it together
McLaren’s 2011 car launch in Berlin saw team members and (eventually) the drivers helping to piece together its new car, the MP4-26, in front of gathered media and fans at the Potsdamer Platz.
We’re used to seeing fully prepared cars being uncovered or rolled out, so witnessing a F1 machine being put together was certainly an unusual way to launch a new car and season.
Plus, that McLaren from 2011 looks particularly stunning, and the wacky-shaped sidepods match the way the car was unveiled perfectly!
From the unusual, to the stunning. Benetton’s 2001 F1 car, the B201, may not have been particularly successful and quick, but it was launched in much more spectacular style.
The car was uncovered in St. Mark’s Square in Venice, with a lovely backdrop for Giancarlo Fisichella and Jenson Button (joined by young Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso) to uncover the team’s new F1 beast.
Wrapping up warm
Jordan was taken over by the Midland Group for the 2005 season and that meant a flashy launch of its EJ15 in Russia’s capital city, Moscow. The car was driven by Tiago Monteiro and Narain Karthikeyan, who wrapped up in the cold conditions at Red Square.
BAR came into F1 with a big budget and they made that clear with an expensive, big launch event with Jacques Villeneuve and Ricardo Zonta at the team’s factory in Brackley. The strangest thing about it is quite obvious, right?
The two cars had different liveries and that remains incredibly unusual. Of course, the FIA got involved and told BAR it couldn’t do that, so the team eventually ran its weird split-livery design… thanks FIA.
When thinking about where to launch a new F1 car, a train station doesn’t really come to mind. But, given Jarno Trulli was driving for Toyota at the time, it seemed quite appropriate for the Japanese outfit’s unveiling at Barcelona’s Estacio de Franca. All aboard the Trulli train…