Haas is about to embark on its fifth season in Formula 1, so now would seem like a good time to review the team's livery game
That the VF-20 would see a return to the Haas corporate colours of red, white, and black following the departure of Rich Energy as a title sponsor was not a surprise. What was a surprise was that such a traditionally dreary colour scheme has come out looking so good.
But how does it rank compared to the other Haas liveries? Let’s take a look at the seven (yes, seven) major ones since the team entered F1 in 2016 and see what’s what.
For the team’s second season, Haas went with a darker theme than it had in 2016. The white was all but gone, replaced instead with a flat grey and plenty of red areas. The re-appearance of shark fins on the 2017 cars caused some consternation and in terms of livery design, Haas probably initially made better use of it than anyone with a funky geometric pattern which made it look like the car was moving, even when it wasn’t. It was an understated but gorgeous livery - we ranked it the second-best of the year at the time.
Damn, this looks cool. Clear, defined blocks of black and white in exactly the right areas with just the right amount of red accents. If you ever needed proof that bright colours and elaborate designs aren’t necessary for a good livery, this is it. The only reason it’s not number one is that it doesn’t look quite as striking from the rear three-quarter view as it does from the front, but it was a close call. It’s the sort of livery that would look smart on any car from any era and if Haas sticks with it, it has every chance of becoming a bit of a classic.
There was plenty of anticipation over what Haas’s first Formula 1 car would look like and when the VF-16 was finally revealed, the result was… well, a bit meh. Maybe it’s because there were rumours that the car would be yellow, but black, red, and silver isn’t exactly the most innovative colour palette. Looking back, though, the launch version of the VF-16 was smart, if a bit bare.
Black and gold is an iconic livery…if it’s on a Lotus from the 1970s or 80s. On everything else it’s always looked a bit pants… and the VF-19 was firmly in that category. It wasn’t bad, but gold only really works as an accent colour, and the areas on the nose and engine cover were had far too much of it. Plus, the fact that most of the other logos on the car were white kinda spoiled the effect. It gets some bonus points, though, purely because of the meme-factor of Rich Energy hilariously being the title sponsor.
Heading into the 2017 Monaco GP, Haas made the decision to completely ruin a glorious livery. The red bits which so brilliantly stood out against the black and grey were replaced with an altogether more boring white. It made the cars stand out a bit more on TV but had turned a smart, aggressive-looking car into one which looked a bit messy.
Between the end of pre-season testing and the first race in Australia, Haas decided to replace the silver bits of the livery with white, a move which made the car look significantly worse. Not because it’s a bit ugly, but just because it’s boring - a far greater sin.
Having experimented a bit the season before, in 2018 Haas decided to return to its original colour scheme - only with more white, and less black and red. All of this conspired to make an incredibly forgettable livery to the point where it’s hard to even remember anything the team did on the track, despite 2018 being Haas’s most successful season.