We’re almost there – the majority of the 2015 F1 cars have been revealed and pre-season testing is underway. In the past this has been a great opportunity for teams to run some different liveries and even though Red Bull have surprised us all by running with with an awesome dazzle-camouflage livery, these days unique one-off paint schemes are rarer than Maldonado points. Here are some of the best from the past.
Before BAR went through the whole split-livery nonsense with the FIA they ran this slick blue, black and silver colour scheme during testing (and again when testing for their second season). Sure, it’s probably not as cool as the zipped livery they ended up using for the first season, but it looks pretty damn awesome.
Red Bull/Jaguar R5
The Red Bull livery is one of the most easily recognisable on the grid today, but they didn’t always look like that. This paint job resembling their drinks cans was slapped on a Jaguar R5 after they bought the team, and it looks much, much better. If only they’d stuck with it!
Williams-BMW Test Car
Before the Martini sponsorship, Williams often ran amazing black or navy blue testing liveries before changing it to something infinitely worse for the races. Probably the coolest testing livery they used however was this – after running rebadged Renault engines for a couple of years they switched to BMW for the 2000 season. To test the engines, Jorg Muller drove this test car with a super cool striped blue and white paint job.
This year (just like every year) the internet has been flooded with rumours and speculation about whether McLaren will have an orange livery. In recent years they have used an orange livery for testing on occasion – in 1997 with the MP4-12, and most recently with the MP4-21.
Despite the Zakspeed F1 team having West sponsorship before it was cool, they spent much of the second half of the 1980s propping up the back of the grid. Everyone knows a good livery automatically makes your car go faster, so maybe if they’d stuck with the one they used for testing in 1984 they’d have been more successful.
The Orange-Arrows liveries are some of the best ever to grace a racing car, fact. When testing the A23, Arrows ran this sponsor-free livery, just in orange and black. Possibly NSFW.
After nailing it with their first two liveries, BAR went down the smart but slightly boring route of a white Lucky Strike paint scheme. When testing for the 2004 season however, they painted the car black in an attempt to mask what they were doing with the aerodynamics. Very Arrows A19 – and that’s pretty much the biggest compliment you can give.
Toyota’s liveries were a lot like their on-track performance – not bad, but could have been better. Famous for throwing insane amounts of money at their F1 program, they spent an entire year testing a car which would never be raced. It was still red and white, but it looked a lot smarter than the red splashes that adorned the paint job of the cars that actually raced.
The Jordan 191. Not only one of the best looking F1 cars of all time, but one of the best liveried F1 cars of all time. You might wonder how it can possibly get any better, but it does. In early testing the 191 showed up in naked carbon fibre with a smattering of yellow Jordan branding. Oh boy.
As Benetton morphed into Renault in 2002, the beautiful light blue colour scheme risked being lost as Renault ran the B201 with this rather plain yellow and white livery over the off-season. Thankfully Mild Seven stayed on as title sponsor, and the yellow and blue Renaults arguably became more iconic than the Benettons.