Passing beauties


Formula One remains hopelessly conservative in some realms. No wonder then to see the matt, black-and-white, camouflage-liveried RB11 cause such a stir within the paddock when it broke covers in Jerez for the 2015 opening pre-season test. It was a bold move, and a marketing masterstroke! (Sadly, this did not last long with Red Bull reverting back to a more traditional livery last week).

The initiative is not unprecedented in the sport though. Temporary liveries have been used for a long time and have always added a much-welcomed touch of colour and originality, both of which are often lacking in F1. With these beauties – or monstrosities depending on your taste – bound to remain temporary, why not take a chance and change your habits?

After all, isn’t F1 all about fleeting elegance as cars blast past in a blur?

For instance, we can rue McLaren’s decision not to hark back to the heyday of its first alliance with Honda in the late 80s. Wouldn’t it have been grand to see the new MP4-30 sport the iconic red-and-white colours from a well-known cigarette company (see above)? The livery would have been even more fitting if today’s power unit failures resulted in a gentle plume of smoke billowing out of the back of the car. Other times, other ways. Perhaps the pairing's glorious legacy is a little too heavy to bear at the moment for both Woking and Sakura.

As you will see in the following pictures, many teams have indulged in provisional paint designs. What could be more normal? After all, isn’t F1 all about fleeting elegance as cars blast past in a blur? It's a little like a stylish feminine figure one briefly spots in the morning and which remains imbedded in our memory for the rest of the day, precisely because we know we will never get a chance to see it again.