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Formula 1 2016: rating the liveries

We review the liveries on each of the 2016 cars.

Now we are into the season, we can take a good look at the liveries on offer in 2016. Such an important part of Formula 1, the array of colours darting down the grid – especially at the start of the race is a great spectacle. While the paint job on your car won’t win any races, in a sport that’s dominated by advertising and sponsors, having a distinctive car is a key attribute for all of the teams.



As we associate Red with Ferrari, Silver is the domain of the Mercedes team. A moniker from their 1950s incarnation ‘The Silver Arrows’ are only ever going to have one base colour. It is not a striking colour, and in recent times the clashes with McLaren and Force India have been frustrating when you want to identify a car in a split second. Some token splashes of black at the back and on both wings do nothing for the overall design.

I also find the Petronas advert just in front of the driver frustrating as it looks like a six when you’re on board. Even through you know that the numbers are red and on the nose, you can’t help but think, oh it’s Rosberg.

6/10 – Classic but uninspiring.



As above, the Ferrari is red, you can’t argue with it. The shade of red is known as Rosso Corsa, the international colour of Italian motor racing (similar to British Racing Green). In 1968, when teams replaced national colours with the colours of their sponsors, Ferrari stuck with red. What is known more commonly known as Ferrari Red (100,16,0 RGB Chart) is the most distinctive in F1.

This year’s version has a lot more white than in 2015, on the wings and across the air box with flashes of black to offset. Happily for Ferrari, the yellow Shell logo of their principle sponsor looks good against the Red, but the car is cluttered. The nose is far too busy as is the rear wing and the random UPS logo hovering on the side pods does nothing for the presentation.

5/10 – Too many sponsors spoil the look.



When Williams brought back the Martini paint job it was with no small amount of pleasure for the fans and this is still true. It’s just a really nice set of racing colours. They’ve added to what was a more minimalist approach in 2015, with everyone’s go to black patches on the wings, floor and rear wing.

The sponsors are nicely placed without cluttering the car and the stripes get more striking at the back of the car.

9/10 – A great and distinctive paint job.


Red Bull

The Red Bull concept has been the same for some time, it’s meant to look like a can of red bull, with the driver’s helmet is the ring pull. For some time the drivers had to wear silver on their helmets, but this faded when Vettel started changing his helmet every week.

I have found the Red Bull look tiresome in recent years, but for 2016 the changes have given it a much needed refresh. The yellow is more prominent on the nose, side pods and especially the air box which makes it stand out from the Torro Rosso. I really like how it says Red Bull on the staggered elements of the nose, and it doesn’t feel like the other sponsors get in the way of the overall livery.

They are also one of two teams running a matte paint job, after years of polished glossy F1 cars this is a nice change and maybe they have found that it gives a speed advantage. It certainly gives a different look under the floodlights.

8/10 – A much improved look with bonus points for the matte.


Force India

When they first bought Spyker in 2008, they morphed the design into a green and white livery that was meant as a homage to the Indian Flag and sponsor Sahara. The white base didn’t work and their best offering was probably their black and green in 2014. But this now has a huge silver stripe running from the back and down the nose, with only small offerings of green.

It is too much like the Mercedes from head on with silver and black on the wings, and from the side it looks a mess. If Green is meant to be the distinctive element then have a green car, F1 doesn’t need another samey silver/black approach.

Sahara’s presence on the car is diminished and there is a smattering of white names all over the car that do nothing for a look which needs something to make it stand out. The flair of the silver swipe is a token effort on an otherwise bland look.

4/10 – This car makes me feel meh.



The Gold and Black Lotus was one of the winning liveries of the past few seasons so I was sorry to see it go. I was then delighted to see the striking yellow design in Australia, by the power of Grayshull we have some colour on the F1 grid again. Maybe the ghost of Eddie Jordan visited Renault, I don’t know, I’m just happy it happened.

It’s a simple design with no real features to show off the shape of the car and guess what, the wings and floor are black so this isn’t a classic just yet (relax Jordan 2002 fans). Still, this is a distinctive design on a grid of similar looking cars. They are the other team running the matte paint job. I will looking for them to go to town on this in 2017, can we pray for a shark, hornet or snake?

8/10 – Great effort


Toro Rosso

As if worried that they might get outperformed on the track, Red Bull made sure that the sister team was not the best dressed. It’s not all that different from 2015’s car, and it looks a little tired. Loss of sponsors have seen them go back to the Red Bull Cola rear wing which looks out of place to the rest of the car.

They badly need to give this car the makeover they gave Red Bull.

5/10 – It’s not bad, it’s just not good.



McLaren spent so much time focusing on improving the car after 2015’s dismal performance that they almost forgot to paint it. An all-black design in mourning of past glories is spiced up with some red stripes on the side pods. The sponsors add no colour and this car is lost in the pack, a wonderful metaphor for Button and Alonso’s careers.

2/10 – Must try harder, or at all.



After several years of just awful designs, 2015 saw Sauber pull one out of the bag with a brand new Blue and Yellow design. In 2016 they have changed absolutely nothing in terms of design. Face palm. Another wonderful metaphor for car development.

There are some new sponsors which have all congregated on the rear wing, as if they expect to see the car from the on-board camera of the other cars passing them.

Still though, it’s some distinctive colour so they get some bonus points for that.

6/10 – It would have been eight last season, but it’s second-hand now.



I can’t decide if I like this car or not. On one hand I applaud the use of colours, the blue base with the red and white when coupled with the driver’s uniforms creates a nice look and brand for the team, but the overall presentation seems to be missing something. Maybe it’s the lack of sponsors, but I kind of feel someone had a really good idea for a livery but then one of the engineers brought in some cakes and they never got it finished.

Bonus points for the shaded “M” on the air box.

7/10It could be great, it’s not though.



Does the voice of Andy from Little Britain “I don’t like it”. There are so many colours to choose from, did we really need another silver car. It’s not even a nice silver, more grey than anything. Someone spilt some red on the two wings which they haven’t cleaned off yet, probably also busy trying to find some sponsors to go on the car.

3/10 – Do better, run a competition or something.

Formula 1 2016: rating the liveries

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