F1 Winter Break
Gearing up for new car launches: How a Livery is decided
Gearing up for new car launches: How a Livery is decided
Posted By: James Allen  |  25 Jan 2011   |  4:45 pm GMT  |  131 comments

As we are counting down to the launches of the new cars, with Ferrari at the end of this week and most of the other teams at the start of next week, I thought it would be good to investigate an area that is central to the “look” of a new car, but is often overlooked – the livery.

When we see a new car we see the livery – and quickly get used to it as an identifier on TV – but don’t necessarily take in how it was designed, what it aims to achieve and so on. And yet it is crucial to the identity of the team as this is the main showcase for the team on television, so teams put a lot of thought into the look and feel of their car.

I went behind the scenes to find out more from a team whose livery is likely to cause the most conversation this launch season; the Renault team with its new black and gold colour scheme, echoing the famous JPS Lotus colours of the 1970s and 80s. This is an iconic colour scheme which most fans over 35 will have grown up with and which will be the favourite of many.

I spoke to Renault’s head of graphics Jon Woods, who has been around since the Benetton days in the 1990s, designing liveries for the team. He is the man who designed the Lotus-style livery you will see on this year’s Renault car.

“A livery is a statement of intent and a statement of who you are, ” he says. “Last year we were purely Renault and we had the black and yellow livery to reflect that. In previous years we had a title partner and the livery reflected the brand of the title partner (ING) in conjunction with the Renault brand.

‘This time around it’s more pure, it’s not sharing the space with anyone. It’s the first time in my career I’ve had the luxury of using the colours of one famous racing brand.”

The colours used on the new Renault livery are not exactly the same as on the old JPS Lotus, “I’ve used real gold, ” says Woods, “You wouldn’t believe how many golds there are and how many blacks as well, there are thousands! The black isn’t a true black, it’s got gold in it, so in the sunlight it will really show. I hope that will work well on the TV cameras”

I’ve always imagined that teams do extensive screen tests in front of TV cameras when developing a livery, but this isn’t always the case, “It depends how much money you have,” says Woods. “We normally do colour testing on camera, if not on video then we’ll do it photographically because it’s all digital so it’s understanding how colours work digitally.

“Black doesn’t give you the exposure of yellow or orange, but it does give you a pretty car. We may lose visibility and sheer impact of colour on TV, but we will have a beautiful car.”

Teams do however use 3D visualising software, a Mac application called Cinema 4D. “It’s a software that allows us not just to visualise the car, but to create a whole world for it, racing backgrounds and so on and it all looks super-real. We use real CAD data, with the real shape of the and we put skins on it. That’s helped us a lot in quickly understanding what might work and what certainly won’t work.”

Renault will not have a different livery for the night races at Singapore and Abu Dhabi, “Under artificial lights our car will jump out of the screen,” he adds. “Certainly the gold elements will. That’s another reason why we chose a black that has some gold elements in it, because it will pick up some colour and lustre.”

Jon reveals that he began working on the colour scheme in August last year, as the Lotus deal came together,

“We thought, ‘Let’s reflect a moment of glory in Lotus’ history and use those colours. What I’ve tried to do is give a nod to that part of the history, deference to a famous livery, but taking it a but further. I’ve got a contemporary race car to work with and it’s quite a different shape from the old cars.

When designing a livery what are the key areas of the car to get focus on?

“Inevitably around the cockpit area, the nose and the forward part of the sidepod, ” says Woods, “The shoulders of the sidepod are where we have our gold lines at their thickest. If you have thin lines at the centre of the car the livery looks weak. They should be thick in the middle of the car and taper out towards the front and the back. They are not straight thin lines like they were on the original livery, I’ve adapted it to give maximum impact.”

One of the advantages of having a black car is that you need less layers of paint to cover it than a white car, so you save weight, probably worth up to half a tenth of a second per lap. Painting an F1 car white, requires three or four layers and uses around 4 kilos of paint. A black car needs only one base layer and one top coat, so saves around 30% of paint. At a race like Barcelona in pure performance terms that equates to four seconds over a 66 lap race, although the cars have to hit a minimum weight, it still confers a saving.

The team has followed McLaren in getting sponsors to place their logos not in their own corporate colours, but in a team colour scheme, in this case gold lettering on a black background. I’ve always thought this must be a tough sell as it makes the logos harder to identify. “You have to get them to understand that it’s a culture change for us and get them on board and most of them have been great, ” says Woods.

However contractually Total have insisted on their logo being on a red background, which features on the front and rear wings. Jon describes the red as an “accent” colour, “Three colours is always stronger than two and the accent colour is something that catches the eye, you don’t need a lot of it, but it just works that way.”

There has been some suggestion that the team may face some legal difficulty because the livery is based on a historical tobacco sponsorship, which is now banned in most countries and illegal in certain ones, even though the team is not receiving money from JPS. But Woods rejects any connection with JPS cigarettes in this context,
” When I designed it, I didn’t have a fag packet in my hand,” he says. “It’s not something that has crossed my mind. No, (we’re not concerned about it) it’s the furthest thing from our minds.”

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I think the punch-up over the Lotus name is ridiculous but the scheme is fantastic and from my dim memory a lot prettier than the original JPS Lotus. It's just a shame that there is this angle all the moral weight seems to be in Tony Fernandes favour


Good to see some thought going into modern F1 livery.

Anyone remember the old Durex Team Surtees car?

Or Damon Hill's pink Brabham?

Some trivia James, was Lotus the first team to bring Tobacco sponsorship to F1 with Gold Leaf (1968)? But it wasn't black and gold.


It was gold, white and red.

The Lotus 49 was on display (and won) the Tasman Revival in Sydney last November. A beautiful car.


According to WikiPedia this was the first ever. And you're right, the colours were not black and gold. They were red, gold and white, as for the Gold Leaf brand.



I still can't understand why it is that a Renault is suddenly a Lotus.


Same reason why McLaren will be know as Vodfone this season.


Speaking of the car looking like the JPS sponsored Lotus, Woods says "... It’s not something that has crossed my mind. No, (we’re not concerned about it) it’s the furthest thing from our minds.”

It's a pretty car, but come on, don't insult our intelligence. That's complete BS.


You're absolutely correct Chris, but it should not be overlooked that the original JPS colour scheme was anything but a mistake - it was a colour scheme which worked at many, many levels - which of course, is why they originally went with it.

Where things become somewhat draconian in this modern era is the unspoken assumption that we can never again use an outstanding colour scheme because it was once used in conjunction with tobacco sponsorship. In effect, if we accept that line of logic, we're also accepting that F1 cars can never again be as beautiful as possible because the best colour schemes have already been used, and they can never be recycled ever again because they were once associated with tobacco.


Absolutely, there is an untenable link even if that is not the intention.

But Wow! it looks great and is going to get a lot TV exposure.

On a side note the Mclarens look amazing in real life but somehow I dont think it comes through nearly so well on TV.


It's not worse than Ferrari still being sponsored by Marlboro, which I think is terrible by the way. I'd beat up Ferrari a bit first and then when they change we can turn on Renault....I mean Lotus. ....Whatever. 😉


I think I'm going to call them Toleman just to confuse people even further... 😉


Baring in mind Tobacco sponsorship is banned, how is Ferrari still sponsored by Marlboro?


Tobacco advertising is banned in the EU. They can still sponsor teams, they just cant have their corporate logo on the livery and clothing.


I'm still pretty amazed that they're allowed to do it. This years' 'Ferrari identity' or whatever they're calling it, is just the corner of a Marlborough packet (when it's mirrored, it's pretty obvious) - it's subtle, but in exactly the same way as the barcode and I don't see any difference between the two when it comes to being allowed to use it.

I'm a graphic designer and as pretentious as it may sound, colour combinations, fonts and specific shapes do evoke specific brand identities that people recognise no matter how subconsciously. This is still stealth advertising - the new Ferrari identity has been designed specifically for this reason, it would have been part of the brief to advertise Marlborough.


Ha ha, misspelling 'Marlboro' has probably weakened my argument a bit, but you get the point!


The sponsorship is in the name of the team, nothing on the car livery or in the suits of drivers/mechanics, at least not in the forbidden countries i think.

Anyone can bring a little more insight to this?


In a round-about way the crash scandal helped Renault... get away from that *hideous* ING livery.

Total stands out, but looks silly doing it here.


Is paint not included in the weight limit? Because saving weight on the paint won't give you too much time gain because you have to make it up with ballast to reach the minimum weight limit.


yes but using in as ballast allows the team to distribute the weight in an area that would benefit the performance of the car


Precisely! To some, ballast is ballast and nothing mnore. However, the ability to be able place it where one needs it, gives it far more value.


I think weight distribution, front to rear, is set in the rules (I think it was 53% to the rear). That would dramatically limit dead weight ballast placement.


It was agreed between the FOTA teams, led by the big teams who did not want to lose out when using KERS to a non KERS car


I understand that weight distribution will be need to remain unchanged so that teams using KERS are not at a disadvantage.

If this is the case, I don't think teams will be able to move ballast.

I'm not technical enough though, so if anyone has more details, that would much appreciated.


I doubt an extra kilo of ballast is worth that amount of time though.

I'm not an engineer though.


I think when you're talking F1 you're talking the smallest of margins, so 1kg suddenly becomes a saving worth making.

Baron Von Awesome

Great read, thanks James. The r31 will sparkle on the track I think:)


I feel so sorry for this team,they are trying to be "liked".

JPS surely is really happy about this,being the main sponsor of a top F1 team for free does not happen very often in the 21st century.

I really hope that BOTH teams loses in court next month,but if there has to be one losing I hope is this one.

Don' try to captivate us(the 35+ years old)by painting your cars like the REAL Lotus of 70's and mid 80's,it won't work.

I wonder if any stupid will paint their cars red and white just to be another Mclaren if that team quit F1.


"being the main sponsor of a top F1 team for free"

I can think of one other instance...

Lotus Cars are getting free exposure from Team Lotus... 😉


"Accent colour". What a load of old cobblers. The red looks utterly out of place and the main scheme could have incorporated it much more effectively. But I guess Total are happy. I don't want to judge the main livery until I've seen it on TV. I doubt very much the gold sparkle will show up but hope I'm proved wrong. So far though, not impressed.


If it sparkles it will sparkle in HD 😀


Absolutely agree. The red doesn't look bad in itself, but when the rest of the car is clearly intended to remind you of the old JPS Lotuses, it sticks out like a sore thumb and looks awful.

But then the whole idea of dredging up a tobacco sponsor's livery is a bad idea to start with, and doing it to try to piggyback on a different team's nostalgia value is just lame.


Given the current climate surrounding teams named Lotus, I'm surprised that Imperial Tobacco aren't suing Group Lotus/Genii over the use of "their" black and gold livery.

Also I can't let any mention of livery creation pass without mentioning the words Earth and Dreams.


You cannot 'own' a colour combination.



My tongue was in my cheek when I made the comment.

That said I believe Mother Nature is still dragging Honda through the courts for defamation...


Beautiful livery. The red really works in this case to make the overall design even stronger.


So the black paint saves 30% of the normal 4kgs so offers about four seconds in a 66 lap race.


I thought that F1 cars were built lighter than their minimum weight and so needed ballast to keep them legal.

So are we really supposed to believe all that stuff about paint enabling them to gain a place or two?


They have a minimum weight. But if you save it in the paint you can put it elsewhere. More ballast and more balance options.


This year, there is a rule regarding the front/rear weight distribution which will severely limit the team's options with ballast placement.


Ayron, how can you have more flexibility when, instead of last year when you could put the ballast wherever you liked, this year you can't?

If we're talking about this paint weight, which amounts to 1.33kgs (the 30% we are told we are saving), it cannot be used outside the new FIA rules on fore & aft balance, though I admit it could be used assymetrically on one side or the other if this helped round somewhere like Turn 8 at Turkey, rather like the bias the Americans use on their ovals. Still, 1.33kgs is hardly something to get wound up about.


But, you still have more flexibility with where you place that ballast, giving more flexibility with engine, aero parts, fuel tank size/shape etc. Especially with the KERS systems coming back in, that flexibility will be extremely handy...


Excellent stuff. I've already heard from Jon Woods when they did a podcast last year with him but this post brings more insight into the whole livery design process.

The colours are obviously different from JPS-branded classic Lotus livery, it's got nothing to do with tobacco whatsoever which anyone with a bit taste and ability to differentiate between colours will tell.


I've got more than a bit of taste and have no trouble differentiating between colors- the car is painted in JPS livery, plain and simple.


Well, unfortunately (for you) it's not JPS-related - rather inspired by old Lotus F1 colours with a modern take. If you read the post the main difference is explained nice and easy: "They (the lines) are not straight thin lines like they were on the original livery." LRGP gold is also different from JPS gold.

I personally don't smoke so for a long time JPS name meant nothing to me when I was looking at the old Lotus pics. For heavy smokers the livery might have familiar connotations but not for the ones who are unfortunate passive smokers like myself.

It's a nice livery I think, slightly kitsch but it's guaranteed to stand out like silver McLaren with a bit of Vodafone's red and white - it's mighty kitsch by the way.

I was hoping someone would bring back classic Jordan livery of 1998 or 1999, unfortunately there's no-one wanting to revive Jordan name in F1! A thought for Fernandes...


The "old Lotus F1 colours" you refer to are JPS colors, so the new livery is, at least, inspired by the old JPS livery. That would seem to make it very much JPS related. A slight;y different shade of gold, wider stripes, and the viewer's smoking habits (??) can't change that.

That said, it is a nice livery. And, yes, the old B&H livery looked great on the Jordan...and on the Jordan Girls.


well said


Indeed, excellent feature.

James, I'd be happy to have more of these in the future. These are the type of posts that makes you blog stand out.

On a side note, Jon's appearance in the Renault F1 podcast in 2010 is definitely worth downloading for those that haven't had the chance of listening to it yet.


"One of the advantages of having a black car is that you need less layers of paint to cover it than a white car, so you save weight, probably worth up to half a tenth of a second per lap. Painting an F1 car white, requires three or four layers and uses around 4 kilos of paint. A black car needs only one base layer and one top coat, so saves around 30% of paint. At a race like Barcelona that equates to four seconds over a 66 lap race, enough to gain a place or two."

And there's me labouring under the impression that F1 cars had to come in to a minimum weight. A black car lighter and faster than a white car? Do me a favour!


Ah, but you're forgetting the 1934 Mercedes GP car weight saving myth, that of how the team arrived at its paint scheme, or lack thereof.

So the story goes [it has since been debunked] because the car was overweight, and therefore illegal and hence ineligible to race, the team, in a desperate measure, removed the paint, which was claimed to bring the car in at the weight limit. Whatever you may think, it's a good yarn.

Hmm, thinking aloud, is it possible that silver might cars be faster than those painted black? No, don't answer that.


I wonder whether a black car needs more cooling than a white (or mirrored!!) car though....


Imagine how much lighter and faster it would be if they decided not to paint it?!


If you have some more kilos saved from the paint to put in the ballast and try different setups it can make you faster. They all have to respect minimum weight, but it was raised this year because of Kers.


Wow. Black cars are lighter and so quicker. by 4 seconds in Barcelona? No way. That's actually a lot of time. Surely that can't be right. If I was running a team I'd always make my car black if that was the case. 🙂

Looking at the pictures in this blog post it's interesting to look at the difference between the CG car done I guess in Cinema 4D and real car. The CG car looks better because the lighting makes the gold line very bright. whereas the gold in the photo of the real car is duller. I suspect this will change under sunlight and it will stand out more. It will be interesting to see how it works on TV at the races. It's an attractive design.

When the news that HRT had gotten that Hollywood designer to do their livery I started thinking about what design I would do if i was given the job. I had this idea and i was wondering if anyone could tell me if it was possible.

Could you have a transparent panel in the engine cover so you could see the engine moving? It wouldn't work if it would melt because of the heat (quite likely) or get a load of black exhaust on it. It' might also add too much weight.

James, or anyone know if it is technically possible? It would look excellent if it was possible.


The transparent engine cover probably wouldn't work due to the extreme factors it has to put up with. I'm not sure of the specifics, but a clear plastic is nowhere near the strength/weight ratio of carbon fibre.

I agree it would be great if they could do it!


Carbon-fibre composites are not see-through because of the carbon fibres (the matrix is transparent). However, you can't get see-through carbon, so you'd need to substitute the composite with a different material that would probably not be up for the job (be it temperature resistance, stiffness/weight or both). Additionally, if you wanted to see moving parts, you'd need a see-through engine casing, which very definitely is impossible. Still, would be great to see glowing exhaust pipes during a race 😛


Well it certainly looks good, pity they won't be able to keep the logo on the nose.

” When I designed it, I didn’t have a fag packet in my hand,” he says. “It’s not something that has crossed my mind. No, (we’re not concerned about it) it’s the furthest thing from our minds.”

Whilst it may be far from some of their minds, the colours are so iconic in themselves and so inextricably cemented to Imperial Tobacco's JPS brand that it puts them very firmly in the same position as Marlborough Ferrari. In fact I have read elsewhere that Imperial are dead chuffed but dare not say a word.


Great column! Thanks a lot! As a fan of F1 since my grandma introduced me to it when I was barely one year old in 1995, I have always been fascinated by the livery of the cars. My first memory of F1, is the brilliant purple of the Simtek.

On another topic, I think this whole lotus shinanigan has gone a bit OTT. I think it was a bad idea to bring the Lotus name back at all in my opinion. Lotus to me is dead. Team Lotus died in 1994, and NONE of these teams can 'be' Team Lotus. Now having TWO teams claiming they are Team Lotus when it is clear neither are, is an insult to the Team Lotus heritage. They should rebrand their teams Renault and ProtonF1 and leave it at that.

Thats my opinion on 'Lotus'. But overall, a great article 🙂



The car liveries (bar Mercedes GP last year) look amazing at night races.

A trip to Singapore or Abu Dhabi is strongly recommended.


"They should rebrand their teams Renault and ProtonF1 and leave it at that."

That would be a bit more confusing as Group Lotus, who bought Renault F1, are owned by Proton. I guess you meant Proton Renault F1 & 1Malaysia F1 or something similar.


Group Lotus has not bought Renault F1, not even a small percentage of it. The team is still 100% owned by Genii Capital.


Group Lotus have not and did not buy Renault F1...they are purely a sponsor and Renault F1 is owned 100% by Genii Capital.


Nice article.


Total AND Group Lotus insisted to not have their logos in black & gold.

Thank you so much for this post James. I still believe the Lotus logo looks too big on the Renault.

F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport. And this should translate into the livery as well. McLaren, RedBull, Toro Rosso and Force India are doing a great job. Mercedes GP looks uninspiring. Ferrari (!), Renault, Sauber, Virgin, Team Lotus, HRT and Williams are a mess.

I am looking forward to HRT. They appear to have hired a hollywood designer!? I sincerely hope Team Lotus will simplify their livery (get rid of the white lines).


The livery which will always stand out for me would be the blue and white Rothmans Williams livery from the 90s, which was adorned upon the FW18 and FW19 championship winning cars.

Here's hoping Williams go historic with their FW33 design too!

The Artful Codger

Agreed, One of the most beautiful liveries to ever grace an F1 car (and no i don't smoke rothmans!).

On a side note i hated the Brawn livery when those 1st pictures appeared on the net but i really grew to love it over the season as they picked up a few more sponsors, by the time of the Brazilian GP i think it looked stunning, not over cluttered with corporate logo's but not as stark as it was back in Oz.


Fascinating, thanks.

Last year's car had a great livery too - Mr Woods clearly has a good eye.


He has done a very good job. I like the red Total bits - the 78/79 's had union jacks served the same visual trick.

In 81 the silver and Essex logos along the side of the side pods did the same thing too.


Now we really are penny pinching - saving a tenth of a second by painting the car a different colour...

I wonder if any F1 drivers don't bother with socks under their boots? Might save a tenth or two.


This is the first time I've heard that cars are weighed unpainted - do they scape all the paint off when they go to be weighed during scrutineering and then re-apply it 🙂


2 points.

1) I would have thought the black and gold livery would best be described as 'JPS colours' rather than 'Lotus colours'.

2) Are you sure about the weight advantage of black paint, James? I thought all the cars carried ballast to make them up to the legal minimum weight. A black car with less paint would require more ballast -- although I accept there is a benefit from the fact that the ballast is put in low down and can be moved around to balance the car. Lightweight paint is not quite as useful as, say, improved fuel performance which means the car doesn't have to start with such a heavy fuel load.


I think 1977 and 78 were the best years for strong livery's.

JPS Lotus, Elf Tyrrell, Martini (77) Parmalat (78) Brabham,

Marlboro McLaren, Walter Wolf, Warsteinier Arrows, Tabitap Shadow, Gitanes Ligier, Tissot Ensign, Renault, Saudia Williams (78), Copusucar Fittipaldi, etc etc, and the Ferrari's looked good too.


Great article as always James. Personally, I can't wait to see McLaren's new livery


McLaren's livery is going to be identical to the one they have used since 2007. They have officially confirmed this. The shape of the car might be different, but the livery is not changing.

There were rumours spreading across the Internet they were changing because their official merchandise had changed from being white to black, but as McLaren have categorically stated they will be using the same livery that they have used in the previous 4 seasons the change of clothing colour does not mean there is going to be a change of livery.

However, if a white paint job is 4 kilos heavier than a black one, it does make you wonder how heavy a chrome paint job is.


I think it might be silver and red. ...Just a guess. 😉


As Ben said - the new merchandise has moved away from the silver of the previous few seasons.

Missed the statement saying the car is staying the chrome and red combo -- but that's great news, their car is the best looking one on the grid.


The livery looks fantastic - apart from the "accent" colour. Total ruined last year's Renault colour scheme, so it is no surprise to see them doing it again.

However, I have to agree with #1 Michael C that the Lotus vs Lotus spat is stupid - and I will still think of this as the Renault team (as will the FIA) while the other will have the only Lotuses on the grid.


I've got recently a bit lost (or maybe more adequatly - tired) with all the arguments over Lotus name, but I must say that I love this new Renault livery. I hope that we won't lose too much of its look on TV. The small red elements are also cool. I'm not over 35 so it's something new for me as I can't really remember the old Lotus black/gold cars:).

Re JPS - I've heard recently that the team might have some problems with the livery in Canada as it looks too much like a pack of cigarettes. Is it true? And if yes then can they face any consequences because of that? Because JPS isn't their sponsor so even if the car looks like a pack of cigarettes, it's not intentional advertising but rather a historical reference, right?

And what will be the colours of the McLaren car this year (not so silver anymore if I recall correctly)?

Anyway, that's a nice piece of work


The red Total spoils it.


or the red totally spoils it 😉


As nice as it looks and it does look good, I don't understand why Renault are using another teams history (Group and Team weren't and aren't the same company as each other)


I do not think Renault has much to do with it. Certain Mr. Lopez and certain Mr. Bahar deal the cards now. This team is one year old and still very much looking for its own identity.


It is because Renault no longer owns Renault F1 chassis opeartions. It is owns by Genii Capital (75% I think) and the remainder by Group Lotus.

I understand Group Lotus are trying to buy the Renault F1 Team and rebrand it as Lotus. This is the reason why Group Lotus is trying to prevent 1Malaysia Racing from racing under Team Lotus.

The Renault brand does not fit with Genii nor Group Lotus marketing plans.

I hope this helps.


Genii Capital still owns 100%, although Group Lotus has been talking about eventually buying into the team. So far Group Lotus is only a sponsor.


Nope. Genii Capital owns 100% of Renault F1. Group Lotus is only a sponsor.


“We thought, ‘Let’s reflect a moment of glory in Lotus’ history and use those colours."

Great, but unfortunately that's Team Lotus' history, not yours.


To be fair, I think other Lotus cars raced in the JPS colours too...I could be wrong, but I've certainly seen Lotus Cortinas painted in these colours...


James - does less paint really confer an advantage?

I can understand the weight benefit, but aren't the cars supposed to run to a minimum weight? If so, I would have expected that saving weight on paint, or anything else, results in the car simply carrying more ballast, bringing the weight back up to the minimum.

If this is right, are you saying that the adjustability of ballast location creates the gain in lap time?

I find this kind of technical stuff quite interesting, so clarification would be appreciated.


Surely the part about weight saving is not quite as simple as stated? As there is a minimum weight requirement, saving weight on a particular part of the car does not make the car lighter. It does give you more freedom as to where ballast is positioned to optimise the weight distribution. So will being able to move an extra few kg of ballast around effect the car sufficiently to give the claimed saving?


Surely the point about the weight of paint can't be as significant as is suggested? Isn't it that it reduces amount of weight that can be positioned precisely with the free weights that make up the minimum rather than actually taking the car over that minimum?


James, the bit about the weight of paint is a red herring, as there is a minimum all up weight and every car will be exactly at that weight. The only possible advantage to less paint is that the saved weight would become ballast and the c.g. could be lowered a bita bit. With the mandated front/rear weight requirement this year, even ballast isn't going to do what it used to.


A black car needs only one base layer and one top coat, so saves around 30% of paint. At a race like Barcelona that equates to four seconds over a 66 lap race, enough to gain a place or two.

What utter rubbish!! Of course all things being equal that's true, but there's a minimum weight limit in F1. That must be the best tosh I've heard for a while.

Besides red cars are always faster...


I chalk it up to one more way they are trying to convince the average formula 1 fan that they aren't actually trying to copy the JPS Lotus livery so that they can continue to criticize Fernandez and Co. about living a history that isnt theirs.

I find it frankly insulting to the fans that they seem to just pretend that this livery simply occurred to them and that it isnt at all reminiscent of the original JPS livery. I realize they probably legally have to do that but its just one more insult in their whole SWAT style takeover of Lotus in F1. Danny B is trying in almost every way to reap the benfits of the Lotus name and heritage without respecting a single bit of the history and what Lotus was about. He may have the legal rights to the Lotus road car division, but even on that front he has shown no respect for Lotus history and mentality.


The red cars were slower when the black an gold cars were winning most of the races.


"But Woods rejects any connection with JPS cigarettes in this context,

” When I designed it, I didn’t have a fag packet in my hand,” he says. "

Well, that's alright then. As a case for the defence, that, erm, sucks.

For what it's worth I think it's ok for them to use the logo as long as they aren't getting any money from it - the link is to the old car - but they need a bit more of an eloquent reason than that.


when i pick up a pack of JPS in Canada I always tell them it's "John Player Special - black and gold package"


Oops. Sorry I wrote that too fast. It's a shame you can't edit your posts if you screw up and spell something wrong or miss out a few words you meant to be there.

oh well. 🙂


I made an idiot of myself many times, don't think anyone actually gives a monkey.


Interesting read. I wonder how Mr. Woods must have felt when he heard Total weren't willing to adapt to the car's livery. It has 'Total'-ly ruined the scheme.

What was the political saying about "lipstick on a pig"...?

Except this one has matching shoes and handbag.


that's really interesting James, cheers. Especially the bit about white paint actually slowing you down, you'd think things like that would be taken into more consideration when designing the car


I am a bit confused about the 'less paint being worth 4 seconds over a race?'. I understand that less paint is lighter - but as all cars start at the same 'minimum weight' surely all it does is give them a smidgen more ballast to play with? They cannot and do not start the race any lighter - they just have less paint?


The liveries of recent years have been by and large pretty dull so I'd love to see a team like Hispania replace their dull black livery and go for a flamboyant and camp pink flamengo colour just to spice things up!


New Renault livery looks terrible, like a 10 year old made it on photoshop and I can't respect the people taking over the team. I feel sorry for Kubica as he always seems to be overshadowed by team politics. Hopefully with all this Malaysian money coming in he can do something in 2011 and jump ship to a reasonable team like RBR.


The new Renault pretending to be JPS Lotus livery looks OK when compared to some of the previous liveries that Lotus and Benetton have used over the last 15 or so years. The Benetton's of the last 80s and early 90s were always so pretty but since 1992 I don't think they have ever had a nice looking paint scheme.


its crazy that the colour of the paint can affect the weight of the car by that much. Surely the teams would invest in paint technology to be able to save yourself that vital time, its almost like free weight ballast


Good job on the painwork, but this would fit much better a Lotus than Renault.


The gold lines are *far* too thick. It's supposed to be gold trim, not long gold fields. The proposed Team Lotus gold and black livery got it right and was much, much closer to the magnificent JPS liveries of old than this is. Quite apart from the clashing red and the silliness of stealing Team Lotus's idea of using that color scheme in the first place.

Bahar and his people seem to have absolutely no idea how they're coming across and I don't see them being in F1 more than a year or two, once they start experiencing the backlash from fans on race weekends. I feel sorry for Kubica and Petrov who both deserve to be in more well-managed surroundings.


James, I have always been most interested in Mclaren's chrome livery. If black is lightest and white is heaviest, where does McLaren's silver weigh in?

On this same topic, I remember a few year ago debate about the color of Jaguar's f1 car. Purists complained because the green was a far lighter shade than the traditional British racing green, but the team commented that they had video tested the more tradition green shade and it showed up too dark on camera, thus opting for a lighter shade that produced a better visual on TV.


It doesn't escape my attention that the team which gave us arguably the most beautiful colour scheme of all time on an F1 car (perhaps rivalled by the mid 90's Rothmans colour scheme of Williams) is also the team which scrapped that wonderful scheme and moved to arguably the ugliest of all time, namely, the all Camel sponsored scheme of the 1987 Lotus driven by Senna.

It went from most beautiful to most abhorrent in one season! (smile)


“A livery is a statement of intent and a statement of who you are, ” Translation: 'This livery is a statement of who we want people to think we are.'

“We thought, ‘Let’s reflect a moment of glory in Lotus’ history and use those colours. What I’ve tried to do is give a nod to that part of the history, deference to a famous livery...'

” When I designed it, I didn’t have a fag packet in my hand,” he says. “It’s not something that has crossed my mind. No, (we’re not concerned about it) it’s the furthest thing from our minds.”

You can't claim the heritage but then say it's nothing to do with cigarettes when everyone thinks of the cars of that era as JPS lotus's.


This car should have been made all yellow with red accents. It would have suited the Renault and Lotus brands, looked good with the Total branding, stood out on TV, and most importantly avoided this whole messy claim to a previous unrelated heritage. If you want your livery to be iconic, start winning your own races!


I think the Gold Leaf Team Lotus livery debuted at the '68 Tasman series.


The beauty is in the eye of the beholder, they say. I like it.

This old Renault team looks to me like pretty much trying to figure out who they are. Last year yellow and black - Renault influenced livery, this year Group Lotus influence kicks in. I wonder how many years will take them to find the shape they want?


I think they ar trying to be an engine supplier rather than a team owner. A profitable business, and their name stays on the car.


JPS colour scheme on the Lotus 72 was probably the best combination of car and colour scheme in F1 : A brilliant scheme on a beautiful car.

I bet if the Renault team had known that Total were going to insist on a red background, they would have chosen the Lotus 49 Gold Leaf colour scheme instead.

Ironically, of course, the team was then called Gold Leaf Team Lotus.

The discarded scheme originally chosen by Tony Fernandes shows just how good a modern F1 car could look in Black and Gold.

In my view the red elements totally destroy the new "Renault" colour scheme : and Jon Wood is simply putting a brave face on it.


How is this different from Ferrari having Skoda as title sponsor and painting their car green?


In the mid-Fifties, Inginiere Carcano of Moto-Guzzi, anodized the alloy dustbin fairings on the Factory racers to save the weight of the paint. Bikes didn't have a minimum weight limit then.

Incidentally, if Renault wanted a black & gold car, why didn't they just nip down to Halford's, buy a roll of gold striping and stick it straight onto the carbon-fibre? C-F is black and looks pretty good au naturelle, doesn't it? Throw a handful of gold dust into the resin and there's your sparkle. Simples!

Big help to the budget, too.


Given they can't claim the heritage of Team Lotus and any of its past F1 activities, why is no one kicking up a fuss about them blatantly exploiting that heritage?? Now, it could be argued that Tony's Team Lotus doesn't have a moral right to do so, but they do have the legal right. This team though definitely has no moral nor legal claim over that heritage and so I find this whole thing to be completely pathetic.


Reading today that Schumi was and is behind Rosberg because of sea-sickness, whow.

The old and current F1-simulator of Mercedes made Schumi seasick so he can't do simulator training?

Read that this was the reason that Rosberg had a quite good setup already when arriving at a circuit and Schumi hadn't.

Seems simulators are as important as cars nowadays. So Mercedes tries to produce a Schumi-combatible simulator as fast as possible.

So i bet in a few years simulators will be on show too to make sponsors(computer industry) happy.

All this saying about money saving: what are the costs for a simulator and can small teams afford high end simulators?


Agree - Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I like it too. I once had a black/gold Motorbike where the previous owner painted all the bolt heads red and I still liked it 😉

As for weight saving paint, any weight you save anywhere allows you to get to the minimum weight easier. You can use the saving on paint for say a little bit more strengthening on a suspension arm or similar. Its much easier and much much cheaper to add ballast than to save weight else where in the car!


The way how big that Lotus logo is, is very telling. The Lotus logo on the Team Lotus teaser picture is way more subtle.

I don't like to be patronised. And that is exactly the feeling I have with (Lotus) Renault. We are made to believe in something that clearly is a fake.

People notice. They are not stupid. Just compare the Team Lotus fanpage on facebook with the (Lotus) Renault fanpage.


Last year my fingers were itching to paint that Sauber car in a pale whiteblue colour.

"Sauber" means "pure" or "clean" in English. The car would've been like a breath of frosted fresh air.


I like the history of Formula One as much as anyone. But given the technologies available to design a livery, and the types of applications that can be made, how about some originality? Not "my earth dream" originality, but Mclaren pewter with Vodofone red originality.

I must say though, despite the controversy the new Renault livery is much better than what they've had in several years.


That picture of Jon finishing off the Lotus logo sticker on the Renault rings a bell 😀 Where else have we seen someone finishing off Lotus stickers? (Lotus) Renault is behaving as childishly as Team Lotus here …

On a different note: is the black colour not going to attract extra heat to a hot car in hot (sunny) conditions?


It'd be like a driving solar panel?!


"The colours used on the new Renault livery are not exactly the same as on the old JPS Lotus, “I’ve used real gold, ” says Woods"

I was under the impression that the original JPS Lotus cars used real gold leaf (as in thin sheets of gold, not the cigarette brand), but found that it looked green on television.

They soon after switched to a colour of yellow called "imitation gold", which actually appears to the eye to look more like the gold you'd see on a ring.


How will this be effected if Team Lotus wins the court case? Will they have to change the colour scheme as he says it was from Team Lotus of the 80's.

So if Team Lotus wins, will they put it to court that its a copy of brand identity, basically the roles reversed of the current court case?


Quick question for anyone with some info.

I'm a qualified graphic designer and of course its the dream to do something like this. How exactly would one go about trying to get into a team in the creative department?


The whole weight issue I do not find to be "rubbish". This is not the only team that has thought of controlling the weight by changing paint.

McLaren: http://en.espnf1.com/mclaren/motorsport/story/27211.html

While they are required to run a minimum weight, being able to control weight is an advantage. And yes there is a F/R weight distribution agreement, but the "rear" is an arbitrary part of the car.


At Renault's launch Kubica was asked whether it was a dream to drive for 'Lotus', his reply was:

"Well, they're a sponsor."

It didn't go down well with the team, and if their No1 driver doesn't believe Bahar's guff, will a judge 😉

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