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Eight awesome unraced F1 liveries

By Cameron Kirby, 25 Feb 2018 Motorsport

Eight awesome unraced F1 liveries

The racing world was robbed when these paint schemes were left off the Formula 1 grid

WHEN Red Bull slipped the covers off its 2018 Formula 1 challenger, the RB14, it added another chapter into the unique book of unraced F1 liveries.

RB14 was revealed with a bold camouflage colour scheme dubbed ‘Disruption’. As much as motorsport fans might pine for the livery to take part in Grand Prix weekends, the Red Bull Racing squad said the colour scheme was a one-off for pre-season filming, with a more traditional paint job set to appear before the late March season start.

Here are eight more epic liveries that should have been on a Formula 1 grid, but were never given the opportunity.

1. 1997: McLaren

From the mid-’80s McLaren ran a red and white livery with title sponsor Marlboro. The scheme became one of the most iconic in motorsport, and is synonymous with the team and a certain Brazilian hot-shoe named Ayrton Senna.


But for 1997 the Woking team transitioned to a silver and black livery as part of a new partnership with Mercedes-Benz, and title sponsor West. In the transition between seasons, the squad ran its MP4-12 in classic papaya orange at pre-season testing in Jerez. It would be the last time the colour scheme would adorn a McLaren until it returned last year.

2. 1999: BMW

Ahead of its return to Formula 1 in 2000, BMW tested its car at Barcelona during 1999 winter testing wearing corporate colours, and sans major branding and sponsorship. Predominantly dark blue with  white streaks, the car looked quick sitting still. A majority white scheme was raced by Ralf Schumacher and Jenson Button during the 2000 season.


3. 1999: BAR

While no livery on this list was raced during a Grand Prix, all bar this pair from BAR at least took to the track in one form or another. At the British American Racing team’s launch in 1999 the squad shocked onlookers with its two cars dressed up in different paint schemes – 555 and Lucky Strike respectively. Foot-stamping from Formula 1 organisers meant the concept was ditched, with both cars painted in the controversial ‘zipper’ scheme by the time pre-season testing rolled around, merging the two.


4. 2004: BAR Honda

BAR once again, with this instance being a rare unraced livery that took part in a Grand Prix weekend. In 2004, the team was sponsored by tobacco company Lucky Strike, with signage switched to 555 for the Chinese Grand Prix.

Regulations at the time allowed the bottom six teams from the 2003 constructors’ championship to run a third car during Friday practice. Briton Anthony Davidson was at the helm for BAR Honda, in a splendid 555 livery. Despite being sponsored by the iconic company for several years, the Chinese Friday practice car was the only time BAR ran a full 555 paint scheme (despite trying in 1999).


Jenson Button finished on the podium for the team at the end of the race, in traditional white and red Honda colours.

5. 2004: Red Bull

This ‘drink can’ scheme was run by Red Bull in winter testing in 2004 after it took over control of the Jaguar F1 team. The simplistic design was switched out when the drinks company made its debut as a title sponsor in 2005.


6. 2007: Spyker

Spyker rocked up to pre-season testing in 2007 with a car painted in an eye-searing shade of dayglow Orange. The squad eventually toned down the intensity for the racing season, but stated the outlandish colour scheme was a homage to the team’s Dutch heritage. The change of colour was reportedly due to the bright hue often appearing red in photos and on television.


7. 2007/2008: Force India


Force India took over control of the Spyker team at the end of the ’07 season, and immediately debuted two different liveries which would never line up on a Grand Prix grid. The first, a red and white combo, appeared at the end-of-year test in 2007, while a striking white and gold combo would surface for the 2008 pre-season test. A modified version of the white and gold colour scheme would be used throughout the ’08 F1 season.


8. 2015: Red Bull

The most recent example is Red Bull, again. Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyatt took to the wheel of the ‘CamoBull’ at 2015 pre-season testing. Perhaps the camouflage was a bit too effective, with the front wing disappearing completely during early running (due to Kvyatt making contact with the wall, and the team not having a spare on hand at the track).