Top 10 most iconic F1 liveries
F1 drivers are the big stars, but their four-wheeled companions can be just as recognisable. Here are our top 10 Formula 1 designs. - by Tyler Heatley
A version of this article was first published on YesAuto UK.
The fast and furious world of F1 sees the world’s most talented drivers do battle in iconic locations all over the world. From historic Monaco to the glitz of Abu Dhabi, Formula 1’s travelling circus attracts some of the greatest talents on four wheels. However, sometimes the wheels can become just as iconic as the driver.
Here are our top 10 F1 liveries of all time
Williams – Rothmans
Williams’ success over the decades has made it a household name, and while not shining as brightly as it once did, past glories are still vivid in the mind thanks to many striking liveries. One of the most distinctive has to be the Rothmans colours.
Tweaked over multiple seasons, the most fabled of the lot are the 1996 colours that coated Damon Hill’s title-winning FW18. We’ve got to stop because we’ve got a lump in our throat.
Ferrari – Vodafone / Marlboro
The Ferrari livery is probably the most consistent of all time with its historic red immediately associated with the Prancing Horse. However, the Italian marque’s most dominate car probably wore it best.
This V10—powered stallion won a bunker 15 Grand Prix before it retired, all while wearing the distinctive red and white Marlboro branding. It was clean, simple, and is now synonymous with Mr Schumacher’s command on track.
Jordan – 7up
The Jordan 191 wasn’t the most successful car in F1 history, but it was very important for the Jordan team. It’s the car that gave Jordan its first points finish in the sport and Michael Schumacher his first shot at life in F1.
The 7up livery looks great on this tightly packaged machine designed under Technical Director Gary Anderson.
Lotus – John Player Special
The car you probably think of when a JPS livery is mentioned is the Lotus 79. It wasn’t the first black and gold car, but its mastery of downforce-generating ground effect made it a global star. Mario Andretti used the car from the 1978 Belgium GP onwards to help win the championship that year.
Replicated, but never bettered, this livery is legendary.
Lotus – Gold Leaf
Another Lotus entry to the list has to be the classic Gold Leaf cars. Advertising was still rather new to the world of F1 in this era, but with more races being televised, sponsors became interested. Being noticed was the name of the game, and this colour scheme certainly did that.
The Gold Leaf red and gold captured attention as the likes of Graham Hill stormed to victory.
Williams – Martini
A more modern livery takes us back to when Williams was on better form and graced with Martini sponsorship. The iconic Martini colours are well-known for their exploits in rallying, but the last time they were seen in F1 was on an Alfa Romeo in the 1970s.
Other than in dry states, the livery mimicked historic racers of old.
Williams – Camel / Canon
Back when tobacco sponsorship was allowed in F1, the flashes of yellow for Camel came together with Williams’ traditional blue to create something rather special. Also featuring prominent Canon camera branding, cars of the late 1980s and early 1990s were instantly recognisable.
The sight of Prost or Mansell in the mirrors piloting these vivid cars would strike fear into the race leader.
Lotus – Camel
While Williams flew the Camel flag, it was Lotus that fully embraced the sponsor. Ditching the JPS colours for the bright yellow of the tobacco company, it made its debut on the 99T in 1987.
The scheme went through several incarnations and famously wrapped Ayrton Senna’s car on his debut.
McLaren – Marlboro
Arguably the most fabled F1 car ever helped make the Marlboro livery a motorsport staple. Prost and Senna’s McLaren MP4/4 roaring through the streets of Monaco has been the subject of many a poster. Proof that simplicity is often timeless.
Designed to replicate the cigarette packet itself, it has been worn by a total of 11 McLaren’s before being replaced by West sponsorship for the MP4-12.