Why did McLaren choose an identical livery for the 2021 Season?
A decision that left a lot of Formula One fans disappointed!
Over the recent years, McLaren have had one of the most vibrant cars on the Formula One grid; with the gorgeous papaya-orange paintwork and the ocean blue accents on the sidepods, front-wing and rear-wing. However, the British team's car reveal on Monday saw a lot of F1 fans disappointed with how similar the 2021 livery is to last year's design. Why would McLaren choose to do this?
While McLaren haven't commented on why the 2021 livery looks identical to that of last year's car, it wouldn't be an unfair assumption that the reasoning is due to the timing behind the 2022 regulation changes. Formula One was supposed to undergo a huge regulation change going into the 2021 season, which was sadly postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic turning the 2020 season upside down.
McLaren was one of the teams directly affected by this change, as the British manufacturer terminated their contract with Renault in favour of switching to the Mercedes engines in time for the new regulations. McLaren were suddenly dropped into the scenario where the new regulations had been pushed back to 2022, but they had already signed with Mercedes for the 2021 season - therefore they had to work out how they could integrate the Mercedes power unit into their existing McLaren-Renault car.
Fast-forward to Monday 15th February 2021, and McLaren reveal their MCL35M to the world; alongside their latest driver line-up of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo. The car itself has some aerodynamic changes to the floor, airbox, sidepod and rear wing in order to accommodate for that new engine and follow the updated 2021 regulations; but the livery itself is almost identical. The only major difference that you will initially notice with the MCL35M is the new blue accent on the nose-cone, any other difference will take a lot of inspecting!
McLaren described the MCL35M (where the second 'M' likely stands for 'Mercedes') as an "evolution of the 2020 contender," therefore it is understandable that the livery hasn't changed since the last iteration. Should the regulation changes have gone ahead this year, it wouldn't be unfair to assume that the car would have been called the 'MCL36' and a new livery would have been developed.
While it is always disappointing to see a Formula One team copy and paste their livery design onto the following year's car; McLaren's decision to do so in 2021 is a good move in order to remain consistent with the design associated with the MCL35, especially since the car is only considered an 'evolution' rather than an entirely new model.
Will we see more identical liveries in the 2021 season?
At the end of 2019, nobody would have expected Formula One to be in the situation where the regulations were to be pushed back an extra year. All of a sudden, teams have had to stop their plans for their next-generation cars and instead focus on their 2021 challengers. The news of these changes was very last-minute, therefore it wouldn't be very surprising to see teams stick with similar liveries in a similar fashion to McLaren.
However, we are still able to look forward to seeing fresh liveries by Aston Martin and Alpine when their designs make an F1 debut this year; and I believe we will likely see some minor updates to all of the traditional cars. For instance, Ferrari and Mercedes always tweak their livery a little bit every year, and I expect to see the same this year. Though I do expect to see the same style livery from teams such as Red Bull and Alfa Romeo.
What do you think of the 2021 McLaren livery, and what do you hope to see in the upcoming car reveals? Be sure to let us know in the comments below.
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