Now that all of the teams have released their liveries for the upcoming season – which I have ranked here – I thought that I would take a trip down memory lane and go through my favourite liveries of each team throughout the hybrid era, starting with Redbull.
Now, the Redbull livery has remained relatively unchanged throughout their time in F1 allowing them to create their iconic look that we have all come to know and love. There is no doubt that their infamous livery during the hybrid era has become a modern classic but they have treated us to a couple of special liveries through the year, even if it was just for testing or filming days. However, the 2021 Turkish GP held a surprise in store for us as Redbull debuted the all-white livery as a tribute to their engine suppliers, Honda. This was a much welcomed change and quickly became my favourite Redbull livery of the hybrid era, the bold white colour way stood out all weekend and created a crisp and clean car that merged perfectly with the standard red and yellow colours of the team. This was a refreshing change to a predictable livery that we had become accustomed to seeing and hopefully it leaves the door open for more one off Redbull liveries in the future.
Similar to Redbull, the silver arrows chose to stick with their silver livery for a majority of the hybrid era but in 2020 the team decided to change to an all-black livery to symbolise their pledge in taking a stand against racism. This quickly became popular amongst F1 fans and for good reason as this car is, in my opinion, Mercedes’ best ever F1 livery. I previously mentioned how much I love this livery when ranking the 2023 livery reveals and I think it is one of the hardest liveries to top as it just looks like a champion winning car. The all black looks menacing and seriously quick, it works extremely well for the team and I hope that this one is here to stay.
The 2016 Ferrari livery gets my vote for the best of the hybrid era, whilst I do like the other renditions of the car I prefer this more retro looking livery as opposed to the cars that came after it. The 2016 car hits the sweet spot as the white and red combination balance each other out and compliment each other more than any of the other liveries. I think that the switch to an all red car in 2019 does work well but I’m not a big fan of the matte red paint as it does some dull the shine of the car compared to the liveries that we have previously seen. Regardless of which year and era your favourite Ferrari falls into, one thing that’s for certain is that a Ferrari livery will always be a timeless staple in F1.
The MCL34 takes the crown for the best McLaren as I think the papaya is done much better than it was on the MCL33. The 2018 McLaren looked quite bland to me and the lack of sponsors on the side of the car made it look incomplete and a bit too empty. The MCL34 is able to incorporate the vibrant blue onto the car in a way that doesn’t make it too overwhelming but ensures that it will definitely stand out amongst the other cars on the grid. I think McLaren’s switch to such a bold colour makes it one of the most exciting liveries to look at as it easily catches your eye and is certainly one that will be remembered.
I’ve never really been much of a fan of the Lotus liveries and have much preferred the yellow and black colours of the Renault. The 2019 livery is my favourite of the hybrid era as the electric yellow sets itself apart from the other cars on track, the black mutes the liveliness of the car enough so that it doesn’t become and eye sore but not enough to cause the car to fade into the background.
Force India/Racing Point
The best rendition of the Force India for me is undoubtedly the 2018 all pink car. The switch to the pink livery is something that I had not previously seen before in F1 and the 2018 candy pink was more prominent than the dusty pink that we had seen in 2017. This was one of the most striking liveries of the hybrid era as it was something completely new and the shiny finish made it even more distinctive.
There is a part of me that is drawn to the 2016 livery as I do like the combination of the blue, yellow and white however, I don’t think that the colours have been balanced very well. I think that the blue is too strong and there is not enough yellow and white to even this out so whilst I do like this livery it comes in a close second to the 2020 Alfa Romeo livery. The white mixed with the cherry red go together perfectly. The red provides a burst of colour and is a bit of a deeper set tone which pops in the sun, highlighting the blend of the two colours.
Alpha Tauri/ Torro Rosso
My pick for Alpha Tauri/Torro Rosso is the 2021 livery, the Torro Rosso liveries never particularly stood out to me and I think the Alpha Tauri liveries supersede those of their predecessor. I do like the 2020 livery but think that the addition of the navy on the 2021 car creates a more complete classic look that works better. I think the switch to a matte livery also works to the benefit of the car as I’m not sure that this colour way would have worked as well if it remained with the glossy shine of the Torro Rosso.
The 2020 Haas is their best hybrid era car to me as, whilst it does carry the same colours as the 2018, I think the 2020 livery is implemented more efficiently. The black, white and red is Haas’ best colour way and unlike the 2018 livery – which is much more clunky – the 2020 has a smoother look to it and the placing of the black and red compliment the white base instead of feeling like they are out of place on the car.
Williams had a very strong livery from 2014 -2018 and were quite consistent with it, for this reason I would say that the 2014 livery is the best as it originated the white Williams. This livery looked fresh and eye catching but their change to incorporate the light blue in 2019 was a big misstep in my opinion. The gradual shift to blue doesn’t work as well and, although it has improved over the years, it still looks disjointed and confused to me.
Those were my picks for the best F1 liveries during the hybrid era, I think that Ferrari consistently had the best liveries from 2014-2021 and I would have to say Williams has the worst. Let me know if you agree or disagree.