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Don’t judge a car by its livery

August 8, 2010

I’ve already written about my experiences at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this year, but there was one particular part of my weekend I didn’t mention. I felt it needed its own post.

As you know I went to Goodwood with Lukeh, both being Brawn fans you would like to think that we’d both be overjoyed that Mercedes decided to bring and show off the BrawnGP001 again this year. Brawn GP brought their car and had it on static display last year to allow fans to get that little bit closer to the beautiful creation that was leading the Championship.

© Lou Johnson

© Lou Johnson

Just seeing it in static display knowing it would be racing a few weekends later was brilliant, and we both spent around half an hour just staring and marvelling at the car in all its white and yellow glory. This year, however,  the team brought the car along to run up the hill (seeing as testing rules allowed them to run it as it wasn’t the current car) you’d have thought this would have been the ultimate experience for any Brawn fan who didn’t get the chance to actually see it race. Well it would have been, except for one tiny detail, it wasn’t white and yellow… it was grey.

© Lou Johnson

It was bound to happen, new team, new drivers, and different sponsors, why wouldn’t you use your new livery? It would be a useless way of promoting your team, right? I’m not sure what I really expected, part of me knew this would happen the other part was hoping they’d have brought the Brawn in full livery and their Mercedes as a static display, just as a way of showing off both.

While disappointed I still loved having the Brawn there and knowing that beneath all that silver paint was the car we’d loved so much last year. A new lick of paint can only do so much to the car, you could still visibly see what it was, but out of the two of us Lukeh seemed the most annoyed.

It got me thinking, what were we so annoyed about? The fact it didn’t look the same or that it seemed like Mercedes were trying to hide the memory of the team? Surely a livery is just a livery, it doesn’t matter that much does it?

Well, yes, I think they do matter. It’s the liveries people tend to remember more, for example back at the start of the season many were very happy at the return of the green and gold lotus livery, similarly many hated the distinguishable ‘cream egg’ Renault livery and the ‘earth dreams’ Honda stickers. Liveries divide opinion and create conversation amongst many more people than a new aero part might (unless we’re talking about flexi-wings or some new innovation of course). Liveries are important for photography too, during pre season testing several Formula 1 photographers expressed their dislike for certain cars as they were incredibly hard to shoot. Liveries do matter.

I’ll admit, despite this, each time Nico drove the Brawn past us and into the paddock I did get goose bumps, it’s such a pretty car – you just can’t ignore beautiful rounded nose and that Mercedes engine is something very special, but I couldn’t help thinking that it had lost something… of course that might be because Jenson wasn’t driving.

I’m interested, what do you think?

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. August 8, 2010 20:33

    A livery is supposed to be something historic for me, if it something from the past. To simply work over that history because of a brand advertisement so to speak is pretty insulting to me. Brawn was a celebration of a year and I find it insulting they simply went over the look of these cars for their own benefit as Mercedes GP… seemed unecessray but that’s how it goes. I think that’s why it annoyed me so much.

    It did sound very yummy though. 🙂

    Excellent post too.

  2. Steven Roy permalink
    August 8, 2010 21:31

    Liveries are the most noticeable part of a car. All you have to do is look at all the JPS sponsored black and gold Lotuses or Marlboro sponsored McLarens to see how a livery can create a statement.

    Shame you didn’t get to see the Brawn in Brawn colours but in a few years you will. F1 always operates to the short term imperative but eventually they will put the Brawn car back in Brawn livery and display it or run it somewhere you can enjoy it.

    • August 8, 2010 21:47

      It needs to be the Brawn GP001 though… I worry we’ll get something like what Mclaren do where they seem to throw together a few different years’ cars into one odd combination. Just the B GP001 please with nothing added or lost 🙂

  3. Lou_uk permalink
    August 8, 2010 21:33

    I was at Goodwood too, and was properly disappointed to see the Brawn dressed up like a Mercedes. I wanted to be really excited to see a Brawn car… but nope. The fact that it was grey totally ruined it for me. Maybe that’s silly of me, but oh well.

    But I guess it’s like Luke’s just said: Brawn GP was something special. And I wanted to see something that shouted “BRAWN GP!!!” at me. Instead they hid it under a faceless Mercedes grey. Not pleased.

    • August 8, 2010 21:40

      I wanted to see something that shouted “BRAWN GP!!!” at me. Instead they hid it under a faceless Mercedes grey. Not pleased.

      that’s a good way of putting it i think 🙂

  4. Richard Payne permalink
    August 8, 2010 21:35

    Mclaren ran their cars in original livery, and the sight of Bruno in a helmet very similar to Ayrton brought a lump to my throat. Liveries are very important to the history of the car and evoke memories of it’s history far more effectively than just the car in a new livery.

  5. August 8, 2010 22:03

    Excellent post! I think car liveries are only really important. The colours are what you embed your emotional recollections in to, it is what you imagination uses to summon up feelings of the past. When ever I think back to any F1 moment from the past I see the car and it’s colours. If it had a high nose or double barge board set up is forgotten.

    It’s an interesting one, but do many pretty car liveries get remembered if they were on rubbish cars? We all remember the classic liveries but they all seem to be on winning cars. Would the Brawn livery have been so distinctive had it trailed round at the back like the Honda team did in 2008? I think it is a combination of positive experiences being associated with the livery.

    Two of my favorite liveries are the Leyton House and Jordan livery of ’91 and they weren’t race winners but very different to anything out there at the time. It seems ironic though that horrible liveries seem to make cars slow – take the Williams of 99, I mean that was never going to win the world champion ship was it?

    • August 9, 2010 12:26

      When ever I think back to any F1 moment from the past I see the car and it’s colours. If it had a high nose or double barge board set up is forgotten.

      that’s very true.

      Would the Brawn livery have been so distinctive had it trailed round at the back like the Honda team did in 2008?

      I think that depends on what your opinions of the team are.. if you’re a fan then i think the livery would stick out, but that’s very good point i can’t remember old liveries from teams i don’t support as well as i do BAR/honda/brawn

  6. August 9, 2010 06:13

    I think it’s such a shame they painted it in corporate colours, who apart from true F1 cars would regognise the car as the championship winner that it was dressed in those colours. I know Mercedes GP isn’t owned by Ross Brawn but you’d have thought he wouldn’t have let them do it, in effect they have wiped the car off the history books, I’m very disappointed.

    Great post Lou 🙂

  7. August 9, 2010 06:33

    I too was really disappointed to learn that Mercedes had repainted the car.
    I just hope there is a cupboard at the factory, full of spare bodywork, in it’s original championship winning colours.
    It was nice to see the car, driven by a proper driver though (Mr Heidfeld of course)

  8. August 9, 2010 07:57

    Thing is, if you’re like me and can only tell the major changes to the car, like when they stick the rear wing up really high or take away the dumbo-flugel, then the livery is really important. When it comes to colours, it’s easier to spot the little things like the RED WING MIRRORS (breathe, calm thoughts).

    If you’re supporting one team, particularly the Brawn and it’s striking highlighter stuff, then the colours are ingrained in your brain and the livery becomes the team.

    • August 9, 2010 12:28

      When it comes to colours, it’s easier to spot the little things like the RED WING MIRRORS (breathe, calm thoughts).

      😀

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