Gold race suits for Petrov and Heidfeld

2011 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Nick Heidfeld, Vitaly Petrov, Renault, Melbourne, 2011

Renault drivers Vitaly Petrov and Nick Heidfeld will wear “sparkling golden” race suits in this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix.

The team say it is to keep them cooler than they would be wearing their usual black race suits.

The Malaysian Grand Prix is typically one of the hottest races of the year.

According to Renault: “Nick and Vitaly will be using sparkling golden suits on race day in Sepang.

“It’s to allow them to stay a little cooler than they would otherwise be in their traditional black versions. Expect these suits to make several more appearances during the year at the hotter races.”

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    105 comments on “Gold race suits for Petrov and Heidfeld”

    1. “Nick and Vitaly will be using sparkling golden suits”

      And performing several Bee Gees hits.

      1. Precisely what I was thinking, I hope they belt out some disco tunes on the starting straight!

      2. Its just ultra LOL to imagine Heidfeld in that sparkling gold suit + shades + if he wears a high-hills racing shoes he actually can start a new trend within the drivers enviroment. And then for sure he will make best friends with lady gaga…

        1. Ned Flanders
          4th April 2011, 15:04

          Hahahaha Heidfeld certainly has the beard! This is just asking for a funny photoshop

          1. Maybe ask Ratboy to find some nice funky music with it again? Or someone else.

      3. If one of them goes on the podium we could see an unique celebration!

        1. The Beegees were the peak of manliness. Heidfeld kind of looks like Maurice as well O.o

        2. They don’t look very fireproof. All that hair and polyester. Dangerous times.

        1. The bulge….=O

      4. *Fever night, fever night, feveeerrrr….*


    2. that was aprils fool joke as far as i know

      1. No the joke was plaiting the golden bits of the car in real gold leaf.

      2. Renault did do an April Fool about painting the car in gold leaf, but that was three days ago.

          1. I did ask Renault and they insist it’s not a late April Fool. All the same I doubt the suits will actually look like that!

            1. I can only imagine Night Fever being played as Vitali and Nick enters the cockpit.

          2. Look at the comic on the back!

            1. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
              4th April 2011, 19:46

              That is pretty hilarious, I definetely hope they do those for all the races this season. And in regards to the suits, I believe that they will simply reverse the colours on the current suit to create the golden suit.

    3. I really want to see these if true!

      Makes sense in theory, could they not just use white instead of “sparkling golden” though?

      1. Gold is the best colour to reflect heat, think about the McLaren F1’s engine bay.

        1. Ah yes of course. Still think I’d prefer white though :)

        2. I think silver is actually, although gold will look more suited in the scheme things considering the colour of the cars

        3. I think the gold used in F1 cars has something to do with the properties of gold itself as well as the colour.

      2. White would probably work for reflecting heat, but it wouldn’t work very well with the paint scheme of the car.

      3. I think they chose gold to stay in line with the gold and black Lotus Renault livery.

    4. Certainly we were wondering about being hot in the car with all the black there.

      But with Fernandes beating his drum about being more malaysian than all other teams I cannot help feel this is at least partly the Renault team showing they are more something as well. A bit sad actually.

      1. Ned Flanders
        4th April 2011, 15:03

        When I first saw the headline I assumed they were doing it as a special celebration for their “home” race… expect to see Fernandes rush out some even goldier overalls for his drivers

        1. LOL, or more greenish, or a bigger Lotus logo. Or a more pointed tweet, or whatever more they can imagine.

          How are we going to survive those 4 weeks unti that court decides!

    5. Erm they do know that the thing about certain colours being hotter than others in nonsense right?

      1. I’m going to assume you weren’t in class when they discussed the physics of light.

      2. nope. some color reflect heat better than another. black particularly absorb lot of heat and gold reflect heat. see the back of driver’s seat, and some part near the exhaust or heat sensitive part

      3. Black absorbs more light than other colours, therefore also absorbing more heat.

      4. Wrong. The very reason we have colours is because of light absorbing light and not reflecting others. i.e. a red tshirt is red because of the dye (obviously), but actually because that dye is absorbing and not reflecting the red wavelength of light.

        Black absorbs the most heat, and also reflects the most heat. Whilst silver and white reflect the least light and therefore heat, but also absorb the least amount of heat as well.

        Houses in hotter climates are often painted white decreate light (and therefore heat) reflection. For the same resons, some houses in cooler climates are also painted white as they lose less heat

        1. so if silver absorbs less light and reflects less, where is all the extra light going? Dont tell me about another dimension please!

          1. I think that’s a typo. White and silver reflect the most.

            1. Not a typo. Oddly, black absorbs and reflects the most light. Silver and white colours absorbs and reflects the least light.

            2. You can’t have it both ways James. Black cannot simultaneously absorb and reflect the most light. It’s one or the other. In black’s case, it absorbs most light and heat.

            3. Mouse_Nightshirt
              4th April 2011, 19:28

              Untrue James. You’re referring to heat, not light.

              Black absorbs and transmits the most heat. Not light.

          2. I don’t know what the physics behind exactly is (and I’m an engineer –> Am quite ashamed) but having lived in a hot country, I can assure you that buying a black car is madness. A white / silver car is a better idea.

            Proof by experience…

            1. I think California even researched putting penalties of higher prices on dark coloured cars to help curb the need for AC in every car as it gives worse fuel economy!

        2. @ James… I’m sorry, what?! a red shirt is red because it reflects red light. If the red shirt absorbed red light, then that shirt would be not red.

          Your retinas pick up the red light reflected by the shirt. Like anything, your eyes only see what is reflected into them. If they see red, then red light is being beamed through your pupils.

          I think you got your physics on backwards.

          1. I admit i’m not too good into physics as well, but some thins seem to clear not to get!

            Red looks red because it reflects mainly red light (otherwise it would look green) Black is black because it reflects less (and absorbs most light), white reflects almost all light.

            That is as basic as it can get right?

            And I expect the silver and gold foil actually work isolationg as a metal foil, helping reflect and helping spread heat all over the surface instead of having it cumulat at one spot.

            1. Mostly true. But there’s really not such thing as “red light” or “green light”, there are definite wavelenghts that we perceive as red, green, etc.

        3. Black colour appears black because it absorbs most the light. It’s just like how you get RGB values of 0 (i.e. all the colours) if you go into a Photoshop pallet or something like that. Or it’s just like a black hole that absorbs all the light (and everything else) that’s why it appears to be pitch black.
          At the same time, white colour reflects colour most (just like a 255 255 255 on the RGB values), which means most of the light is reflected back into our eyes, which we see it as white.

          Clear now?

          1. Can also add the fact that black colour absorbs heat quickest if the surrounding temperature is hotter, but also dissipates heat quickest if the surrounding is cooler. And I guess in an F1 car that is racing, the car itself should be hotter than Petrov or Heifield (no pun intended)

            1. The colour has nothing to do with absorbing or dissipating heat. It has to do with absorbing and reflecting light. The energy of absorbed light is transformed into heat.

              In dark environment (without light) there is no difference in heat dissipation between different colours.

            2. Ok, light and heat are both waves, just in different parts of the spectrum.

              So what affects the absorption of light (ie a darker colour) will also affect the absorption of heat.

          2. That’s not exactly why a Black Hole is called a Black Hole, but yeah, lets run with it.

            1. Going a bit off of the F1 topic here but then why is a black hole called a black hole, surely because it pulls all the light in and is completely black?

            2. I should have said that it’s not called a black hole because it absorbs light in the same way that a black surface does, but it’s just that light waves, travelling at the speed of light, cannot outrun its immense gravity.

              You can’t exactly see it either. It isn’t black because you cannot see it, only its effect on the space and light around it.

              Still though… sparkly gold suits, eh? should be interesting!

            3. Light can’t out run a blackhole’s gravity because it is not running with spiked shoes

            4. Light should get itself a bendy front wing and DRS then maybe it would stand a chance…

            5. Not if it’s been radioed that the black hole is faster.

        4. I am no physics expert but to me it sounds like you have no idea what your talking about James! Silver, white and gold obviously reflect more light than black other wise they would be darker than black, thats just common sense. Black absorbs more light, and the energy from that light doesnt just disappear it is converted to heat energy as it can’t be reflected in the same way it can if the light hits a more light reflective object! (this might not be entirely correct, its just my understanding of it!)

          1. Except that most of the heat will actually be from infra-red rays that are outside the visible spectrum…

        5. Close but not quite right. The dye would absorb all colours OTHER THAN red and red is reflected back into our eyes, hence why we see it as red. Just like a red lens filter absorbs all colours BUT red.

          Perfect black absorbs all visible light and lots of heat energy and reflects nothing back to our eyes so we see no colour. Remember all energy eventually turns to heat energy so absorbed light energy is stored and radiated as heat energy.

          Houses that are painted white on the outside reflect light and heat energy away so they absorb and radiate substantially less into the house.

        6. Black absorbs the most heat and reflects the least (albedo close to 0), so it’s hotter. Silver absorbs the lest and reflects the most (highest albedo, a silver mirror is very close to 1). Golden is pretty good also, but white is the best among regular, not shiny/metallic colors. BTW the term “albedo” means “whiteness” in Latin.

        7. Black absorbs most heat and radiates more heat.radiate=/= reflect

      5. According to QI it’s nonsense. QI’s researchers have clearly never been in Cyprus with black trousers.

        1. on QI they were talking about tshirts, and that in thier case the heat reflected by the black tshirt created warmer air infront of it, causing an updraft of cooler air, negating the effect. but i dont know if that would effect the f1 overalls

          1. black absorbs and reflects the most light.


          2. I thought they were talking about Arab robes?

        2. This is quite a funny discussion. No matter what pseudo theories aka “intelligent design” are put forward, fact is that direct sunlight in a hot climate is worse with dark colours of fabric.
          However the drivers needs vinyl rain gear this weekend, not shades;-)

      6. slaps head.

        Yes on a very technical level black will absorb more infa-red energy. However the factor is so small its a bit irrelevant.

        There is a scientific paper on it somewhere I can try and dig out. But remember bedoiun tribes wear black as do many people in desert areas.

    6. I think I just vomited in my mouth a little bit…

      1. At least if they vomit, you won’t really be able to tell…

        1. Why did you say that?

    7. @gavin you do know what you just said is nonsense right?

    8. Suprised this wasnt announced before the start of the season for Bahrain…? Althoguh there was a large amount of uncertainty as to whether the race will go ahead, surely it would have been used there? Maybe this is a belated April fool… We’ll have to wait until Thursday or Friday to see if this is true or not…!

    9. That should improve the show.

      Does Nick have a good singing voice? : “Tragedy ! When you lose control and you got no soul, It’s tragedy !”

      1. Petrov’s is pretty good

        I promise it’s not Rick Astley, it’s even better than that (in this context)!

        1. That clip is just brilliant .. vitaly really rocked it on that track

        2. LOL, I can just hear Petrov doing that on the podium next week!

    10. And to think Group Lotus were worried about Fernandes damaging their image…

      1. … so they decided to do it themselves first!

    11. Austin Powers:

      “I love gold…”

    12. I wonder if this is also a ploy to stand out over the other Lotus team! They are looking to get one up on the marketing overpowering the “green” lotus team with a bigger gesture of brand!

    13. Well, I for one always believed in the soul of the Lotus Renault team.

      (Too obscure?)

    14. OK, has anyone wondered how the suit color matters when they are basically enrobed in a black car? What will be a little bit cooler except for the tops of their arms? Espeically for Heidfeld, with his black on black goth helmet design.

    15. Why? what for?

      we don’t need them to pretend to be cool because they just are not.

    16. Excellent idea !!!

    17. Light can’t out run a black hole because it isn’t running with spiked shoes.

      1. And doesn’t have a flexy wing…

    18. I just pictured that guy from Austin Powers…the one who eats his own skin :/

      Anyways, nice idea! They should look like prize-winning idiots…while remaining cool ;)

    19. Well that should be a laugh :D Especially if the ‘Sparkles’ are anything like the metal-flaked colour schemes you could get on cars.

      Oh and FYI, James is right. I’m not 100% on the physics. But no colour (or shade) has any effect on the heat. I believe whatever effects are created from the light and what not are negated by something else.

      Probably something to do with every action having an equal and opposite reaction. But don’t quote me on it.

      1. Probably something to do with every action having an equal and opposite reaction. But don’t quote me on it.

        I won’t because then I’d be talking nonsense too…

        …I’m doing a Science course at the moment and the thing about darker colours absorbing more light and more infra-red (aka heat) rays is absolutely true. In fact that’s the whole reason they are the colour they are.

    20. Gold is a supreme reflector so much so that it is used in some of mankinds most amazing creations. (Actually not talking about the mc f1.) It’s used on satellites space suits heat rays buildings and glass. In the case of satellites and spacesuits it’s imperative as a heat shield from the constant bombardment of solar energy. Infact there is nothing in the world that could do the job better.

      Now for the basics.

      Black absorbs all wavelengths of light which means very very little of it is reflected back into our eye’s hence why an object is black. But it doesn’t just absorb light that light doesn’t disappear it has to go somewhere. Light is energy and when something absorbs energy it is converted into heat, heat energy is then radiated from the object.

      In short.

      black absorbs the most light reflects the least light but radiates the most heat that means on a hot day you’re effectively wareing a solar powered radiator.

      White by contrast absorbs very few wavelengths of light but reflects all of them. That means there are less lightwaves to be converted in the object into heat, to then be radiated resulting in a cooler colour.

      Think why are solar pannels black? because they absorb light.

      Why are arab,mediteranian,indian,american,brazilian buildings painted white? because they reflect light so it cannot be converted into heat in the bricks to warm up the building.

      Moving on.

      Whilst it’s true that heat causes areas of lower pressure when in proximity to cold air, creating updrafts that could negate the increased heat radiation. That would not occure in a situation where there is no air flow to begin with. e.g inside a race suit a family car a building even your t-shirt if you tucked it in.(Assuming you’re wareing something to tuck it into.) Basicly reflective colours are without any questionable doubt better than colours that absorb for a race suit or helmet and gold is the best of the best at that.

      How ever I would be skeptical about believing that a t shirt could generate enough heat to cause an updraft powerful enough to negate the heat. If it’s gotten to the point that it’s so hot you need to worry about what you ware. Then the air temperature it’s self will be so high that the heat radiating from black clothes will not effect the surrounding air temperature enough. (if at all.) to cause sufficient airflow to cool said clothes.

      If you don’t believe me then ask the millions of people living on the equator there is a very good reason that they ware almost exclusively white/orange/yellow clothes.

      Two very good sources covering the basics of the relationship bettween colour light and heat. By a post grad student and a P.H.D respectively.

      A quite brilliant source of information on the uses of gold and it’s optical properties.

      Even after saying all that though. I think it’s just a PR scheme they want to look angelic at their home race. Drivers have been driving in malaysia for years now and they all say it’s just fine so long as you prepare.

      1. Give this man (or woman) some internet. They clearly win this thread!

    21. it makes no difference as to what colour you where, see QI link for reference

      1. Yes and QI is never wrong is it…

      2. But that is only true with loose-fitting clothes, such as robes.

    22. its just another gimmick to gather attention…

      i believe it will be more hot for them in malaysias humid climate..

    23. The whole thing’s a gimmick. Under the outer fabric of the suit are several layers of insulating Nomex, designed to withstand radiant heat at temperatures of hundreds of degrees. The biggest problem when it comes to keeping drivers cool is not heat from the sunshine, but the ambient air temperature which means the driver’s body can’t get rid of the heat built up by his muscles and organs while driving the car. If you wanted a better solution to keep him cool, he’d be better off in no suit at all. Or even better, one which was water cooled like those vests they go around wearing on the grid.

      Even if colour reflecting sunlight was a big factor in keeping the driver cool, it’s hardly going to be of much use when most of their body is protected from direct sunlight by the car itself.

      1. very solid addition to the discussion.

        I gather the maximum these gold foil coating would do is to isolate the suits even more so internal cooling is more effective!

      2. If you’re suggesting naked drivers…I…wouldn’t say no to that idea >_>

        1. Only if we can pick and choose which ones. Guys like Webber, Petrov, Alonso…sure. Barrichello can keep his clothes on please.

    24. I’m sorry gary That study is so circumstantial as to be completely irrelevant I don’t even have the heart or the time to explain all the reasons why.

      a few pointers

      Comparing a robe to a race suit or any other form of clothing is like saying a sparrow could live in the antarctic. Because like a penguine it’s a member of the avian family. If you had actually read my post to begin with insted of just believing anything qi say. Regardless of context and cockily linking their “study” you might have noticed, I already mentioned in my own post right here the importance of having airflow in convective cooling. Something you’re “scientists” skip over completely. Anyone who writes a paper about convective cooling and fails to note the difference airflow will have is…well I don’t have words for what they are stupid though very stupid.

      From my post:

      “That would not occure in a situation where there is no air flow to begin with. e.g inside a race suit a family car a building”


      What you/they have effectively said is colour doesn’t matter when it comes to chooseing your gazebo, because the airflow will negate the effect. Well no *hit son i could have told you that in one line.

      The fact that these “studys” were written by zoologists and not physicists should tell you all you need to know about the accuracy of sed information.

    25. Hmm, after being supremely corrected by TheBrav3, I’m most willing to retract my previous statements lol.

      Never again shall I take the facts that QI dish out so willingly, and perhaps do a little research of my own before blindly following a TV programme.

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