Mercedes driver graphics, 2017

Mercedes first to reveal new-look driver graphics

2017 Spanish Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Mercedes has become the first team to reveal the new driver identification graphics which will be used on cars from this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.

The W08s cars will feature individual colours for Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas’s race numbers.

In order to make it easier for spectators to identify the drivers their numbers will also be featured on the sides of the car and incorporate their national flag.

This article will be updated.

2017 Spanish Grand Prix

Browse all Spanish Grand Prix articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

Posted on Categories 2017 F1 season, 2017 Spanish Grand PrixTags ,

Promoted content from around the web | Become a RaceFans Supporter to hide this ad and others

  • 91 comments on “Mercedes first to reveal new-look driver graphics”

    1. Weren’t the driver numbers red because of historic reasons? It’s a shame they’re getting rid of it.

      1. Moreover, the font faces are less than pleasing.

        1. @theaeroguy they are…but I’m pretty sure they’re told what font to use in the rules!

          1. Hard to make out from just a few letters but it looks like their own font. The HAM looks the same font as the 44 but I could be wrong.

      2. Red on a white field, I think @theaeroguy – and I agree, the font doesn’t really work. I am glad with the idea, but execution could have been better.

      3. I disagree. It’s high time we had MotoGP style numbers on the cars, unique to the drivers instead of the teams. Easier to identify and better for marketing.

        1. Martin Hooper
          10th May 2017, 16:44

          That’s what we’ve got – They changed it a while back from being I presume in Constructors Championship order to Drivers individual numbers a few seasons ago now.

          1. I meant stylistically. They’re currently in the style of the teams rather than the drivers.

            Although having since seen the Mercedes pictures, we might be heading in the right direction.

      4. Not generally. The “historic reasons” style was black on a white rondel, before moving to contrasting colours. Williams and McLaren both picked red to contrast with their blue and white (respectively) number backgrounds, so their famous colour numbers were often seen as “F1”, but other teams picked a variety of alternative colours, which tended to get darker (and the numbers smaller) as time went on.

        1. Duncan Snowden
          10th May 2017, 16:31

          No, he’s saying that red numbers are historically part of the Mercedes livery. I think (without actually checking) that they actually pre-date the “silver arrows”. It surprises me that they’ve dropped them on Bottas’s car, not least because the blue doesn’t seem as visible.

          1. Duncan Snowden, @alianora-la-canta is talking about the historical liveries that Mercedes used in the 1950’s, and in that era Mercedes varied the system that they used. They commonly used a red number on a white roundel, but they did also use black numbers on a white roundel in that same era.

            1. Maybe it’s so we can easier identify who the number one driver is :D

            2. Duncan Snowden
              11th May 2017, 15:46

              Having brought up Williams and McLaren, I got the impression Alianora was simply talking about F1 in general. Either way, Mercedes may have used different systems in the 1950s, but (now I’ve checked :) ), the W154 used plain red-on-silver in the ’30s.

              I can’t find any images of white cars with red numbers, so I may be wrong about that, but it still goes back a long way as part of the Mercedes image.

    2. Clever attempt to make sure the shark fins won’t get banned?

      1. Fukobayashi (@)
        10th May 2017, 10:22

        Im pretty sure the consensus to ban shark fins and T wings from 2018 was agreed in the same strategy group meeting that decided to implement clearer driver identification. They cant do anything about them this year so may as well put them to some use! Although some shark fins looked great (Renault, Mercedes, Torro Rosso) and some hideous! (Williams, Force India, Ferrari)

      2. @patrickl Not clever at all. If you look at the side, there are lots of other places the number can be placed, for instance: next to the Petronas branding on the sidepod, in place of the huge Mercedes star on the engine cover or in place of Epson on the rear wing end plates.

        Or if they want the cars to remain ugly even after banning the shark and T wings, bring back the wheel discs/covers. ;-)

    3. sunny stivala
      10th May 2017, 8:58

      just the first three letters and the number, they need urgently to save weight to use as ballast.

    4. Not sure if I feel this is a necessary change really

    5. It is the sort of thing that casual a new fans will appreciate. The ones that follow the sport probably don’t have as much problems identifying them. It is a welcomed change

    6. I rather like the different colours on the numbers. But the shark fin thing has the feel of something which was designed by a committee.

      Just making the numbers a bit bigger and requiring them to be displayed on the flanks of the car was all that really needed to be done here.

      1. I don’t think Mercedes needed to trade historic number colours for the sake of having more individual style signatures. Anyone looking from front would notice the helmet anyway.

        1. @theaeroguy Remember the point of this is to appeal to the casual fan, not people who watch every race and know each driver’s helmet styles… which was another rule to help the casual fan of limiting helmet design changes.

          1. At this point, these feeble efforts to ostensibly draw in casual fans are pointless, since the prerequisite of forking over hundreds of £ per year to see the races is much more deterring than not being able to distinguish between drivers.

      2. Me too. Like the different colored numbers. But I think they should have matched it to the driver helmet color.

        For example, I associate LH with a 44 and yellow helmet. Why not there be a yellow 44 instead of a red 44?
        Same for Ferrari, a white 5 and a black 7 for their drivers and a blue 14 for Fernando.

      3. It beggars belief that the rules don’t require every single team to use the exact same font face, font size, location and foreground / background color for their driver number. This should not be up to the teams in the first place, it should be completely standard.

      4. @keithcollantine I agree. Something more like the 60’s cars.

    7. A bit underwhelmed, until I saw that Boattas’ number is a different colour. I like that, harks back to the late 90s when a day-glo strip was added to the T-cam and the end of the front wings. I really hope the other teams have different colour numbers too, I’m looking at you, Force India! So hard to tell the difference.

    8. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
      10th May 2017, 9:35

      F1 Fanatics sure are a hard bunch to please. I vividly remember many a comments about adding numbers to wing endplates, shark fins, etc, in order to more easily identify cars. Now that it’s happening, everyone is being a debbie-downer… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      1. Fukobayashi (@)
        10th May 2017, 10:20

        Couldn’t agree more. So we now have a number and a flag instead of yet more corporate branding and you lot are complaining? When will it end! ;)

        1. It’s because it looks so crap, come on. We’re all in favour of bug numbers on the cars, it was the only thing good about the 2008 BAR livery.

          The problem is that this render looks absolutely terrible. Yes we are hard to please, long may it continue!!!

      2. Totally agree!

      3. +1.
        And the more irrelevant to the racing the louder the voices ;)

        1. I am a loud voice. I have no regard to racing. I am angry man.

          Can’t we all just get along?

      4. @braketurnaccelerate, frankly, it feels a lot like most people here just want to find something to moan about, to the point where it seems that if Chase Carey was to walk up to some of the posters here and to offer to stuff their pockets with £10 notes, they’d be complaining that he wasn’t offering them £20 notes instead (for it feels that they always want more)…

        1. Where’s my £30 note?

    9. I am really glad the upgrades for Spain came through…….

    10. Not sure what’s wrong with the yellow cam for the second car.
      It’s easy to notice and you only have to know who’s has the yellow one on the car ;)

      1. Fukobayashi (@)
        10th May 2017, 10:27

        It’s easy enough to follow when it’s front runners like Mercedes, Ferrari and RB but in all honesty I often don’t have a clue which Force India, Sauber or Torro Rosso or Haas im looking at! And where does it publicise which driver has the yellow strip on their T cam?

        1. In the programmes. But you can’t depend on everyone on the track having them, let alone the TV audience!

      2. Agree that this helps a lot, as does helmet design as long as they’re different enough. But I’d like to see something they’re doing in Formula E at the moment with Faraday Future Racing:

        Same livery, just 180 degrees rotated and the sponsors are adjusted correspondingly.

        I’m sure Ferrari won’t like this approach, since their cars are always almost completely red, but even if it’s allowed as an alternative and not mandatory, I can see teams such as Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Sauber and Haas committing to it.

        1. FlyingLobster27
          10th May 2017, 13:31

          @addvariety If the rule hasn’t changed since 1999, then teams aren’t allowed to have substantially different liveries on their cars. I say 1999, because that rule was apparently why BAR went for its famous split livery in its first year.

          Personally, if we’re going to put the driver name abbreviations in large on the cars, what’s the point in having numbers anymore? I’d rather they just made the numbers properly visible on the side, and why not a national flag atop of the airbox.

      3. i watched formula1 for over 3 years before someone pointed out the yellow/blue t bar thing… relying on that is a Bernie idea…. and stupid.

        Put it this way… there is absolutely no good reason NOT TO have the drivers name and number on the cars….

    11. I think it’s easy to distinguish drivers from their helmet designs. Force India pair is a tricky one but all the other team mates have different enough designs. However this might be welcome add-on when thinking about people in the grandstands. I’ve never been in a Grand Prix but I can imagine it’s not that easy to analyze helmet design when the car is flying 300+ km/h past you!

      1. Fukobayashi (@)
        10th May 2017, 10:29

        The casual fan doesn’t know that Lewis has gone back to yellow for 2017 and could easily think he still wears white, hell even Raikonnen got them mixed up in Sochi! ;)

        Ill hold my hands up and admit that aside from the top drivers, I havent a clue what most of the drivers helmet designs are.

      2. @huhhii I always used the helmet designs to distinguish drivers and never had any problems, even when Vettel was continuously changing his design (which was fun by the way).

        1. @x303 Yeah, it has worked really for me (been following since 1998). Vettel was actually very easy to distinguish in his RB days, since Webber always had the same design. Would’ve been a nightmare if they both had changed their helmets all the time.

          I think one-off helmet designs were pretty cool. It’s a shame FIA has denied drivers from sporting those. Another rule which makes zero sense.

    12. I dont like/dislike it. But Im sure that the casual viewer would very much appreciate this change. My girlfriend is always asking me which car is which, maybe with these changes I won’t get distracted as much!

    13. I like it!

    14. I’m not sure if this will stand out during action like the yellow t cam does. Just have to wait and find out I guess.

      For me they could’ve just done the NRs.

    15. why does the person who did the McLaren livery still gets to do design jobs in F1?!

      1. The people paying him obviously thought he did an OK job…

        What’s wrong with you people? It’s a design, some will love it, and others will hate it, If you don’t like it, don’t paint your car in that design. Let mclaren paint their car how they see fit…

    16. Are they all using the same font? a bit boring if that’s the case.

      Learn from MotoGP. Try to make the driver numbers a marketable thing, unique to them, and force the teams to show it. That s the whole point.

      1. Fukobayashi (@)
        10th May 2017, 11:59

        No. They all have to adhere to a minimum size but the placement and design is down to the team.

    17. Wow, good thing Liberty pays Chase Carey the big-bucks to come up with this “innovation” that is “engaging the fans” and “leveraging the drivers’ unique personalities”.

    18. Tony Mansell
      10th May 2017, 11:11

      Doesn’t look much like a deckchair tbh but great, they’re being moved. Sorted

    19. Yes, it is not a game changer, but still nice to make it easier on newcomers to distinguish drivers!

      What I don’t understan is why they don’t do something more visible, like they used to do with T-cams. Why don’t they just paint the T-cam in 2 different colours? Or make big numbers on the sidepods? I think in a moving car the side number aren’t really going to help differentiate the cars. And they should probably make does “markings” in the same place for all cars (i.e. the T-cams)

      The execution could be better, but I think it is a great idea!

      1. T-cams were in 2 different colours until 2014, when the ability of drivers to select their own numbers messed up the system for determining who got which colour in the FIA’s eyes. Though I don’t see what is so difficult about a “bigger number = yellow camera” rule, which would be consistent with the system originally used for the purpose…

        1. This would cause confusion for the first few races. Alonso and Massa would have switched from black to yellow and Hamilton would have been the reverse for this year.

    20. I’d rather have something like Nico Rosberg’s car livery concept:
      I know it’s not realistic sponsor-wise but still it would be great!

      1. This looks good. Very obvious this is a Nico car.

    21. While it is a good move to try make things easier for the casual fans, this will make little difference to the lives of F1 Fanatics. I also think that the revised graphics are probably still too small to be seen from the stands by fans…but that remains to be seen.

      The drivers helmets are still by far and away the best and quickest way to differentiate between the drivers. If casual fans care enough, they’ll memorise what each driver’s helmet looks like soon enough. There is a reason I still remember what Olivier Grouillard and Fabrizio Barbazza’s lids look like…

      1. Give me the numbers over the helmets any day. They will stay consistent no matter what team a driver races for. Helmets change every year depending on taste sponsors and team colors.

      2. I’ve watched most of the races since 1998, so I wouldn’t call myself a casual viewer, but I don’t recognize 75 % of drivers’ helmets. I just care don’t care about the looks of the helmets.

        I don’t think having to memorize 20 different helmets is a good way of identifying drivers for anyone – casual viewer or not. Especially since most of the helmets look very similar. Coloured T-Cams were a better solution at the time when driver numbers were mostly based on last year’s championship standings (of course there were some exceptions such as Schumacher having a lower number than Rosberg) and the driver with a lower number had a red T-Cam. At the time I recognised every driver since (with a few exceptions) the “better” driver had a red T-Cam unless he had changed his team for that season. Coloured T-Cams based on drivers’ numbers could work even better now that the numbers are permanent, but it would require remembering drivers’ numbers. Yet, at least for me, remembering numbers is a lot easier than remembering almost similar helmet desings.

        Coloured T-Cams obviously weren’t much easier way to recognize drivers for casual viewers than helmets are. I think this new solution looks promising. I think it will help recognizing drivers a lot – especially in television. I’m afraid it won’t be much of a help in identifying drivers from the stands, but I’ll know soon enough, since I’m attending Spanish GP this weekend!

      3. Mark Zastrow
        10th May 2017, 21:21

        Completely agree with @hotbottoms. I consider myself a hardcore fan and couldn’t care less about helmets. And compared to the diversity in number design and paint schemes of every other racing series I’ve ever attended, helmets are an awful way to distinguish them in person. I’m partially colour-blind and at speed it’s quite difficult for me to pick out the tiny splotch of colour of the helmet surrounded by the rest of the livery. From the stands, I suspect the numbers will be far easier to pick out than helmets.

    22. Looks cool, nice graphics.
      I wouldn’t want BOT written on my car though, still its better than the obvious alternative or VAL.
      Lewis’ looks like free advertising for British sandwich filling.

      1. I’m pretty sure the FIA insisted the initials used were the same as are used on the 3-letter acronym charts it generates. I hope they have something to prevent 3-letter swears becoming official acronyms, because sooner or later someone’s bound to test that theory…

        1. can’t wait for the next generation of F1 stars.
          Frank DIKötter
          Josh BUMstead
          Dick KOK
          Amanda PEEl
          Achmad SUKarno
          Aida FUKushima
          François ASSelineau
          Garth TITley

    23. Michael Brown (@)
      10th May 2017, 12:22

      Which can barely be seen.

      If the FIA cares so much about driver identification, what they should do is regulate specific portions of the cars display the driver numbers, and make them big.
      – On the sidepod, shark fin, or rear wing support
      – On the rear wing, so the number is visible from the back
      – On the nose so it is visible from the front
      – Just outside the cockpit so it can be read from the T-cam

      I’m not sure what happened with the T-cams but the red and yellow was sufficient. As in, the entire T-cam was red or yellow like in 2012/2011.
      The helmet ban is unnecessary since nearly all drivers kept the same helmet design.

    24. I seriously don’t understand the choice for the colour of Bottas’ number. Let’s go over the thought process of the designers in question:
      – Ok, so our car is silver, black and cyan. What colour stands out the most?
      – Red?!
      – Right, but Hamilton already has that on his car.
      – True, so let’s make it yellow, that stands out as well!
      – No, the tyres already have yellow marking, that’ll make it confusing, fans are idiots and they’ll think it’s the new Pirelli P Zero 77 tyre.
      – You’re so right again. Argh, this is so difficult. Let’s just make it cyan.
      – Wow man, you’re a genius, this looks awesome and easily stands out!

      In all seriousness, if you can pick from yellow, green, orange, purple, pink or any other colour that has any contrast with the car, why choose this blue/cyan?

    25. Is it just me or does that make them much more ‘american’ looking!?

      Haha probably just me.

    26. I’ve never used the number to ID a driver, I’ve always gone by helmet or the fluorescent flashes that used to be put on the cars/Now the T-cam.

      I can also honestly say that i’ve never once got a driver ID wrong, Even when Vettel was changing his helmet every race/over a weekend I was always able spot it was him rather than his team mate & I still think the ban on drivers changing helmet designs during a season is one of the most unnecessary rules in the F1 rule-book.

      1. In regards to these new numbers, As they pointed out on Sky over the Russian Gp weekend, How many times do you actually get a good enough shot of the engine cover to actually see them?

      2. I’ve watched since 1997, and I have to say, I found the helmet changes very confusing. It depends what type of person you are and how you absorb your information.

        1. @ecwdanselby I can’t actually remember how I used to keep track of the helmet changes but by the time cars were on track I always knew who was who.

          It’s the same with Indycar, You tend to see car livery’s change a lot over the year often due to local/regional sponsors & I still somehow manage to know who’s who even with the car in a completely different color/livery. Marco Andretti for example has had a different livery in all 4 races so far this year.

          1. But in the case of Andretti, his number is easily readable. It is the same in NASCAR. They change schemes nearly every week, but I’ve never been confused as there is a Giant number taking up the entire door panel.

    27. digitalrurouni
      10th May 2017, 14:28

      I dig it. At least they are trying. Now if they could fix the liveries for every single car except the Red Bull and toro Rosso that would be great.

    28. Hah! Take that Ferrari!

    29. I like this idea. Is it possible to have the number displayed at the rear of the car, and can we have some sort of indication on the onboard video feed as to which car it is? I rely on the commentators to say who is driving the car.

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        10th May 2017, 19:19

        There is space on the back of the rear wing, which some cars use as sponsorship. Though that part can be hard to see due to shadows or the DRS opening.

    30. Scuderia-Racing-Or-Ping-Pong (@)
      10th May 2017, 17:49

      I’ve got some more…
      Red Bull:

      Only two of them have been confirmed. I might post some more later on…

      1. MG421982 (@)
        10th May 2017, 18:06

        Better job at HAAS and RBR!

      2. Mark Zastrow
        10th May 2017, 21:24

        Agreed! Especially like that Ricciardo has adopted the classic Dale Earnhardt font on the 3. So different fonts can be used!

    31. MG421982 (@)
      10th May 2017, 18:00

      It’s OK, but could be a lot better. I don’t think they’ll be visible from a certain distance, even tho the current HD cameras help a lot compared to the pre-HD era. The numbers should have been larger, plus even at the front the placement it’s not the best… for all cars. IMO, the numbers should have been placed lower, closer to the nose, like right above the Qualcomm inscription, for example.

    32. Michael Brown (@)
      10th May 2017, 19:20

      Just make the numbers bigger. To hell with the “Oh we need that space for sponsorships.”

    33. So the FIA wants numbers to be more visible, but wants to get rid of the very thing that make them more visible than ever before. How’s that for aesthetics?


    34. As a strong opposer to these sharky wings… This is the first time they make sense to me.

      Use them as large driver billboards. Perfect.

    35. I think it’s a great initiative to have the driver numbers visible. As mentioned above, would be nice to have them clear like on the 2008 BAR (side of the rear wing) as this render looks pretty mediocre to be honest… but better than nothing.

    36. Useless.
      You won’t ever see them when the car is moving
      as others pointed out, when a car is travelling at speed, the best way to identify it is different colors in the same place (helmet, T-cam, mirrors)

    37. What is this? Give me a break. Make the numbers bigger. Or just look at their helmet to see who it is seeing they can’t change the design of their helmet anymore.

    38. If you put on there the TLA, why do you need numbers for??? Just put the TLA very big and everywhere and forget the numbers!!!

    Comments are closed.