McLaren livery, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, 2021

McLaren reveal one-off livery for Abu Dhabi F1 season finale

2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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McLaren have revealed a special, one-off livery they will use for the final race of the Formula 1 season in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

The team will run a special design for the second time this year, having used a one-off Gulf livery for the Monaco Grand Prix in May. This weekend’s livery has been produced for sponsor British American Tobacco, whose vaping product Vuse is being promoted on the cars.

The design was created by Rabab Tantawy, an artist based in the UAE, as part of the Driven for Change initiative to highlight the work of under-represented artists aged over 25. The design merges the papaya orange and blue colours McLaren has raced in all year with Tantway’s Nubian Series artwork.

“Driven by Change is a unique opportunity to use our global stage to support rising talent, giving undiscovered creatives the platform they deserve,” said McLaren’s chief marketing officer Claire Cronin. “Rabab’s art is inspiring, and we are proud to take her papaya-influenced creation racing this weekend.”

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2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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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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35 comments on “McLaren reveal one-off livery for Abu Dhabi F1 season finale”

  1. Trippy …

  2. How is this not a violation of the anti-tobacco advertising rules? @dieterrencken can you explain?

    1. Vuse is not a tobacco product

    2. @The Dolphins, I don’t see a tobacco reference.

      1. Vuse is an e-cigarette brand from Tobacco maker Reynolds American. It is not a new sponsor on McLaren but I have not heard any complaints about it on the car. Given that Vuse is an actual tobacco product and not just a “mantra” as “Mission Winnow” or “A Better Tomorrow” (which also has a subliminal association with British American Tobacco given their acronyms are anagrams: ABT and BAT) claim to be this is surely a clear violation of the rules.

        1. The Dolphins, there have been questions and complaints raised about the legality of McLaren’s sponsorship deals with BAT for the past couple of years, with McLaren having to sometimes remove those logos in some jurisdictions.

          In the case of the UAE and this particular livery, whilst there are very heavy restrictions on advertising traditional tobacco products, there are relatively few restrictions on e-cigarette products – that is how they are managing to get round some of the restrictions, although it is also part of the reason why this is effectively a one-off livery.

    3. Driven for Change

      Driven for Tobacco since the sponsoring thing started

      1. Yeah, “driven for change of narrative” on products that will definitely make you less healthy @qeki. I really like McLaren overall, but this sponsorship should just never even have occurred or let to go ahead.

    4. The same way that Mission Winnow (i.e. PMI, i.e. Phillip Morris, i.e. Marlboro) is allowed sometimes on Ferrari cars. Depends on the location.

      –from the link above, this past summer:

      The Mission Winnow logo will not be featured on the Scuderia Ferrari livery during races in the EU, starting with the French Grand Prix this weekend.

    5. I’ve been saying saying the same since the beginning of McLaren’s sponsorship with this company. Vuse is clearly a tobacco product/company, which is confirmed by having to login/register to validate your age just to enter their website. Nobody complains.

      Meanwhile, people have been so vocally against Ferrari for years having Mission Winnow as their title sponsor. At least MW doesn’t have any mention or reference to tobacco in any of their advertising. Very much a double standard in my opinion.

    6. I’m wondering: are there seriously non-smokers out there that now suddenly go ‘well it’s been on the side of a McLaren F1 car, so it must be really cool to vape now’? Teach kids to see through marketing and let tobacco companies waste their money on marketing that does nothing for selling their product. Banning stuff just makes it exciting for teenagers.

      Off-topic: I love the design, so colourful yet recognizable, the artist did a great job. I sincerely hope she nicked a decent amount of tobacco money away from the shareholders by creating it.

  3. Tobacco sponsorships rule again (except the mission winnow crap).

  4. Seriously horrific livery. What were they thinking!? Probably of all the dollars they will be getting…

    1. It’s been designed by a female artist from the UAE and resembles the pride flag. It’s therefore a subtle-ish way of McLaren showing support for progressive causes, albeit via a vaping product.

      1. Still looks bad.

    2. Of course, there’s nothing more progressive than a vaping company

      1. That was kind-of what I was inferring!

  5. Thought somebody had spilt Skittles on the car at first

  6. @keithcollantine I noticed this article was quickly updated to replace the original image with the new gallery. What’s interesting is the original image included the health warning from Vuse, why was that removed?

    1. The images have been replaced with higher resolution versions which weren’t immediately available and do not include that text.

  7. Anyone else feel like a rainbow paddlepop now…?

    1. This is how you market nicotine to children. Good grief.

  8. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    7th December 2021, 18:45

    Not acceptable especially if the company deals with cigarettes or vaping products.

    How is McLaren unable to secure top tier sponsorship?

    1. Because F1 is not on open channels.

    2. What, do you mean like:


    3. Erm…havent you been watching for the past couple years? Vuse and Velo have been prominent on their cars for most of the last couple seasons.

    4. It’s not so long ago they had to blow their own logos up to fill the blank spaces but I’d prefer they didn’t take big tobacco sponsorship – as I’d prefer that F1 didn’t take Aramco’s money so they can sublimate their agenda.

  9. At least we will know if a McLaren loses a front wing end plate.

  10. It’s groovy baby! very Grrr!
    But they may be too late to stop Dr. Marko and his fiendish plans.

    1. You have issues if you have to take shots at RB in a Maca article.

      1. I think you’re the one with issues if you didn’t get the tongue in cheek Dr Marko reference being Dr Evil.

  11. First impression was which delibery looks the same to me then new pictures ok it’s still orange :) not that i like it very much but tastes is different for everyone else.

  12. Looks more like promoting DMT than tobacco.

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