Launch season is one of the most exciting times of the year for any Formula 1 fan and certainly the most anticipated parts of the off-season.
Of the six liveries revealed so far, five feature heavy use of bare carbon in their design, with only one team, RB, appearing to have a significant amount of coverage on their car for the upcoming season.
Mercedes will unveil their W15 on Thursday, but after the team switched from traditional silver in 2022 back to all-black last season, it’s to be expected that the team will do the same in 2024. That means at over half the grid will be running with minimal paint on their cars this season.
The main reason for this is to save weight. Even with the minimum weight limit as currently high as it has ever been, teams are looking at ways to save every gram possible. That means going without as much paint as the team – and the sponsors – find acceptable.
But the response from fans has been mixed, to say the least. Some do not seem to mind more exposed carbon on the grid, but others feel that team’s distinctive visual identities are being lost with all the paint being stripped away.
Some have even questioned whether the FIA should step in to enforce teams to paint their cars in full, either by writing a regulation that forces them to or provide an extra specified amount to the weight limit to avoid any disadvantage for having cars fully covered.
But is that right? Should F1 teams be made to paint their entire cars, even if they would prefer to run in bare carbon?
Formula 1 car liveries are more than just elaborate advertising for the team’s sponsors. They are about so much more.
Not only do they provide a convenient means of telling cars and teams apart, but a well-designed livery can become truly iconic. Are younger fans going to have their imaginations captured by these current slate of carbon black designs?
As much as it should not be the case, aesthetics do matter in sport. In order to avoid another year of such similar, dark designs, the FIA should step in to prevent teams sacrificing their looks to save mere grams of weight.
In a sport where so much of what the teams can and cannot do is already heavily restricted as it is, the idea that the governing body is brought in to regulate this should make any fan scoff.
Formula 1 has a minimum weight limit. It does not specify how teams should reach the almost 800kg point that they need to make in order to be legal – only that they must do. If running almost bare allows them to find run heavier parts elsewhere with the car, so be it.
This is the pinnacle of motorsport, after all. There should be no compromises in the pursuit of performance and certainly not when it comes to how the cars look. Even if most of the grid is in dark mode.
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It’s easy to sympathise with fans who feel pretty disappointed with the livery designs that have been on offer so far this launch season. F1 liveries in general have been pretty uninspiring in recent years, and now some fans might struggle to tell cars apart at first glance due to how black so many of them are – especially at the many night races this season.
It’s also notable how this seems to be just a problem Formula 1 is dealing with. IndyCar, NASCAR, World Endurance Championship, WRC – no other major motorsport series seems to feature cars that are so naked as they are in Formula 1. But that may be just a reflection of how competitive it is on the cutting edge of development with these modern, bulky ground effect cars that teams are prepared to strip away so much of their identities to lost miliseconds of lap time.
Should Formula 1 or the FIA try and enforce some new kind of regulation in order to bring some colour unashamedly back onto cars in the future? No. There are plenty of other areas where the rules makers in Formula 1 should be focused on instead.
By far the most preferable option would be for the sport to find a way to reduce the minimum weight limit and move more towards the lighter, more nimble cars of old. That way, teams would be less concerned about stripping their cars of paint in order to save weight. Thankfully, there are talks about trying to do just that for the next major rules changes in 2026. Until then, we might just have to put up with a bit more black on the grid.
Does the sport need to do something to bring more colour back to the cars on the grid? Should the FIA step in and enforce a rule? Have your say in this weekend’s poll.
Should the FIA enforce a rule requiring teams to paint the majority of their cars?
- No opinion (1%)
- Strongly disagree (37%)
- Slightly disagree (8%)
- Neither agree nor disagree (4%)
- Slightly agree (16%)
- Strongly agree (34%)
Total Voters: 190
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