Every F1 Livery was Better at Canada's Last Grand Prix

Every F1 Livery was Better at Canada's Last Grand Prix

I maintain that 2019 was the best year for Formula 1 liveries in recent history. Take a look for yourself.

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A photo of the Formula 1 grid racing its first lap of the 2019 Canadian Grand prix
What a wonderful, colorful sight this is.
Photo: Dan Istitene (Getty Images)

What a time to be a Formula 1 fan. Ferrari is back to winning races, we’ve got a close mid-field battle, and Red Bull has two drivers fighting for the championship once again. On top of all that, the 2022 season has seen new circuits and familiar favorites appear on the calendar. One of these returning tracks is Montreal, where F1 raced yesterday for the first time since 2019.

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But while watching 2022's F1 machines blast around the circuit, I couldn’t help but think there was something missing. A little pizzaz, a little sparkle. And I think that’s because every F1 team’s livery is a bit worse now than it was in 2019, the last time Montreal hosted a Grand Prix.

Don’t get me wrong, the current cars look nice. But I think 2019 was a particularly stellar year for F1 liveries. If anything, I think that year might have had the best lineup of liveries in F1’s modern history.

So sit back, relax and let me change your mind about this, one pretty looking F1 car at a time.

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Mercedes

A photo of the 2019 Mercedes F1 car racing in Canada.
Photo: Mark Thompson (Getty Images)

It’s silver, it’s got a teal stripe down the side and it dominated the season. Must be the Mercedes W10, which was driven by Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

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You can’t go wrong with a Mercedes liverythey’re almost always great. Sure, the 2020 all-black W11 was a particularly special car. But on the whole, we’re off to a pretty inoffensive, rather attractive start. I like the harsh fade to black at the rear on this car, and the lack of red Ineos branding to detract from the vibes.

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Ferrari

A photo of the front end of the Ferrari F1 car of Charles Leclerc in Canada in 2019.
Photo: Dan Istitene (Getty Images)

Sure, the 2022 challenger driven by Charles Leclerc and Carlso Sainz is very pretty, and its red and black livery is pretty sleek. But, back in 2019 it was the first year the Scuderia featured a matte paint finish, which really made the vibrant red color pop.

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On top of this, it was pure, simple Ferrari – in that it was red all over with just a few sponsor logos.

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Red Bull

A photo of Pierre Gasly driving his Red Bull F1 car in Canada in 2019.
Photo: Mark Thompson (Getty Images)

The last of the familiar favorites, Red Bull.

Back in 2019, Red Bull were sponsored by Aston Martin, so this matte blue livery with its red and yellow detailing was accented by Aston Martin logos here and there. Since then, those have been replaced by Honda badges, which were then swapped for Oracle logos. Who knows what they could be swapped out for next?

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It’s been a similar switch-around with drivers, as Pierre Gasly (seen above) was quickly replaced by Alex Albon who was himself swiftly swapped out for Sergio Perez. At least it looks like Perez might stick around for a little while longer.

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McLaren

A photo of Lando Norris driving his 2019 Mclaren F1 car in Canada.
Photo: Charles Coates (Getty Images)

And now we’re getting into the good stuff.

The 2019 McLaren, driven by Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris, has one of the best McLaren liveries of all time. Heck, it might be one of my favorite F1 liveries ever.

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The team had made a return to papaya orange a few years earlier, which they’ve stuck with ever since. But there’s just something about the shimmering finish the McLaren cars had in 2019, coupled with the vibrant blue, that makes this car really pop.

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Renault

A photo of Daniel Ricciardo driving his yellow and black 2019 Renault F1 car in Canada.
Photo: Dan Istitene (Getty Images)

Another absolute banger of an F1 livery was rolled out by Renault in 2019.

This team has since morphed into Alpine, and with that change in name we lost the bumblebee cars from the grid. RIP.

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This livery was great as from the front, the car appeared almost entirely yellow, while the side profile was almost all black. Then, as you look down on it from above, you see it in all its bumblebee-like greatness. I miss it more and more each day.

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Toro Rosso

Toro Rosso

A photo of Alex Albon driving the blue and red Toro Rosso F1 car.
Photo: Dan Istitene (Getty Images)

Another great livery lost to team evolution.

For the 2020 season, Red Bull junior team Toro Rosso evolved into Alpha Tauri, taking its new name from the energy drink firm’s fashion house. With that change, out went the gleaming blue and red look you see above, and in came more muted white and navy styling.

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Without turning this into a rant about the current influx of matte-finished cars, the 2019 Toro Rosso was further proof that all F1 cars should be gleaming and shiny.

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Racing Point

Racing Point

Sergio Perez driving his 2019 Racing Point F1 car.
Photo: Racing Point (Getty Images)

The return of an all-pink livery on the grid with Alpine for the first two races of 2022 was nice. But do you know what’s better than two races with pink cars? Four whole seasons of pink cars.

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The vibrant color provided by title sponsor BWT meant that it was always easy to spot the Racing Point cars of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll whenever they were on track in 2019. I think this look will be considered iconic one day.

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Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo

A photo of the front end on the red and white Alfa Romeo F1 car.
Photo: Dan Istitene (Getty Images)

One team that has consistently fielded pretty cars is Alfa Romeo.

In 2019, drivers Kimi Räikkönen and Antonio Giovinazzi were blessed with this lovely red and white creation. Sure, it didn’t score them many points. But in true Italian fashion, the cars looked great while they were fighting down at the bottom.

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Haas

A photo of the black and gold F1 car of the Haas team.
Photo: Mark Thompson (Getty Images)

Ah Haas. What a year this team had in 2019. From troublesome sponsors to tense driver relations, this team had it all. There was so much going on at Haas that you could probably write a book on it!

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But, focusing purely on the aesthetics of the livery, it was a pretty good year. 2019 marked a departure from the red and gray look of old in favor of a black and gold scheme dictated by its ties to mysterious drink company Rich Energy. Black and gold is a classic F1 car palette, and it just goes to show that this color scheme can look good on any generation of race car, no matter who the sponsor might be.

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Williams

Williams

A photo of the blue and white Williams F1 car racing in Canada.
Photo: Mark Thompson (Getty Images)

The only real misstep in an otherwise flawless 2019 paddock was Williams. This simple blue-and-white look was the afterthought that topped off an awful year for the historic team.

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Still, the presence of its flashes of lighter color on the grid helped make this the best looking F1 lineup in decades. A point I still stand by after looking through all 10 teams once again.

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