This upcoming weekend is slated to be a historic occasion for Formula One. The Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, the traditional home of the Italian Grand Prix, is celebrating its centenary. Also, Ferrari is celebrating its 75th anniversary as a car manufacturer. Scuderia Ferrari is running a one-off special livery on its F1 cars. The iconic Italian racing team teased a yellow paint job, but the unveiled result was underwhelming, to say the least.
The 75th-anniversary special livery is largely the same scheme that Ferrari has run this season with added touches of yellow. The front wing, rear wing endplates, halo and engine cover all have splashes of yellow. The engine cover will also feature the classic “F lunga” Ferrari logo. The livery itself isn’t lousy. However, the relatively minor changes are underwhelming compared to the social media hype and organized press announcement which led to the reveal.
The choice of yellow was deliberate. While Ferrari is associated with red, the association largely wasn’t by choice. From the early 1900s until 1968, cars in international motorsport were required to be painted in an assigned national color. Red was Italy’s assigned national color, with Ferrari continuing the tradition even after the restriction was lifted. Ferrari explained:
“Yellow is therefore very much the second color for the Maranello marque and the founder immediately chose it as part of the emblem he designed after being asked to carry the Prancing Horse motif by the family of famous Italian war hero Francesco Baracca. He wrote, “the Cavallino was and has remained black. I added the Canary yellow background which is the color of Modena.”
Modena was the birthplace of Enzo Ferrari. While I’d like to see Ferrari run this livery for the rest of the F1 season, I also wished the Italian team went all-out for Monza and raced fully-yellow cars. It’s cowardly that Ferrari didn’t dump buckets of yellow paint on its F1 cars after building up everyone’s expectations for something drastic, dramatic, different. When Enzo Ferrari was pissed off with the Automobile Club di Italia in the 1960s, he was actually bold enough to drop the red and race his cars in American blue and white for a pair of F1 races.
Honestly, the build up to disappointment isn’t all that surprising coming from the F1 team. Hell, if Ferrari approached livery design as conservatively as it did pit strategy, maybe Charles Leclerc wouldn’t be 109 points behind Max Verstappen in the World Drivers’ Championship.