Formula E is an incredibly interesting series, with ten different drivetrain manufacturers, a dozen different teams, at least 20 world-class drivers on the grid, and races that are packed with drama from green to checkers. The races are short, but still manage to pack in more action than an entire season of Formula One. In the recent pre-season test, every single car turned a lap within 1 second of the fastest time of day, which should give us a pretty interesting 2021 season. But, for all that action, the series has notoriously boring liveries.
We’re going to look at all 12 cars and make a definitive judgement call on which car looks best. Let’s go.
Black and white, Venturi? Really? It doesn’t get much more uninspired than this. If you’re looking to blend in, why not try grey? At least in 2020 this team had some red on their car. Black, white, and red isn’t much better, but at least it’s not black and white.
Speaking of Black, white, and red... Jeez, Porsche. I know you have a long history of incredibly boring liveries, and I’m glad that this one doesn’t say Porsche Intelligent Performance when you look at it from a bird’s eye view.
I definitely appreciate the fact that Nissan named one of its race cars Ariya, and the other one Leaf, but the uninspired black and red livery is a no-go for me. It’s just so aggressively okay looking that it doesn’t deserve anything better than 10th place. Nissan finished second in the championship last year, so it’s a good thing grid placing isn’t determined by how good the livery looks.
Almost as bad as black, white, and red is black, white, and blue. In addition to parts of this car looking the color of a day-old shiner, it’s just a largely boring design. It’s not quite as bad as the ones that came before it, and it’s not quite as good as some of the ones that come after it. Obviously. That’s how lists work. Anyway, boring. Moving on.
NIO looks like it tried to blend the Jaguar and the Mercedes livery into one car, and it just didn’t quite work out. This is the first one on this list that I don’t actively dislike, so that’s a good transition point, I think. It could use some work. Or a different color. Set yourself apart, NIO. Do something different, for heck’s sake.
Mahindra’s livery is alright, if only for its use of bright colors. The use of the colors of the Indian flag as a pinstripe around the edge of the wheel rim is inspired, and drags this livery up higher than it probably otherwise would be. I like that you can’t mistake the Mahindra for any other car on the grid, which gives it a few bonus points as well. Not terrific, but not bad.
Look, there’s a lot of decent stuff in this livery. I like the ghost Mercedes stars on the back half of the car. I like the bright blue wheel rim stripes, but I’d like it a LOT better if the wheels were entirely that blue rather than just a stripe around the outside. Nobody in Formula E is doing bright wheels, and that’s a damn shame. Use the wheels in your livery, folks, it’ll get you more points in this competition. Ultimately, it was the use of Mercedes’ signature silver color that earned demerits from me. I know why they did it, but I just plain hate silver.
The Envision car uses a really beautiful deep blue color, but ultimately this is a color with some pinstripes rather than a proper livery. I like this one a lot, in fact it’s among the prettiest Formula E cars around, but without some more depth to the design, it was always destined to fall short of the top. I’m glad Harley-Davidson is back as a sponsor in 2021, though. That’s neat.
Teal is always a winner in my book, and Jaguar uses that great color to full effect here. I would definitely have preferred MORE teal, including removing all of the black and replacing it. The juxtaposition of teal and black is nice, and doesn’t include the fatal flaw of silver that the Mercedes has. Teal is a good color for a race car. More race cars should be teal.
Gold is pretty much the complete opposite of silver. If you want to be a winner, you go for the gold. Only losers love silver. If this car had been silver and black instead of gold and black, it would have been a real downer. And to prove that winners go gold, the DS TECHEETAH team has won the Formula E championship three years in a row now. This could definitely be a better livery, but as obvious by the rest of the grid, it could definitely have been worse.
Okay, this livery kicks all kinds of ass. It’s got stripes, bright colors, shiny bits, and an unmistakably different look to it on the grid. All it takes for a black, white, and red livery to go from bad to pretty good is a smidgen of green and a whole lot of eye-catching stripes. This thing looks fast just sitting there. I can’t explain why, but I’m a big fan. It’s a bummer that Audi is walking away from Formula E at the end of next season, but hopefully the ABT team continues with this wicked livery. In fact, I hope they make it even wilder.
Yes. YEs. YES. YES!
This is what I’m talking about here, folks. In 2020 the Dragon car used an incredibly boring black and white livery that would have placed it down near the bottom on this list. For 2021, the team have cranked things up several notches by simply replacing every black part of the car with CHROME RED! It doesn’t take much to be at the top of this list, folks, but chrome red certainly helps. God, I can’t wait to see this car running more or less mid-pack all year next year, but looking totally fly doing it.
All it took was a call to Sean Bull Design to make a good looking car. That’s it. Leave the design work to designers, not marketers. This kicks ass and catches eyes. Very well done.
So there you have it. All 12 team liveries ranked. Most of these are middling at best, but some of them go above and beyond. It’ll be hard for any livery to be on-par with the current Racing Point pink Merc, but it doesn’t hurt to try. If you’re in charge of designing a livery, please put in some thought and effort. Make it look great!