If last year it was possible to distinguish the formulas based on the visual, this year this task will be even more difficult. Source: Getty Images/Red Bull Content Pool
If last year it was possible to distinguish the formulas based on the visual, this year this task will be even more difficult. Source: Getty Images/Red Bull Content Pool

Why is Formula 1 moving back to black and white in the digital age?

F1 OlyBet 24.02.2024

Long gone are the days when to find out the results of a Formula 1 stage, you had to open teletext – in Estonia, it was called Teksti TV – and click the red-yellow-green-blue buttons to get to the “F1” page.

Nowadays, all the results reach you directly via your phone. Similarly, it is possible to watch all the races live with the help of a smart screen, and Netflix allows you to go behind the scenes of the series.

It’s all the funnier, however, that in this digital age, Formula 1 is going back to black-and-white times. What’s it about, you ask? Well, the starting line of F1 is blacker than ever in the new season.

The Ferrari is still red, but…

February 16 was the day when Red Bull was the last team to come out with its color and design solution for this season. Of course, their vehicle was decorated with a red bull and a pinch of the usual yellow was found on both the front wing and the air intake. But the rest of the car was so swathed in dark blue that it was essentially black.

Black Bull if you are keen on puns.

Red Bull is to be commended though, because they still stayed dark blue (albeit VERY!). Ferrari deserves praise as well as it continues to be red and – perhaps because of this, but still – also has the most beautiful design in the eyes of most fans.

Visa Cash App RB – newly named AlphaTauri – which is blue, and Aston Martin, which continues to be dark green, also stand out more or less strikingly in terms of colors.

Oh well, now there’s a green Sauber

Wait, isn’t McLaren orange anymore, Haas black and white spiced with red, Williams blue, Alpine blue-pink and Alfa Romeo red-black?

Yes and no.

Let’s start with the fact that Alfa Romeo is not on the starting line this year and the team is called Sauber this season. But whoever has the impression from way back that Sauber means (dark) blue – well think again. From the new season, it means bright green!

However, the colors of the other teams have remained the same, i.e. you can still recognize the McLaren formula by the orange and the Alpine by the pink patch. It’s just that these spots have become fewer and fewer, and the lion’s share of machines are still black!

This is what this year's Formula 1 cars look like. Source: F1

There is no favorite color anymore

That doesn’t mean black is the new favorite color of the teams. On the contrary, their favorite color is when there is no color at all. Namely, the black parts of the formula 1 cars are instead their so-called naked parts, because carbon (carbon fiber) is simply not painted.

This trend started two years ago when new regulations came into force in the series, which made the cars considerably heavier than before.

At the beginning of 2022, it caused quite some funny moments, because in the first tests, essentially all teams were underweight with their cars. In the end, of course, things were fixed, but sometimes with the gnashing of teeth.

Mercedes was the pioneer

Losing kilos in a situation where new regulations require you to do certain things and at the same time you have to act within the limits of the spending limit was not easy.

However, the engineers chasing thousandths of a second continued to look for ways to cut grams, and Mercedes was one of the first to have an Aha! moment: if you leave the car unpainted, it is possible to save as much as six kilograms!

Let’s remember that when Mercedes came out with its W14 engine last year, the team historically called the Silver Arrows suddenly became the Black Arrow. The fans gnashed their teeth – this year the nose of the Mercedes car has been painted silver again, applause to them for that! – but the engineers clapped their hands! They did their job.

The solution was further developed

Last year, being underweight was no longer a problem in F1 – let’s praise the engineers again – but these same mathematical geniuses also accomplished something else when solving the color question.

Although the grams per se did not need to be removed from the machine, the grams saved on color allowed them to place this weight in another location. A place where it contributes better to the handling of the vehicle and the overall balance of it.

This is why more and more teams are leaving their cars unpainted: they want the vehicle to be fast and perform, not just look good.

In a nutshell: the solution undoubtedly works and is functional, but it should not come as a surprise if, after a year or two, an exception is made to the rules regarding color, and the starting line is again as colorful as a rainbow. Because the fading of the brand is a blow, the importance of which should not be underestimated, and both the constructors and the series themselves know this.

This year, however, F1 fans will have to settle for a darker kind of starting line, which will be seen for the first time on the first weekend of March in Bahrain.


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