Given the popularity of the Toyota Livery Development post from Thursday last week, and also given that Sidepodcast have made a request, here’s a quick run down of Renault’s liveries over the years. Of course, the French marque have set themselves a standard just as Toyota have, although Renault are clearly not afraid to experiment with their choice of colours, which can be clearly seen with the 2009 livery unveiled earlier today. Let’s just say, the days of the blue and yellow were much kinder to my eyes…
This isn’t Renault’s first foray in Formula One, the French car manufacturer having raced between 1977 and 1986. In the mid-eighties, the marque took a step back from the sport although they did supply world championship winning engines to Williams and Benetton. In 2002, Renault purchased the Benetton team from the Italian family and returned to the sport in the guise you see today.
1977 RS01 & 2007 R27 ’30th Anniversary’ Edition
The original livery consisted mainly of Renault’s yellow with only hints of white and black as contrast. With fewer sponsors to keep happy, the cars remained fairly clean looking with only two brands really visible: Renault and partner company Elf.
When Renault’s Formula One team reached the grand age of 30, the team produced an exquisite livery based around the original colour scheme, but molded onto the modern R27. With a return of the black combined with the yellow, it is a great shame this livery and car combination (R27) never raced.
Upon Renault’s return to the grid, the company purchased the Benetton operation and over a period of two years, transformed the team into Renault. The squad were sponsored by Mild Seven, which is where the blue comes from. However, wanting to incorporate the traditional yellow of Renault, a darker shade of blue was also introduced to break up the contrast between the colours. The R22 had a white front wing, which looked a little out of place and was soon re-coloured. The livery was simple, yet very effective, and the colours soon became synonymous with the team thanks to a driver who was yet to drive for them. The red flash on the tip of the nose was to help identify between the team mates; one car had it, the other didn’t.
Very little changed with the 2003 livery, the team still being sponsored by Mild Seven and therefore carrying the blue. The white front wing remained and future world champion Fernando Alonso was brought on board. The reason why the Mild Seven blue would outlast the sponsorship deal was its closeness to the colours of Alonso’s home town of Oviedo. As if by fate, the flag of Oviedo almost exactly matches the blue and yellow of RenaultF1, and the colours would remain with the team while Alonso was winning world championships, even though the cigarette brand would eventually be forced to part company with the squad.
A minor overhaul of the team’s livery happened in 2004, with the front wing finally being matched up to the rest of the car. With Renault becoming more comfortable with Formula One and popularity rising, as well as the imminent loss of Mild Seven, more of Renault’s yellow was incorporated, particularly at the front of the car where the yellow is extended into the darker blue which is now more pronounced. Sponsorship by Telefonica also added to the darker blue at the rear of the car on the wing. It should be noted that the photos of the R24 look a little washed out, but in reality the blue remained unchanged as far as I am aware.
Very little changed for 2005 with the exception that Renault and Alonso would finally win the championships. Fernando Alonso took on the mantle of having his camera and nose painted red, which went well with the rouge in his helmet design. A few more sponsors clutter up the design, especially on the side of the nose as it curves back to the monocoque.
Erm… spot the difference, anyone!?
I absolutely love this photo, hence its inclusion.
2007 Interim Livery
Before the team overhauled their livery prior to the 2007 season, they ran Giancarlo Fisichella in the new car with a sort of in between livery. It was much darker than normal, successfully eradicating the Mild Seven blue but retaining the Renault yellow. Many thought this was the final 2007 livery, which resulted in a surprise when the ING look was unveiled a few months later.
With Fernando Alonso no longer driving for the team, and Mild Seven now just a memory, the team completely overhauled the livery. New title sponsor ING had their corporate colours of white, blue and orange integrated with Renault’s yellow and the result was lambasted by fans the world over. It seemed messy and without structure, although I have to admit, I actually quite liked it. The yellow remained, of course, as did the dark blue, although slightly altered for ING. Combined with the snug design of the car, I thought the livery worked well, but I’m well aware I am in the minority on this one!
No change as far as I can see (aside from mirror and vanes colour), and to prove it, I’ve put the two overhead shots close together for your viewing pleasure. Or not, if you didn’t like this livery.
Woah! Renault! Sorry, I’m still in shock…
No wonder Flavio’s wearing sunglasses!
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