The fast show – F1 car designs

F1 car designs | Six

I’m a big fan of F1. And an even bigger fan of design (or is it the other way round?). This is an exciting time of year for me and the other F1 geek at Six, Jo Deverill-Slade as this year’s cars are now unveiled.

I’m particularly excited this year. Regulation changes mean that designers and engineers have been interpreting the new rules. Their ideas are more idiosyncratic (who could forget that Caterham nose from 2014?) with different engineering solutions and new liveries to suit. I’ve been watching with interest to see the new look cars unveiled and how they perform on track.

Here’s a run down of the new designs for the 2017 season:

Force India

Force India racing car design 2017 | Six

It’s a classic look for Force India. The silver and black is a good look but the expanse of bare surface on the new ‘shark fin’ feature feels like an opportunity missed.


Sauber C36 racing car design 2017 | Six

Sauber’s is the most interesting livery. It reminds me of the tobacco-sponsored cars of yesteryear – like the Gauloise Ligier of the mid-90s. It’s a huge improvement on the look of the previous two seasons. Title sponsors have been in short supply and this year’s livery celebrates their 25th year in Formula 1. I do like the naked carbon fibre shark fin though.


Haas VF17 racing car design 2017 | Six

The grey and red returns for Haas and I think this is a good looking car. My favourite part is how they have treated the shark fin with some blocky speed graphics trailing off the air intake. It’s an effective way to camouflage this not so aesthetically pleasing element of the 2017 cars.


Mclaren MCL32 racing car design 2017 | Six

The original McLaren colour was orange. This year’s car nods back to that. I’m personally disappointed that it doesn’t interact more with the lines of the car. My biggest complaint is the loss of the typeface for the driver numbers from the last couple of years. It seemed to (ok, maybe ironically for some fans) ooze speed, as if it was being spread back up the car by the airflow.

There is a little-known ‘easter egg’ (geek fact alert) hidden on the car. A sneaky kiwi graphic. The national bird of New Zealand, Bruce McLaren’s home nation and official mascot of the team since its inception. The decal will be in a different position at each race. Eagle-eyed fans can spot and share with #SneakyKiwi. Now you know.

Toro Rosso

Toro Rosso STR12 racing car design 2017 | Six

The blogosphere seems to be hailing this years Toro Rosso the best looking car in the paddock. It finally steps out from the shadow of its sister team with a more distinctive livery. Maybe I need to see it in person, but it’s not topping my list so far.


Renault RS17 racing car design 2017 | Six

The yellow and black returns for a second year. Similar to the colourway of the 2010 car back when Six (yes, us) worked with the Renault team. And with a new fuel supplier in BP Castrol, we are even more excited to see how they do this year. I think it stands out on the grid. The strong contrast of yellow and black teamed with the subtle flowing lines towards the back of the car work well.


Williams FW40 racing car design 2017 | Six

There is something about the Martini livery that’s timeless. It shouts motorsport and feels aerodynamic in its own right. Williams have been recapturing their form to become one of the top teams as they were when I was a kid. I look forward to seeing what they do this year.

Red Bull

Redbull RB13 racing car design 2017 | Six

Everyone loves the matte finish, don’t they? Another strong look for Red Bull. I like how the sponsors’ branding takes over the placements rather than apologetically fitting in. I also enjoy the money Red Bull puts into its media surrounding the team. Not content with a simple ‘ta dah’ and removing the covers, there is a whole campaign for the RB13 – (un)lucky for some.


Ferrari SF70h racing car design 2017 | Six

Ferrari chose to camouflage the shark fin by contrasting the ‘rosso corsa’ (‘racing red’ to you and me) with white. It’s quite effective, as I have found while playing spot the difference while trying to find shots of this year’s car. There’s not much more to say about the look of the Ferrari. It’s all about whether they can recapture something that’s been missing for a decade: championship-winning potential.


Mercedes W08 racing car design 2017 | Six

At first glance, one of the safer designs, but look closely and the T-wing is something only Mercedes and Ferrari have looked into. First reports suggest that other teams may be looking longingly at the small winglet. Let’s face it though, everyone’s focus will be on Lewis Hamilton and whether Valtteri Bottas can challenge him as a worthy successor to Nico Rosberg.

Fix up look fast

Wait, what? Force India have just announced a new livery for 2017 since the end of testing. It’s Pink! Wow. Adopting the colourway of a new title sponsor, water company, BWT. It’s…distinctive.

Force India BWT pink racing car design 2017 | Six

High octane design

So, what have we learnt? New regulations mean new shapes and aero designs on the cars. Updated liveries will make the first few races interesting for armchair fans. And we just don’t know who will be on the top step at the end of the first race, let alone the last.

It’s been a long winter, but it’s not long now until I drag myself out of bed at an ungodly hour for ‘lights out’ on the first race of the season in Australia. There’s a lot to get excited about. A lot of unknowns as the new cars take to the grid, a lot of F1 chats on a Monday morning, and I can’t wait. If you’re a fan too, get in touch and tell me what you think of the upcoming season.

Images from,, – all great sources of info for a quick F1 fix.

March 16, 2017

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