Before vehicle manufacturers and teams sponsors and visual identities were captured on the tracks, it was the countries of origin that determined what color the cars were in Formula 1. There were teams of red Italian, blue, French, green, British, German to white, and so on. Incidentally, two traditional colors are returning to the grid in 2021, with changes to the French Alpine and English Aston Martin (Renault and Racing Point respectively).
The paint system is more than a century old, but was no longer the norm at international auto events in the late 1960s, when cars began to be sponsored. They served to help identify the cars, and each country chose its color, although some were repeated. For example, Brazil and Belgium competed with yellow.
Racing Red (in Rosso Corsa, Italian) never “went out of style”. It was adopted in 1907 in honor of the red car driven by Sipión Borgis in the endurance test victory from Beijing to Paris. It is not, since then, that Ferrari and Maserati, for example, did not race with other colors: the rule was that the color would be the core of the team, Italian cars purchased by British, Belgian and others such as Grid Green, Yellow etc. Enters
Nowadays, fans who watch the race from the stands may also find the true color of the Ferrari on the track odd, as the tone is more orange, designed to look very red on TV. Even though it has been adopted in white or yellow due to sponsors (and the current car has green), Ferrari has never stopped being predominantly red in F1.
France’s blue is the same color used by the country’s monarchy since the 12th century, and it also identifies the country in other sports. Teams such as Ligier and Proust used French blue in F1, a color that dates back to Alpine this year.
The car has a painting filled with mentions of France, with country colors on the back (arranged as a French flag, but also a mention of the United Kingdom, where one of the factories is located). The tone is slightly lighter, and also refers to the Alpine brand identity, which was an independent factory, but which was acquired by Renault in 1973 and is undergoing revitalization.
There are several theories that explain why the United Kingdom is represented by a color that is not in the country’s symbols. It is most commonly accepted that, at a time when motoring was banned, David Napier was traveling to France to race in a private car, in a way that was characterized by personal choice. And after Napier tried to take a car event in England, that green took on a new meaning (and darker shade), it did not succeed, and the race was held in Ireland, the country in which the color is green, in fact, A symbol special.
In Formula 1, when it comes to British Racing Green (or British Racing Green in English), the immediate association is with the unbeatable Lotus of the 1960s, run by Jim Clarke and Graham Hill. But it was Lotus that ended the tradition when it adopted a cigarette brand sponsorship and painted cars in red and white.
The British Dark Green made a comeback with the Jaguars not too long ago, and are now back again with Aston Martin. But Sebastian Vettel and Lance Strow’s car color has already been the target of much criticism during the season, which was broadcast in Brazil by the F1 streaming service. As the green in the video becomes much darker, it is mainly confused with Mercedes’ black car.
The German team is, in fact, the one who survives the rule. At the beginning of the last century, the color identifying the country’s cars was white. But after Mercedes went unpublished in 1934 in a test at the Nürburgring, the German color became silver with the metal car and with that lighter. Eventually, it was there that the Mercedes Silver Arrow began to gain fame, which also marked an era in F1 in the 1950s and then back in the 1990s with the McLaren Partnership. He too adopted silver. Last year, however, as one of the measures to draw attention to the anti-racism movement, Mercedes started running in black.