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F1 to ring in the hue?

NEWS STORY
02/01/2007

Other than the absence of Michael Schumacher, Formula One looks set to have a 'new look' this season, with several teams expected to make drastic changes to their liveries following the departure of the tobacco companies.

With Mild Seven gone, it was inevitable that Renault would lose the blue, however there is widespread speculation as to what sort of colour scheme the champions will race in this season.

Originally, it had been thought the French team might return to its traditional yellow, however with new title sponsor ING, a global finance company of Dutch origin, in place all previous bets are off.

ING's 'corporate colour' is orange, and with the R27 due to be launched in Amsterdam (Jan 24) it is quite possible that Giancarlo Fisichella and Heikki Kovalainen will be seen standing beside cars whose colour is more associated with the original McLaren team, when it was sponsored by Gulf Oil. It is highly unlikely - we hope - that Renault would opt for an orange and yellow machine, so of anything the R27 will be orange and blue.

McLaren will have Vodafone as its title sponsor and therefore it is safe to say that there will be a lot more red on the car this season.

The 'bling' look wasn't widely popular in 2006, a situation not helped by the similarity the livery had to the Spykers (nee Midlands).

With Vodafone on board, not to mention a couple of Spanish and Chinese sponsors, we expect to see a lot more red on the car, possibly a move back to the old Marlboro McLaren days. That said, with DaimlerChrysler thought to be buying up the remaining sixty percent of the Woking team in the not too distant future, perhaps 'silver' might remain the main feature of the MP4-22.

Though Telecom Italia Group will replace Vodafone at Ferrari, Marlboro's presence will continue, so there is no threat of the Maranello team changing colour. However, it is to be hoped that in the not too distant future the Italian team will return to a more traditional red as opposed to Marlboro's day-glo version.

In recent weeks there has been talk of Honda drastically changing its livery, partly in deference to the departure of British American Tobacco, and partly to the fact that the team has failed to secure a new title sponsor, despite the 'best efforts' of 19 Entertainment, the company owned by Simon Fuller, the man behind the Spice Girls and Pop Idol.

It's widely thought that as F1 gets serious about 'green issues' the Brackley-based outfit will reflect this by literally going green, a move which - depending on the shade - will surely inspire Jenson Button and the British media to new heights.

BMW and Toyota are likely to stick to their corporate colours, while Red Bull will no doubt continue with its 2006 livery as it continues its attempt at world domination, at least in terms of energy drinks. The Toro Rosso livery was novel, if somewhat vulgar, in the first year, therefore we can probably expect changes when the new (cough) car is unveiled.

It's understood that although half-owned by Red Bull, Toro Rosso is seeking to establish its own identity, and with Ferrari engines in the back, and (co-owner) Gerhard Berger seeking new sponsors, perhaps the Faenza team's 2007 contender will drop the bullocks.

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