The 2013 F1 season begins on March 17 — a week from this Sunday. The bad news is that I don’t know jack about F1; the good news is that readers Carlos and Omar Jalife know plenty about it. They’ve written design reviews for each of the 11 F1 teams, and I’m going to be rolling them out over the course of the next week. We begin today with the first three of their reviews. Carlos and Omar, take it away….
By Carlos and Omar Jalife
Caterham Racing Team
The Livery: Caterham has decided to go with two major changes in this year’s livery. The first is using a lighter tone of green than the ones they had been using for the past three years, which is also the original green used by English teams back in the ’60s, when each country had an assigned color. The second change is that the yellow line on the nose is now gone, which drastically alters the green-to-yellow ratio. Too bad, since the yellow was part of the team’s identity and now the livery looks more like the Jaguar team from last decade.
The front spoiler, as you can see in those last pictures, is being invaded by BFBS. There’s no apparent reason for this, as the sponsors don’t seem to be part of the change. The same thing is happening on the rear wing and the sidepods, which are now half black. In addition, the rear wing lost its yellow line, which now goes on the side wing.
Vanity panel: No vanity panel for Caterham.
Fire suit: Surprisingly, the green tone of the fire suits has not changed at all. In fact, nothing about the fire suit design has changed. However, you can see that the shoes now have gray instead of black on the inside.
Helmets: Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde have made minor changes to their helmets. In the case of Pic, it is a shame to see him change the red letters in his design to yellow, which means the helmet no longer resembles the French flag as much as it did last year. He’s also made both Ps merge in the back. For those of you with a keen eye, you’ve probably noticed the coolest detail in all F1 helmets: the Eiffel Tower behind the letters.
Carlos’s Verdict: The nose and fire suit look awful without the yellow stripe. C+
Omar’s Verdict: They changed from copying a winning car’s scheme to copying a lousy car’s scheme. B-
The Livery: Okay, everybody knows Ferrari is red and this will never change. Yes, you can throw them lots of money and have the sidepods painted yellow with your logo, but that’s as much as you’re going to get. Among the changes in the livery is the BFBS arrival, which can be seen on the exhaust area (#4 in this picture), on the lower part of the rear wing (#7), and on the upper part of the front wing where it joins the nose. The color change to a brighter red is due to HD TVs. In the past, Ferrari has used an orange/red tone that translates to Rosso Corsa on TV. However, with the arrival of HD transmissions, Ferrari can now use their real red.
On that same picture, you can see they added a white line on the lower part of the car that reaches all the way to the front wing. On the rear wing, instead of having the upper half painted white, they decided to just paint a white line in the middle of it. The floor of the front wing is now red instead of white.
Vanity panel: Ferrari was strongly against the platypus noses last year and has stayed true to that principle by using a beauty panel for 2013.
Fire suit: There are four changes in the 2013 fire suit, but only one of them is major. Ferrari has decided to add white sleeves (compare to last year), which looks rather odd. They have also extended the Italian flag on the side so that it reaches the ankle instead of being cut at shin level. The shoes are slightly different, but I’m guessing that’s not Ferrari’s choice and it is completely done by Puma. Finally, just below the chest sponsor, two white motifs have been added.
Helmets: Alonso’s helmet is virtually unchanged, except that the Spaniard is now using gray on the back, instead of white. He has also added a bluer panel on top, for no apparent reason. The Victory Cross — he is from Asturias — is missing on the lower part but we will probably see it in the inaugural race.
Carlos’s Verdict: Ferrari should always be red, but the white and black details don’t look so bad. A
Omar’s Verdict: The red Ferrari is always a beauty, but every year is less red. B+
Lotus F1 Team
The Livery: Don’t fix it if it ain’t broken, right? In Lotus’s case, last year’s livery was one of the best in the F1 grid (based on the old JPS colors that ran from 1972 to 1986). So the hope here was that they’d stick with it.
Unfortunately, it’s not to be. For 2013, Lotus has scrapped the red rearview mirrors (old) and lateral front wing limits (old) and instead chosen to put red in the side pods (old) and add a red section on top of the car to put their driver’s name (not the first time a team has done this). They also reduced the amount of red in the back wing (old) which counts as a plus. And, finally, the front wing is stylized with red and gold elements when you look it from the front view. All these changes basically turn one of the best cars in the grid into, well, an awful mix of black, gold, and red.
Also, the legendary Lotus logo>, which adorned the back of the cockpit, is now gone. But they’ve kept the one on the tip of the nose. The three stars that symbolize each of the titles obtained by the team will remain in front of the driver’s cockpit.
A small detail: Just above the top red part of the livery is the hashtag #imsexyandiknowit.
Vanity Panel: Not for Lotus for now (although they said they could change their mind).
Fire Suits: Some minor changes. As you might guess, some red accents are involved. The red is now on the front part of the shoulders and under the arms through the length of the sleeve. Also, no more fangs below the waist (which were present in the old design), since the golden line is now straight and sectioned at the end, with no red accents until the ankle.
Helmets: Grosjean was spotted with a whiter helmet with possibly minor changes from last year (here’s his old version). Raikkonen changed his helmet number, as he will no longer be in car number 9, and also made minor changes in the design.
Carlos’s Verdict: Certainly the E20 wasn’t as clean as the JPS liveries, but the E21 further distances this design from Lotus history. B
Omar’s Verdict: Red, black, and gold: You can mix two but not all three together. C
Uni Watch News Ticker: The federal trademark challenge to the Redskins’ team name went back to court yesterday. … Meanwhile, there’s more about the Cooperstown School District dropping the team name “Redskins” here and here (from Rick DiRubbo and Eric Hawkins). … The Knicks wore Noche Latina jerseys last night. Note that the chest lettering included white outlining that isn’t used on their standard jerseys. “It made the wordmark nigh-illegible,” says Robert Silverman. … There are convenience stores, and then there’s a convenient store. Heather McCabe’s brother Richard spotted that in Chicago. … “Found this photo of my company softball team from 1985,” says Ronnie Poore. “That’s me on the front row, far right, kneeling. Looks like high stirrups were the style at the time. I believe we later got logos on the caps.” … NYC pay phones will be getting a design makeover (thanks, Phil). … Oklahoma baseball went G.I. Joe the other day (from Dayne Lawson). … Whoa, check out the amazing letterhead used by a 1920s telegraph pole company (big thanks to James Ashby). … Here’s more about the controversy regarding the Team Canada women’s hockey team wearing Livestrong-themed uniforms. … This is pretty great: A White Sox fan who prefers not to be named was looking at some 1993 footage and spotted a decal of the Chicago city flag on Carlton Fisk’s brimless catcher’s helmet. … Hmmm, Bill Russell wearing “Celtics” and a teammate wearing “Boston.” What’s that about? (From Tyler Kepner.) … Before last night’s Leafs/Bruins game, the Bruins celebrated the 95th birthday of former player Milt Schmidt, who did for the ceremonial pregame puck drop and wore a pretty rad sweater for the occasion. “I searched the internet for pictures and couldn’t find any shot of him with the captain’s C between the numbers,” says Bobby Pinkham. “In fact, when the Bruins wore that particular jersey, they did not have any captaincy patch.” … Here’s a video clip showing how Arizona State decided to update Sparky (from Chet Gole).