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INSIGHT: The Barcelona Upgrade Everyone’s Talking About…

INSIGHT: The Barcelona Upgrade Everyone’s Talking About…

2017 has been something of a transformational year for Formula One – and we’re only four months down. New regulations, new driver line-ups, a new battle for racing supremacy… it’s all been rather exciting so far.

Rapid turnarounds are pretty much the norm!

And now, as has become traditional in Barcelona, fans and journalists alike wait with baited breath to see what fresh innovations will appear on the various cars along the paddock. But there’s one such addition that will be commonplace throughout the grid – in one form or another, at least.

From the Spanish Grand Prix onwards, driver names will appear on the side of each car – and the existing driver numbers on the front must conform to a newly defined regulatory size. The target? To make each car – and, more to the point, each driver – more easily identifiable for the fans.

The regulation change itself was confirmed in the build-up to Sochi, leaving around a fortnight for design and production ready for Barcelona. Not a lot of time for a livery change, you might think. But this is Formula One… rapid turnarounds are pretty much the norm!

Amending a livery design that was settled many moons ago is far from a straightforward task, however. The new elements have to tick the right boxes, of course. But they need to work with the overall look of the car, too. Months of painstaking work goes into defining every last detail of the slick paint jobs you see on these F1 beasts – and they have to look the part!

From the Spanish Grand Prix onwards, driver names will appear on the side of each car

Our designers reckon one of the biggest challenges actually lay in finding a suitable location for the larger numbers and, of course, the driver names.

So how does it work?

Our designers reckon one of the biggest challenges actually lay in finding a suitable location for the larger numbers and, of course, the driver names. A lot of things come into play here that might not be immediately obvious. Branding positions for current and potential sponsors, for example, have to be considered. And then there’s the main objective – giving clear visibility of the new elements to the fans.

So how does it work? Well, the design team work closely with the marketing department to come up with the most visually appealing and commercially effective solution, before linking up with the paint shop to set about how best to apply the new elements to the car. Once those decisions have been made, the new features can be integrated into the overall livery design and applied to all race cars moving forwards.

In the case of the W08, the design we’ve gone for aims not only to reflect the regulation change and follow the rules, but also to add a twist by including the national flag of each driver. You’ll also notice that our boys have different colours for their names and numbers – red for Lewis, blue for Valtteri. We reckon this will provide better visibility for the fans when the cars are at high speed, so fingers crossed it does the trick…

An upgrade designed around you guys

So there you go. An upgrade designed around you guys. Pretty neat, huh? Check out the video below to see for yourself how it all came together and let us know what you think!

For the regulation boffins among you, here’s what the experts say…

a) Each car number should be clearly visible from the front of the car (Article 9.2). We feel that to be clearly visible the numbers should be no less than 180mm high, have a minimum stroke thickness of 30mm and be of a clearly contrasting colour to their background.

b) Each driver’s name, TLA or car number should be clearly legible on the external bodywork on both sides of the car (Article 9.3). We feel that to be clearly legible the names should be no less than 110mm high, have a minimum stroke thickness of 20mm and be of a clearly contrasting colour to their background. If numbers are used on the sides of the car in place of the driver’s name they must comply with a) above.

Check out the video below to see for yourself how it all came together and let us know what you think!

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