Welcome at RacingNews365

Become part of the largest racing community in the United Kingdom. Create your free account now!

  • Share your thoughts and opinions about F1
  • Win fantastic prizes
  • Get access to our premium content
  • Take advantage of more exclusive benefits
Sign in

In photos: The best F1 liveries that were never raced

With the 2022 car launch season in full swing, Alfa Romeo surprised many in the F1 paddock by running their new C42 at Fiorano with a striking interim livery. This inspired RacingNews365.com to take a look back through the archive at some of F1's best unraced paint jobs.

Honda RA099 – 1999

Following a period away from F1, Honda were gearing up for a return to the sport as a fully-fledged constructor by 1999, and produced the neat RA099 (main photo) for an extensive testing programme that year, with Jos Verstappen at the wheel. Though the all-white Honda posted competitive lap times, the project came to a shuddering halt when Chief Designer Harvey Postlethwaite died of a sudden heart attack at a Jerez test that April. Despite the tragedy, Honda did return to F1 in 2000 as an engine supplier, before taking over the BAR team ahead of the 2006 season.

BAR 01 – 1999

After taking over Tyrrell's entry for 1999, British American Racing caused quite a stir by unveiling their 01 challenger with separate liveries on each car, in deference to two different tobacco sponsors. This was soon outlawed by the FIA, resulting in the infamous zip-up paint job that was as garish as it was asymmetrical. But it could have been so different. At pre-season testing, driver Jacques Villeneuve took the wheel of a sponsorless 01 decked out in a pleasing blue, black and silver combo – representing an altogether more refined approach than the monstrosity that was to follow.

Red Bull/Jaguar R5 – 2004

Red Bull are no strangers to a pre-season special, from the zebra-inspired RB11 in 2015, to the striking arrows down the side of 2019's RB15. However, the pick of the bunch might be the firm's very first offering. After buying Jaguar at the end of 2004, Red Bull had only a few days to come up with an interim livery in time for a post-season test. The result was an eye-catching silver and blue number that closely resembled the firm's ubiquitous drinks cans.

Williams FW36 – 2014

After a disastrous 2013 in which the team scored only five points all season long, Williams rang in F1's turbo-hybrid era with the announcement of sponsorship from drinks firm Martini, signalling the return of one of motorsport's most iconic liveries. But before that deal was inked, the Grove-based squad turned up at winter testing with a sleek, sponsorless navy blue paint job redolent of a 1980s Tyrrell.

Renault R.S. 18 – 2019

Renault have been responsible for some of F1's most memorable liveries ever since their hokey cokey involvement in the sport began in 1977. The minimalist all-black effort from the 2018/19 off-season might just be the best of all, though it didn't help the Enstone squad rise above mid-table in 2019.

McLaren MP4-21 – 2006

Following decades of being decked out in a variety of colours in deference to different sponsors, McLaren reverted to the firm's original papaya from the 1960s in time for the 2017 season. However, the Woking outfit had on occasion previously used the tango hue for pre-season testing liveries, notably in 1997 and again in 2006.

Ferrari F300 – 1998

Ahead of F1's new era of narrow track and grooved tyres in 1998, Ferrari tested an all-black version of that year's F300 at Fiorano with Michael Schumacher at the wheel. While there was never any chance that the Scuderia would have raced in anything other than their famous rosso corsa colours, they did use black nosecones along with a sponsorless livery at the 2001 Italian Grand Prix, as a mark of respect to the victims of the 9/11 terror attacks.

Toyota TF01 – 2001

Toyota were well known for having the highest budget of any F1 team during their eight-year stint in F1, and the Japanese firm built its first TF01 challenger in 2001 for an extensive year of testing before its race debut in 2002. The simple red and white paint job on the test car stood in contrast to the altogether busier livery the team would sport for the duration of their time in F1, which ended after Toyota's corporate HQ pulled the plug in 2009.

LIVE 2024 F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix