Launch season is one of the most exciting times of the year for any Formula 1 fan and certainly the most anticipated parts of the off-season.
But this year more than most, the spectacle of seeing the brand new cars for the 2024 season has been blunted by an overabundance of bare carbon on display.
Of the six liveries revealed so far, five feature heavy use of bare carbon in their design, with only one team, RB, appearing to have a significant amount of coverage on their car for the upcoming season.
Mercedes will unveil their W15 on Thursday, but after the team switched from traditional silver in 2022 back to all-black last season, it’s to be expected that the team will do the same in 2024. That means at over half the grid will be running with minimal paint on their cars this season.
The main reason for this is to save weight. Even with the minimum weight limit as currently high as it has ever been, teams are looking at ways to save every gram possible. That means going without as much paint as the team – and the sponsors – find acceptable.
But the response from fans has been mixed, to say the least. Some do not seem to mind more exposed carbon on the grid, but others feel that team’s distinctive visual identities are being lost with all the paint being stripped away.
Some have even questioned whether the FIA should step in to enforce teams to paint their cars in full, either by writing a regulation that forces them to or provide an extra specified amount to the weight limit to avoid any disadvantage for having cars fully covered.
But is that right? Should F1 teams be made to paint their entire cars, even if they would prefer to run in bare carbon?
Formula 1 car liveries are more than just elaborate advertising for the team’s sponsors. They are about so much more.
Not only do they provide a convenient means of telling cars and teams apart, but a well-designed livery can become truly iconic. Are younger fans going to have their imaginations captured by these current slate of carbon black designs?
As much as it should not be the case, aesthetics do matter in sport. In order to avoid another year of such similar, dark designs, the FIA should step in to prevent teams sacrificing their looks to save mere grams of weight.
In a sport where so much of what the teams can and cannot do is already heavily restricted as it is, the idea that the governing body is brought in to regulate this should make any fan scoff.
Formula 1 has a minimum weight limit. It…