The 2023 Formula 1 Season has begun, at least off of the track. Last night, MoneyGram Haas F1 team revealed their cars’ new livery online. Haas is the first of the ten F1 teams to show off their car’s new look, with the rest of the field coming up throughout the next month. Fans across the globe have taken to social media to discuss the new design, creating memes and debating whether or not the new look improves over previous seasons.
Some fans shared how the well known red and white design is their preference, but that the new design is still good looking.
A Youtuber by the name of Tommo who is famous for doing fan designs of famous F1 cars, commented on the reveal as well: “A bit fiddily, but I like that there’s more black. I think it’ll look great under the lights. Not keen on how the MoneyGram sponsor has been implemented on the side. Solid. 6/10.”
Though Haas is the first, the coming month will see the reveals of the other 9 teams’ designs. Red Bull are hosting a physical “season launch” in New York City this coming Friday. Williams will reveal their car next week in Zurich, followed by Alfa Romeo in New York as well. Alfa Romeo who also recently released the ‘Art Car’, a one-off custom F1 car, developed in partnership with world renowned graffiti artist Boogie to auction off for charity. AlphaTauri, Aston Martin, McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes and Alpine will show off their new looks over the course of the rest of the month.
F1 and sponsorships
The Groningen Observer spoke with acclaimed F1 journalist Maurice Hamilton about the legacy of livery in Formula 1. Overall, he believed that liveries, and the unveiling of new designs, are reflective of the desires of sponsors as opposed to a treat for fans. “Sponsors are paying for their name to be on the car, for brand recognition,” Hamilton said. He went on to say that the reveal itself is a chance for a team to show their sponsors that they are worth backing. Eyes on the reveal and eyes on the car during the season are the entire draw of sponsors to the sport. Even more important however, is getting their name onto the driver’s racing suit. “There are always photos of the drivers on the podium.”
Hamilton insisted, the reveal of livery is much more important as an insight of the financial and political aspects of Formula 1: new sponsors and the implementation of their logos can cause quite a stir, and in some cases, completely redefine the personality of the team. The colors and other aesthetic choices are certainly not a focus when he sees coverage of the launch. Times he has attended reveals in the past, Maurice would mainly look to see if there were any new sponsor names on the car, or if any had left. Haas’ new livery is a physical representation of their new connection to the money transferring company MoneyGram. Their logo is featured prominently, however the colors have returned to Haas’ classic red, white and black. This limited implementation of the title sponsor is quite a change from previous years.
In recent seasons, Haas has gone through several title sponsors quickly. Their journey is a reflection of the tenuous position Haas holds in the sport. They’re a comparatively new arrival to the league, and their time in the sport has been widely considered to be unimpressive. Haas continues to struggle to fight towards the middle of the pack, but still faces challenges tied largely to their financial insecurity.
Across the past 4 seasons, Haas has fielded some drastically different designs, tied to different title sponsors. Hamilton echoed this sentiment regarding Haas’ struggles. The changing colors and title sponsors are indicative of an inability to impress their financiers. He acknowledged their reasons for continuing to change in order to finance their place in an expensive and highly competitive sport, however he warned of an unintended consequence of their actions.
“They lack a definitive identity,” said Hamilton and pointed to the example of the hugely successful Oracle Red Bull Racing, home of Dutch favorite Max Verstappen. Since their emergence onto the field, they have maintained their navy blue color throughout every season. Similarly, Mercedes-AMG Petronas’ Silver and Ferrari’s iconic red have been recognizable parts of their brands for decades, and these three teams are at the top of the sport.
Looking towards 2023
The car reveal and redesign isn’t just about a fresh coat of paint; regulation changes regarding the makeup of the cars is an important aspect of the car launch season of Formula 1. This year, a number of new regulations will impact the design of the cars. For example, updated regulations regarding the use of rear wing endplates have been implemented which has closed loopholes, drastically impacted the design of rear wings across the board.
Haas’s F1 boss Guenther Steiner gave his view on the team’s 2023 look, calling it modernized. “I like the livery, it’s undoubtedly a more elevated and modernized look which is fitting as we move into a new era alongside MoneyGram as our title partner. It’s an exciting time of year for Formula 1 and it’s great that we’re first out the gate to showcase our livery but our attention is firmly on getting the VF-23 on track and preparing for the season ahead.” It is yet to be seen if MoneyGram will provide the consistency and financial security Haas has long sought, and whether this new design will live on in future seasons.