McLaren give reasons behind partial return to chrome colours for British GP

Henry Valantine
McLaren unveil 2023 Silverstone livery. July 2023.

McLaren unveil 2023 Silverstone livery. July 2023.

McLaren CEO Zak Brown helped unveil a special one-off livery for the British Grand Prix this weekend, that harks back to a return to the chrome colour scheme that bedecked the team’s cars through the 2000s and 2010s.

This move stems back to the team’s 60th anniversary celebrations and, while it serves as a nod to the heritage of McLaren, immediate reaction to the one-off livery on social media left some fans wondering why the team did not go all-out and change the entire car to chrome for this special occasion, with the colours being a hybrid of silver and the ‘papaya’ orange that Formula 1 fans have come to expect.

Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri will wear special race suits for the team’s home race this weekend at Silverstone, with the colour scheme change having been done in conjunction with team sponsors, Google Chrome.

Zak Brown: McLaren ‘want to keep our papaya identity’

Additional reporting by Sam Cooper

Addressing media at the team’s Woking base as the one-off colours were unveiled, Brown was asked why McLaren did not go all-in on a return to a chrome livery for this special occasion.

The team’s CEO reasoned that such moves are only allowed in Formula 1 rules on a limited number of occasions, but besides that, the team want to ensure the ‘papaya’ colours which they returned to in 2017 become synonymous with the McLaren brand, in the same way that red has become associated with Ferrari.

“We want to keep our papaya identity,” Brown explained to media including PlanetF1.com at the McLaren Technology Centre.

“It’s very important to us that we kind of do a nod to the past but also very much look forward to the future.

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“There’s also so many times you can change the livery into one extreme, so what we did in Monaco a couple of years ago [with their Gulf-inspired 2021 livery], you’re only allowed to do a couple times and then to kind of have variations of your base scheme, you can do a little bit more often.

“But I think rules aside, it was important to us. We’re really trying to build our association with papaya, much like Ferrari’s red and Mercedes have their colour identity.

“We get a lot of feedback from our fans that really like the papaya. So that’s why we went with the combination.

“We could have gone further if we wanted to, but again, the papaya is very important to us.

“Back when the car was chrome before, it had Vodafone’s, I think they called it ‘rocket red’ [colour shade].

“Obviously, that was more chrome than this, but you also need to take things into consideration like weight, where we still have the carbon fibre.

“So it was a combination of rationale to get there, but the lead one was we don’t want to lose our papaya identity.”

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