Special McLaren liveries will not become the norm

Henry Valantine
Lando Norris in his Gulf-liveried McLaren at Monaco. May 2021.

Lando Norris heads towards Tabac in his one-off liveried McLaren. Monaco May 2021.

McLaren CEO Zak Brown says the team’s special liveries will only be limited, so the team retain their “identity”.

McLaren have raised eyebrows with their one-off designs this season, most notably their Gulf-inspired livery in Monaco which received widespread approval and acclaim among Formula 1 fans around the world – with the team and Gulf having revived their long-standing partnership.

The team also received plaudits for the one-off design they revealed in Abu Dhabi, done in partnership with another of their sponsors and designed by an artist based in the UAE.

Even though the reaction to these designs has been widely positive, Brown said they will not keep any of them on a permanent basis for a combination of reasons.

“Fan reaction has been great. I think on a very limited basis as we have done is the right balance I think,” Brown told reporters in Abu Dhabi, as per GPFans.

“We want to keep our identity but make a special livery special, because if you do it all the time, it loses its specialness.

“This was sponsor-driven, just like Gulf was. It doesn’t necessarily mean it will always be sponsor-driven. I think it gives some vibrancy, brings great messaging.

“In this instance, it was a female artist from this area so a great way to draw attention to various topics.

“Then, of course, our fans like to support us, so you see a lot of Gulf hats and shirts running around so it’s great for fan engagement. Everyone has voted with thumbs up so to speak with their enthusiasm for it.”

Brown stopped short of saying that the team will halt creating these special designs altogether, but rather wants to keep them as one-offs to reserve their uniqueness for the races in which they’re used.

“It’s something that we want to do, and we will continue to do but not on a high-frequency basis because then I think you lose your own identity, and it loses its specialness.”

When McLaren unveiled their special Monaco livery, we took a look back at 10 of our favourite one-off designs to grace the grid in Formula 1, which you can see here.

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