Before the test drives start in Bahrain, we took another look at the archives. We came across some unusual images. In the past, the cars were regularly wrapped in special outfits for the practice rounds.
The test drives for the 2023 season are only two and a half weeks away. As always, there is great excitement before the garage doors open for the first time. In recent years, observers have regularly experienced surprises when it comes to the paintwork of the new generation of racing cars.
You don't have to look far back. The fans should still remember the Erlkönig look of the Alfa Romeo C42 from last season. The camouflage design was launched in 2022 because not all sponsorship contracts had been signed at the start of the practice rounds in Barcelona. The finished look was then only available at the second test in Bahrain – together with all partner logos.
Red Bull in a zebra look
Red Bull also knows camouflage clothing. The special dark blue and silver pattern used at the 2018 RB14 shakedown at Silverstone was intended to make it difficult for competition spies to spot technical details. At that time, the images were also processed with Photoshop.
Three years ago, the Milton Keynes team first experimented with a camouflage look. When the RB11 rolled out of the garage in Barcelona, the car surprised everyone with an all-black and white wrap. Thanks to modern camera technology, the camouflage effect can hardly hide anything. It is more likely that the flashy looks are for PR purposes.
It's not as rare as you might think that cars show up for the test drives in a different outfit than during the rest of the season. The teams often give their new cars a special design for the first test laps to attract attention or simply to test the reaction of the fans. If the colors do not go down well, they are repainted without further ado.
Test cars in one-color paintwork
Another reason for special test paintwork is the quick, uncomplicated replacement of body parts. The whole car is therefore often simply painted in one color - such as at Toro Rosso in the 2016 season. Then upgrade parts do not attract negative attention if they are not yet perfectly adapted to the usual racing design.
Whether it's an old McLaren in orange, a Toro Rosso in blue, BMW Sauber all in white or Michael Schumacher in a black Ferrari - in our gallery we have once again collected many interesting special paint finishes from Formula 1 test drives.