There’s a giant lizard on the track! What? Read on to find out more…

The automotive world, design and marketing – it was in my blood before I even knew it!

Before I even knew that I was going to enter the world of graphic design and marketing. I was amazed by something that my father brought home from Courtaulds, which back in the day was a UK based manufacturer of fabric, clothing, artificial fibres, and chemicals. It was established in 1794 and became the world’s leading man-made fibre production company.

I vividly remember a really expensive looking brochure with transparent overlaid pages, riveted together. I was hooked as to what this document was – ultimately posher than what I could get my grubby little mitts on in a bookshop! It certainly was something that stuck in my mind!

The document was the rebranding of Courtaulds which got me hooked on brand and design… and unbeknown to me at that point was about to collide with what was to become another huge passion of mine – motorsport!

Why, you ask?

Well with their new identity came a sponsorship of the F1 which I would watch religiously as a child. So now the fun and games started of spotting the logo on the teams cars! 

Below are the ones that stick in my mind, can you spot the logo?

Ayrton Senna 1989 – 1993

Alain Prost – 1989

Mika Häkkinen – 1993 – 1995

Mark Blundell – 1995

Which brings me on to talk about the first sponsored livery! 

1967 Gold Leaf Lotus 49

That’s right the first team in F1 history to abandon their team colours for that of a lucrative sponsorship deal. When Colin Chapman signed with tobacco manufacturer Gold Leaf, his cars soon left their traditional British racing green and yellow for the gold and red of Gold Leaf.

Perhaps also one of the first cars to begin compiling different brands and sponsors on the body. The likes of Firestone and Shell showing some of their partners.

It is with this car that Graham Hill won his second championship and Formula 1 ushered in a new era of sponsorship involvement, truly starting to pave a way for the “glamour era” in the 70’s.

Lotus would go on to have many iconic tobacco partnerships until their demise in the mid-90’s. Till this day they remain one of the more influential teams when it comes to liveries.

Beyond doubt, tobacco companies provided us with some of the most stunning Formula One liveries ever. From the late 1960s until 2007, tobacco advertising was seen on countless numbers of cars, with almost every single team profiting from cigarette company sponsorship at some stage.

Numerous brands graced the bodywork of Formula One cars over this forty year period, with the most famous being the JPS colours as used by Lotus for 15 years and the Marlboro livery as used by McLaren for over 20 years.

So, my love of F1 liveries design and sponsorship spotting lives on! So much so…

Back in 2016 I was over the moon to visit my brother who was working in Singapore and to find out that he had got us tickets to all three days of the Formula1 Singapore Grand Prix! This took place at the Marina Bay Street Circuit (a street race) and is one of the toughest for the drivers with a great deal of braking!

Such a great experience even getting to walk on the track and collect pebbles (when I say pebbles I mean the shreds of the tyres of the F1 cars)!!! Nico Rosberg won the 2016 Singapore Grand Prix. It was his 22nd Formula 1 victory and the 59th race Mercedes won. Daniel Ricciardo, who started 2nd, almost passed Rosberg in the last lap. The gap on the finish line was less than half a second. Lewis Hamilton scored a podium by finishing 3rd. He was under pressure from Kimi Raikkonen who was having a good race, and was only 2 seconds behind in the last lap.

Other than all that drama, the 2016 F1 in Singapore was known for a giant lizard on the track getting in Verstappen’s way. A Red Bull engineer asked Verstappen whether he had come “face to face with Godzilla”.

Also In 2018 I was lucky enough to get up close and personal with the beautiful 1993 Michael Schumacher Benetton B193 Historic F1 racing car.

Bring on the next set of automotive adventures…

If you have enjoyed this you can find out more about iconic livery on vehicles in this article here


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