Think the new livery from the Red Bull is a bit of a miss-steak? I have been ruminating and maybe you have herd of these inventive paint schemes from the Austrian team? I hope you don’t have beef that I have milked the bovine related puns… I might get slaughtered by the Judge for this…
Anyway, in all seriousness, let me steer you in the direction of these stunning examples…
Star Wars – Monaco, 2005
Red Bull love a themed party and in 2005 ahead of the release of Revenge of the Sith, the sixth (or third, depending on your take) in the Star Wars franchise, they went all out. The livery was pimped with flames and Star Wars logos on the sidepods and wings, with Darth Vader’s mask emblazoned on the nose. It was every geek’s dream, but the icing on the cake lay in the peripheral changes.
The whole pit crew were decked out in Clone trooper outfits that made the pitstops absolutely magical to watch. The lollipop was even replaced with a lightsaber. Many of the film’s characters including Lord Vader, C-3P0, R2-D2 and the lovable (yet arm-wrenchingly scary) Chewbacca also made appearances in the paddock, entertaining the invited guests.
Unfortunately, the force was not strong with the team in terms of on track performance, with a fruitless double retirement the result. A few team members are reported to have “disappeared” after being summoned into the Red Bull hospitality unit for a meeting with Darth Mateschitz…
Superman – Monaco, 2006
After the success of the tie-up with George Lucas the previous year, the ‘Bulls were at it again in Monte Carlo in 2006, this time with Superman. The car sported a six-pack set of abs on the nose section and a flowing cape graphic over the back. The mock race suits were light blue with the iconic S diamond logo on the chest, and of course the classic red cape. DC even had iconic chiselled features to match the hero of the movie. Shame they didn’t complete the look with their underpants on the outside…
Christian Horner made a bet that if either of his drivers made the podium he would jump into the harbour, naked. Crucially though he forgot to put a stick of cryptonite in the cockpit and DC pulled off an incredible third position, seemingly having inherited superpowers from his new persona. This was the first podium ever for the Red Bull Racing team and the overjoyed team principle was (sort-of) true to his word as he plunged into the Red Bull hospitality swimming pool, only sporting the billowing superman cape.
I’d love to say that this magnificent spectacle ignited Geri Halliwell’s passion for the super-stud, but they didn’t officially get together until 2009 so I can’t confirm that it did!
Camo Bull – Winter testing, 2015
One of the most beloved liveries of recent times was run by Red Bull last year during testing. The “camo-bull” was an extension of one (of the many) of Sebastian Vettel’s helmet designs from the previous year, with the added bonus of making it harder to take photographs and stealing the secrets of the last of Adrian Newey’s designs. The idea was first used by the British and United States Navy in World War 1, who camouflaged their ships in black and white stripes to bamboozle the enemy.
Wings for Life, 2007, 2008 and 2012
Red Bull sponsor many athletes from a wide range of extreme sports, including two time motocross World Champion Heinz Kinigadner. Unfortunately his son was involved in a tragic accident in 2003, the resulting spinal injury left him tetraplegic.
Kinigadner and Deitrich Mateschitz moved heaven and earth to help him, bringing together some of the world experts in the field of neuroscience. To raise money for the development of new techniques and funding for ground-breaking research, they set up the Wings for Life foundation.
The Red Bull Racing team pushed the charity’s cause into the spotlight by running three special liveries. The first was in 2007 at Silverstone where the car was covered in tiny photos of supporters who had contributed to the charity.
David Coulthard took the plight of the charity to heart and for his final Grand Prix in 2008 his car was painted entirely in white, with large Wings logos all over the car. The exposure for the charity was maximised as images of the car were beamed across the globe… Unfortunately for DC this was because it was smashed into pieces as he ended his career in a spectacular first corner accident.
The third charity livery was four years later, also at Silverstone. The team ran the same basic idea the first time where supporters could upload their photo, but in this case the pictures had a colour mask applied so that the car appeared it’s normal hue from a distance.
As an aside note, Ferrari had also tried this scheme with their UBS logo, but one ingenious punter had decided to not use their own visage for the photo, but an image of the popular internet character “Dick Butt”. The phallic image had managed to put in some laps through free practice before the powers at Ferrari finally noticed and removed it.
Matte Finish – 2016
I personally like the new Red Bull colour scheme, it has quite a simple retro feel to it and the matte finish will almost certainly be unique on the grid this year. We’ll see just how good it looks in the bright sunshine of Barcelona next week.