In a few hours time we will know if the Formula One grid for 2016 finally has an injection of colour! The Mercedes, Honda and Renault are all Fifty Shades of Grey (but far less titillating), even the Scuderia have diluted their iconic Rosso Corsa with a white air box. I might as well do away with the cone cells in my eyes and see in black and white forever more.
But there is hope… with the expected release of a yellow Haas F1 car later today. They take on North America’s first serious assault on the World Championship since the failed US F1 bid back in 2010. They will become the first American team to start a Grand Prix since the similarly named but totally unrelated Haas-Lola team who competed in 1985 and 1986. Carl Haas’s team best result was with Alan Jones taking fourth position in the 1986 Austrian Grand Prix. This time round Gene Haas, along with significant technical backing from Ferrari, are looking to bring home even better results for the USA.
There have been many iconic yellow Formula One cars, including Senna’s Camel Lotus and the most of the works Renault cars, but there is one team above all others that will forever be adored for it’s yellow liveries. Whether you enjoy Eddie Jordan’s style of punditry or not, he ran one of the most liked teams on the F1 grid back in the nineties and noughties. Jordan ran in yellow from 1997 through to 2005, with some pretty memorable themes.
1997 – Bitten Hisses
To replace the Benson and Hedges cigarette advertising at the European races, Jordan invented B&H characters to provide a subtle reminder to the watching public. The first of these was the Bitten Hisses snake adorning the nose of the car, with it’s tongue flicking down the side towards the driver. The cars looked exciting and mean, something that is missing in today’s car design. They were driven by two young hotshots Ralf Schumacher and Giancarlo Fisichella. When they weren’t crashing into each other they were able to pick up good points and a couple of podium positions.
1998-2000 – Buzzin’ Hornets
The next character invented by Jordan was the Buzzin Hornet wasp, with the black and yellow stripes extending the theme all over the car. Attracting Mugen-Honda engines and world champion Damon Hill to the team was very promising, but initial poor reliability and a competitive midfield meant points positions were fleeting.
The second half of the season was different, despite quite a modest budget developments brought on track results, with points at nearly every race. The chaotic Belgian Grand Prix was a dream for Jordan, bringing the team’s first win and a 1-2 finish headed by Damon Hill.
The team carried the Hornet for another two seasons, taking a further two wins with Heinz-Harald Frentzen in 1999. This was the peak for the Jordan team with Frentzen and the team finishing third in the championship.
2001 – Bitten Heroes
The wasp was retired in favour of an aggressive looking shark nose, with a huge mouth and sharp white teeth. Unfortunately the shark was not as competitive as the wasp and the team was unable to reach the lofty heights of the previous year. New recruit Jarno Trulli was running well in Monaco and was looking good for the victory until his Honda engine failed (sounds familiar?)
I really hope that Haas pull out a great livery from the bag, they need to capture the imagination of the American public and that won’t be done with yet another dull colour scheme. Unfortunately all of their pre-launch publicity has been grey, red and black (like their current nascar team). For the sake of my cones, please make it yellow.