The future’s bright, but the past is orange in F1. Though if rumours are to be believed McLaren may just be bringing orange back into the future with the MP4-32.

While we wait on the news of McLaren’s updated livery, here are ten other F1 cars that got the ‘tango’ treatment.

McLaren MP4-21

De La Rosa in the MP4-21 – Photo from Getty Images

With the departure of cigarette sponsor West in mid-2005, owed to the tobacco sponsorship ban, McLaren took the opportunity to revive their popular orange testing livery from 1997.

The beautiful interim livery gave the team time to perfect the incoming chrome paint. We kind of wish they had stuck with the orange though, you’d certainly never miss this car in traffic!

Arrows A22

Jos Verstappen powers round Monaco in the A22 – Photo from Getty Images

Arrows began to incorporate more orange into their livery with the arrival of Repsol in 1999. The following year they went one step further and brought in phone company Orange. The result was a simple yet incredibly effective colour palette of orange and black.

It instantly went down as a modern classic. It’s just a shame the cars were mired in the midfield more often than not, as the livery vanished from F1 when Arrows quit the sport rather dramatically in mid-2002.

Spyker F8-VII

Markus Winklehock in his Spyker during the 2007 European Grand Prix – Photo from Getty Images

Spyker bought the fledgling Midland F1 team in late 2006 and their early orange liveries were so incredibly bright that they failed to show up on TV particularly well. This resulted in a rethink for 2007 and in came a metallic hue with dark grey accents.

This team shot to prominence during the European Grand Prix after Markus Winklehock, in his first, and so far only, Grand Prix went from last to first within a few laps thanks to a downpour of biblical proportions. The race was red flagged when Winklehock had an enormous 33-second lead.

The team had pitted him onto wet tyres at the end of the formation lap, getting the drop on the rest of the field. Sadly Winklehock retired from the race with hydraulic issues after dropping down the field like a stone as soon as the race re-started.

Force India VJM05

Paul di Resta (GBR) Sahara Force India VJM05.
German Grand Prix, Saturday 21st July 2012. Hockenheim, Germany. – Photo from Force India Media

From Spyker rose Force India. The team opted to drop the orange in 2008, but it wasn’t long before the colour made a comeback. For 2009 the team adopted a livery inspired by the colours of the Indian flag – white was most prominent, but gradually more orange creeped in. By 2012 the entire nosecone and most of the engine cover were orange.

They’ve since cut back on their Vitamin C, as today it’s merely a backing dancer rather than the lead singer. Some called the 2012 livery garish but here at BadgerGP we loved how it always stood out in a rather dull crowd.

EuroBrun ER189

The EuroBrun in 1989 – Photo from Getty Images

It’s likely not many people can remember the EuroBrun from 1989. The car was hopelessly slow and somehow managed to fail to qualify for ever race it entered that year.

It’s one saving grace was the Jagermeister sponsorship that came with Swiss driver Gregor Foitek. At least the car looked quick…

March 751

Vittorio Brambilla leads in his March-Cosworth 751, Austrian Grand Prix, Zeltweg, 1975, Austria, Zeltweg, 17 August 1975. (Photo by Rainer W. Schlegelmilch/Getty Images)

The car that won perhaps the biggest shock victory the sport had seen until Monaco 1996. Vittorio Brambilla was not a name you’d normally associate with victory despite his character being as bright as his car.

However in the 1975 Austrian Grand Prix he won in style, then promptly crashed his orange Beta March. The image of Brambilla thrusting his fit into the air in celebration with the front nosecone hanging off his wounded March is iconic.

He would also carry a virtually identical livery with him to Surtees in 1977.

 McLaren M7C

Bruce McLaren in the M7C named after him, German GP 1969. – Photo from Getty Images Archive

The original orange F1 car. McLaren were founded by Kiwi Bruce McLaren in 1963, and the team chose a yellowy-orange to be it’s base colour in 1968 and would run it through to the 1972 season.

The team would also use the colour scheme in other series such as Can-Am and IndyCar. It was revived by the team in 1997 as part of a testing livery prior to the unveiling of their new West scheme the same winter.

Arrows A3/A3B

Ricardo Patrese in his Arrows in 1981. – Photo from Getty Images Archive

Just like McLaren, Arrows used orange liveries twice in their history. The first time was in 1981 when the team were sponsored by Beta tools.

Driven by Ricardo Patrese, the car had mixed success. The Italian managed two podiums in the first four races of 1981 with his orange powerhouse. However, that was as good as it got, and the Italian went pointless for the remainder of the season.

The team continued with their orange theme for 1982 before ditching it in favour of white and red for 1983. It would make a popular comeback in the late 1990s.

Ensign N174

Vern Schuppan pilots his Ensign during 1974. – Photo Getty Images Archive

Confusingy sponsored by Theodore Racing, Ensign raced with orange colours during the 1974 F1 season. The car was driven by Australian Vern Schuppan and results were non-existent.

Schuppan would finish just one race all year; 15th in Belgium. He also recorded two disqualifications on the trot, as well as failing to qualify for the French and British Grand Prix.

AGS JH23

The AGS JH23 in 1988. – Photo from Getty Images Archive

Likely to be the least well remembered of the orange cars on this list. The AGS JH23 was driven by Philippe Streiff with little reward.

The best result for the Frenchman was an 8th place in the Japanese Grand Prix. Despite the poor showing the car was very pretty to watch in action, its orange accents on a black base very similar to the Arrows cars of the early 2000s.


So what is your favourite orange F1 car? Let us know on Twitter (@BadgerGP).

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