Black Friday is back.
Yes, it’s that annoying American shopping tradition that signals the end of Thanksgiving and the start of
rampant commercialism unnecessary capitalism the holiday season, and for some reason, it’s now firmly part of the culture over here.
People storm into shops to get the bargains they have convinced themselves they need, like, 40% off a waffle iron, or a half-priced lamp that looks like a pug.
We’re not going to discourage you from making such purchases; they’ll definitely come in handy. Nor are we trying to flog you any F1-themed products – Leave that to Paul Oz and Memento exlcusives!
Simply, we took the dark hue from the name, and spun it into some sort of tenuous link about obsidian-coloured racing machines.
Here’s our top black F1 cars!
Shadow DN3 (1974-75)
The Shadow F1 Team was one of America’s many short-lived F1 projects, in that the team held an American license for their first three seasons before switching to Britain in 1976. In any case, the team enjoyed moderate success in the 1970s with a handful of podiums and a solitary win for Alan Jones at the Oesterreichring in ’77.
Tom Pryce was also on the payroll, and had driven with the team until his death in Kyalami, earlier that year.
Wolf WR1 (1977)
Walter Wolf Racing, often known simply as ‘Wolf’, was a black-coloured team run by a Canadian businessman who served as the namesake of the team.
The outfit didn’t last long, only competing between 1977 and 1979. Despite this brief tenure the team won three Grand Prix in their debut season – including the season opener in Argentina – with future champion Jody Scheckter at the wheel.
Along with Brawn GP in 2009, they are the only team to have won the very first race they entered. Scheckter departed after two years to go and win the title with Ferrari, but his successors for 1979 were hardly Sunday drivers; James Hunt who had won the title three years prior, and Keke Rosberg who would turn out to be triumphant in 1982.
Today’s Lotus cars don’t look half bad, but they’re really a nod to the classic Colin Chapman machines of the 70s and 80s with John Player Special logos and gold detailing.
There really are too many to choose from. It wouldn’t be fair to pick on Lotus over another, so we’ve whittled it down to a few of the best.
Lotus 79 (1978-79)
The Lotus 79 was one of the first F1 cars with full-on ground effect aerodynamics, and it took Mario Andretti to World Championship success back in 1978, when he won five races, with super Swede Ronnie Peterson also notching a victory.
Lotus 95T (1984)
The outrageously pretty bodywork of the 95T was able to get Elio de Angelis up to third in the drivers table, albeit country miles off the McLaren-TAG cars of Niki Lauda and Alain Prost.
Looks are more important though, right?
Lotus 98T (1986)
When I think of Lotus, I think of ‘JPS black and gold’. And when I think of that, I automatically think of the image of the 98T with it’s high, straight-sided cockpit, with Senna’s yellow crash helmet peering out.
To me, this car – along with Senna and Nigel Mansell going wheel to wheel in 1991 – is Formula 1. It’s the quintessential image in my brain for what speed, passion and (for lack of a better word) awesomeness look like. It’s quite simply gorgeous.
Andrea Moda S921 (1992)
The ill-fated Formula 1 team that never actually turned a wheel in anger; Andrea Moda was the brainchild of fashion designer and team namesake Andrea Moda. However in a bid to be in the sport but not have to pay loads of money, the team would often deliberately not pre-qualify.
The team was simply awful, only ever entering the Monaco Grand Prix, from which they quite fittingly retired. However, the team did give a bit of early exposure to the original Stig from Top Gear, Perry McCarthy.
And the paint job?
Sauber C19 (1993)
Sauber’s first year in F1 went fairly well. Wendlinger and Lehto managed a few points here and there, and with Mercedes power on board, the team had reliable power.
Also, the car was a bit of a looker.
Arrows A17 (1998)
Show me an Arrows car with a bad livery. I dare you. Give up? Smart move.
Before the orange hues of the eponymous phone company went and bathed the 2000-2002 Arrows cars in an auburn glow, Arrows had a few crises of identity in the 1990s.
The forgettable Footwork cars from 1995 and 1996 were nothing to write home about (unless you’re Taki Inoue), but Damon Hill’s handsome white, blue and red machine from 1997 was one of the best of the bunch.
Even better than that was the 1998 challenger, clad in a charcoal skin.
Minardi PS02 (2002)
Minardi, much like Arrows, went through several different colours during their time in the sport, mostly due to advertising partnerships. Marc Gené’s time with the team in 2000 meant that Spanish communications giant Telefonica were on board to make the car a vibrant yellow and blue canvas, but when Paul Stoddart merged his European F3 team with the struggling Italian outfit, the official colour was black.
And black the cars remained. From 2001 until their final season in 2005, the back of the grid was instantly recogniseable by the dark silhouettes of the Minardis, nicely framed against the brilliant yellow Jordans.
Virgin VR01 (2010)
Virgin’s name was short-lived in F1. In fact, the more of the team was bought by Marussia, the redder the car became, culminating in the transition from black with bits of red in 2010 to vice versa by 2014.
Nowadays, there’s no black on Manor’s whatsoever, so we’ve gone for the very first iteration of the team, the VR01. Cosworth powered and aerodynamically-challenged she may have been, but it looks great.
Lotus E20 (2012)
Since the older Lotus cars are so much more striking to look at, I really had to whittle down the modern cars to just one choice, so… it’s the Kimi car!
This car carries a special double-meaning to me, because it’s the one that brought Raikkonen back to the sport. He may be over the hill and struggling to keep up with Sebastian Vettel now, but back when his return was announced on December 1 2011 (yeah, I remember where I was) it tied the car’s image together with the return of one of the sport’s most exciting drivers.
Though it had one of 2012’s many ghastly step-noses, it kind of worked, and the red Total accents work nicely with the black and gold.
McLaren MP4-30 (2015)
Aaand finally, it’s McLaren’s 2015 challenger. According to McLaren’s PR spin doctors, the colour is down as ‘predatory graphite grey’, with flashes of dayglow red here and there. In the same way, they’ve described the Honda power unit for 2015 as ‘developmental’.
Come on guys. It’s black. And the engine? I won’t go there…
Perhaps the renamed colour was to distract viewers from the fact that the first iteration of this car’s livery was exactly the same as every McLaren livery except 2014, or the fact that it doesn’t have any sponsors.
In either case, I think the car actually looks quite dashing.
Oh, and if you are actually brave/mad enough to venture out into the Black Friday sales, good luck!