F1 2021 Car Liveries - Rated

Well, there we go. With the 2021 Ferrari finally revealed, we now have an idea of what the grid will look like for the coming season. With plenty of bright colours, some new designs, some designs that are rather ‘same-y’, it will be a much different looking grid to last year. Some designs are absolutely beautiful and some… aren’t. I thought I would go through each livery and give it a rating out of 10.

McLaren MCL35M

The first 2021 car to be revealed was the MCL35M from McLaren, and it was unveiled in the famous McLaren papaya orange.

Whilst the car is mainly papaya, it has some nice blue highlights on the top of the engine cover, side pods and front wing. We have seen the papaya nicely paired with the blue for the last few seasons now, and although it’s a nice looking livery, if you compare the 2021 challenger with the 2020 car, the similarities are massive. They had a good opportunity to do something different this season as have switched from Renault to Mercedes power, reuniting the partnership last seen in 2014, but they have stuck with a slightly updated version of the 2020 livery, which is slightly underwhelming.

At the car launch, drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris were wearing nice looking orange and black team wear, leading to me thinking that there would be more black on the car than there actually is. Nevertheless, it is a nice looking car, and I hope that McLaren can pick up from where they left off in 2020!

Livery Rating: 6/10


AlphaTauri AT02

AlphaTauri became the second team to unveil their challenger for 2021. The AT02 has been revealed with the same colours as last year, with the deep blue and white, but with a nice and obvious.

With the target of being at the head of the midfield this year, the car has a different livery to last year, with the white and deep blue almost being switched around. The car is mainly the lovely deep blue we saw last year, with white running along the bottom and the white AlphaTauri logo on the engine cover. It’s finished off nicely with white wheel rims, and the livery designers have certainly done a very nice job with the 2021 challenger.

With Pierre Gasly and rookie Yuki Tsunoda at the wheel, the car has good potential to score regular points for the team and here’s hoping we see plenty of that livery on television!

Livery Rating: 7/10

Alfa Romeo C41

The third car arrived in the shape of the new Alfa Romeo C41, and what an arrival! It has stayed in the familiar Alfa colours of red and white, with the biggest change being the swap of the colours on the engine cover and side pods.

The red side pods and Alfa Romeo logo on the engine cover really stand out, and the white covering the nose and rest of the engine cover really works well. The black wheel rims top it off nicely, and in my opinion it is one of the prettiest cars we have seen for 2021. It’s a nice departure from the liveries of 2019 and 2020 which were fairly similar, and the C41 is still easily recognisable as an Alfa Romeo, but the changes freshen it up nicely.

Hopefully the beautiful looking 2021 challenger will provide Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi with plenty of chances to score some good points.

Livery Rating: 9/10

Red Bull RB16B

One of the most eagerly awaited cars on the grid was the fourth to break cover, with Red Bull unveiling the RB16B. To be honest, there’s not a lot to be said about this livery, as it’s what we have come to expect from Red Bull.

As usual, it has a matt dark blue livery, with the Red Bull logo on the engine cover and the traditional yellow nose cone. The main different this year is the removal of the Aston Martin logos and the addition of Telcel, Sergio Perez’s sponsor.

It is a nice looking livery, I’m not doubting that, but Red Bull have used some fantastic liveries in testing in the past. Remember the brilliant looking Camo-Bull from 2015? Or the blue & silver car from 2018? Or the one off camouflage livery that Red Bull used when they unveiled their first Honda powered car for 2019? They have even used special liveries for races, like the Wings for Life livery back in 2008, and the Star Wars livery back in 2005 at Monaco. They have had so many great special liveries in the past, so it’s a shame they always have to revert to their race livery. But, it is one of the most recognisable in F1 so it is to be expected.

Livery Rating: 5/10

Mercedes W12

The reigning champions revealed their 2021 challenger on 2nd March, and they have kept the largely black livery from 2020.

It was a nice looking car last year, and was a much welcome departure from the silver they have used since re entering the sport in 2010. It was for a good cause of course and it’s nice to see they have stayed with it. There is the now traditional bright stripe down the side and on the front wing and a nice touch of red on top of the engine cover and the inside of the front wing endplates.

The only issue I have with this car is the replacement of the Mercedes stars on the back of the engine cover with the AMG brand all over it. The black fades to white towards the back of the car, which isn’t too bad, but the AMG branding is too much. Having AMG on the car is expected of course, but I feel they have gone too far with the branding on the back of the car. It’s a shame, because other wise it would be a nice overall livery.

Livery Rating: 5/10

Alpine A521

Gone is the yellow and black of Renault. In its’ place steps the lovely blue of Alpine! Unveiled in the bright French Racing Blue, the Alpine A521 broke cover on the same day as Mercedes.

The new Alpine is easily one of the best looking cars on the grid. The blue switches to a white stripe and red towards the back of the car, representing the Tricolore of France. The black front and rear wings and the black running down the sides of the car are nice touches and really accent the livery well.

It’s great to see the Alpine name on the F1 grid and they have got off to a very good start with this livery! They have Esteban Ocon and the returning Fernando Alonso at the wheel this year and I cannot wait to see this car ‘in the flesh’ on track in Bahrain. If it’s as quick as it is beautiful, Alpine are in for a great season!

Livery Rating: 10/10

Aston Martin AMR21

Another one of the most hotly anticipated cars of 2021, the new Aston Martin was unveiled by Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel. An absolutely beautiful livery, utilising the much expected and anticipated British Racing Green.

It has been done very well indeed, with significant branding from new title sponsor Cognizant fitting in very well with the new livery. There is a pink stripe running down the side of the car and along the front wing from sponsor BWT, but that blends with the green quite well and doesn’t stick out too badly. It’s brilliant seeing the Aston Martin name in F1 and a full constructor and I can’t wait to see this car on track.

It is definitely one of the most beautiful cars on the grid, but the only thing I’m not 100% keen on is that pink stripe. I’ve seen pictures of the car where the pink stripe is replaced by an almost lime green colour and that does look better. I understand that the pink is because of BWT however, and I’m sure I’ll get used to it!

Livery Rating: 9/10

Haas VF21

Haas unveiled their car on 4th March to a very mixed response. Most of the responses I have seen are negative, and I agree with them.

The new Haas is definitely my least favourite looking car on the grid. You can tell that Haas are now largely funded by Russian business man Dmitri Mazepin, not only because his son, Nikita Mazepin is now one of Haas’ drivers for 2021 after finishing 5th in F2 in 2020, but also because Haas’ new title sponsor is Urakali, a fertiliser company part-owned by Dmitri. Further evidence is the fact that the predominantly white livery has stripes of blue and red to denote the Russian flag.

Haas pride themselves on being ‘Americas’ F1 Team’ yet there is no visible reference to America on the car. It is a large step away from the now traditional red and grey liveries we have seen from Haas since 2016 (apart from the ill-fated black and gold Rich Energy season in 2019), but at least the black and gold car looked nice. This looks quite amateur and poorly done, and it shows the power that the Mazepin family have over Haas right now, I think.

Livery Rating: 2/10

Williams FW43B

As a Williams fan, this was the livery I was most looking forward to. When I first saw the FW43B, I was a little underwhelmed, but it has seriously grown on me and I love it.

The new owners have paid tribute to the Williams dominance of the early 90s, with a dark blue and white livery with some nice yellow highlights towards the front of the car. They have succeeded in reminding people of the heritage and it strongly reminds me of the Canon liveried cars of the 1990s, like Nigel Mansell’s FW14B, but it does also remind me of an early 00s Sauber. Remember the Petronas liveried Saubers? I think the black halo would look better in white or blue to fit better with the livery, but it’s a nice design and I am looking forward to seeing it in action!

Overall, it’s a lovely looking car, and I do like the striped down the side and the white Williams logo on the engine cover, but the only thing I don’t like is the sudden change from blue to black towards the back of the car. Either keep it all blue or do a nicer transition, don’t just have a sudden stop. Hopefully the new car will be able to help get the team back towards the front of the grid. It’s a big year for the Grove team.

Livery rating: 8/10

Ferrari SF21

The last cover to break cover was Ferraris’ new SF21, which made it first appearance on 10th March. Unsurprisingly, it’s red! But they have gone for a slightly different take this year for what needs to be a big year for the Scuderia.

The usual red transitions to a lovely burgundy towards the back of the car and the matt livery works really well. There’s not exactly a lot that Ferrari can do with their liveries as they are of course known for having red cars. They have tried different things in recent years however, like in 2016 when the car had good looking white highlights, so it’s a shame they haven’t tried something like that. It would look better with more black I think, as a nod to their history.

The only issue I have with this car is th Mission Winnow logo. It has been on the Ferrari for a few years now, but for some reason they have put it in bright green on the engine cover. It sticks out like a sore thumb and really doesn’t go with the rest of the car. White would be much better I think, as it would brighten the car up whilst fitting with the red/burgundy better. Apart from that though, it’s a nice looking machine and hopefully Ferrari will be able to challenge at the front gain!

Livery Rating: 6/10

Well, that is a run down of all the liveries and some ratings for them all. As I said earlier, there are some beautiful liveries, and some not so beautiful. Some breathtaking and some really underwhelming. Whether you agree, or indeed disagree, let us know! We go live every Monday at 7:15pm on the F1 Fans Show and we would love to hear your opinions!

F1 Testing finally gets underway in Bahrain on March 12th, and I really cannot wait to see the cars lapping the track in anger.

Thanks for reading and as always, take care and stay safe!

Steve Thomson