Substance Over Style: F1 Teams Have Stripped Back Their Liveries Attempting to Save Weight

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Photo: Aston Martin F1 Team / Twitter
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A recent report indicates that Formula 1 teams have been forced to cut down on their liveries and remove paint from various sections of their cars in order to shave excess weight.
While F1’s minimum mass allowed has been increased this season from 752 kg (1,657 lbs) to 795 kg (1,752 lbs), most teams found it difficult to stay within legal parameters. For this reason, as well as to prevent an expensive weight-related arms race between teams, an agreement was reached for the minimum weight to be increased even further to 798 kg (1,759 lbs).

According to Motorsport, even this latest weight target has proven problematic for certain outfits, which is why they’ve been looking into cutting lose any excess weight, starting with the liveries. In fact, a close look at the grid during last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix showed various liveries with areas of paint missing (stripped all the way to the exposed carbon fiber).

Teams that have stripped back their liveries include McLaren and Aston Martin, with the former changing its airbox from orange to black, while the latter removed paint from specific areas on the sidepods.

"Weight is a big, big issue,” stated Aston Martin chief technical officer Andy Green. “These cars are heavy by regulation, and to get down to the regulation weight, it’s a challenge. We went through the whole car from front to back, and we took paint off wherever we could. I think in total we saved about 350 grams.”

While that may not sound like a lot, it is not insignificant either, in the grand scheme of things – 350 grams is roughly 0.77 lbs.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff believes his team and Red Bull are currently the two most overweight outfits on the grid.

“If I would make a best guess then probably Red Bull, ourselves, are from the top 10 cars, we’re probably the most overweight. And then there are some that are on the weight or just above it.”

Visually, since exposed carbon fiber can look pretty good as a contrasting element, we don’t necessarily mind teams stripping back their liveries. Sponsors might feel otherwise though.
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About the author: Sergiu Tudose
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Sergiu got to experience both American and European car "scenes" at an early age (his father drove a Ford Fiesta XR2 supermini in the 80s). After spending over 15 years at local and international auto publications, he's starting to appreciate comfort behind the wheel more than raw power and acceleration.
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