The F1 field of 2016

Which team has the best-looking car for 2016?

2016 F1 season previewPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Now we’ve finally glimpsed the full field of 2016 in their definitive race liveries it’s time for the least-important and most-fun poll of the year: who’s got the best-looking car?

Mercedes W07

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016

Kitted out in a slightly darker livery than last year, this is the car which may well crush the opposition for the third year in a row. In testing the car sported a revised nose and some funky slotted bargeboards as Mercedes continue to refine their design.

Ferrari SF16-H

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016

Ferrari has plumped for the short-nose look for its new car and further back the tightly-wrapped bodyworked reveals how hard this team is pushing to narrow the gap to Mercedes. The white cockpit surround and engine cover adds a retro flourish to the SF16-H’s livery evoking memories of their Niki Lauda-era championship-winners.

Williams FW38

Valtteri Bottas, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016
Valtteri Bottas, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016

One of the toughest cars to distinguish from its immediate predecessors. But when you’re punching well above your weight and sporting those smart red-and-white lines (except in Abu Dhabi), why mess with a winning formula?

Red Bull RB12

Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016
Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016

Red Bull held a special launch event to show off its sleek new matte livery. It’s a timely refresh for the team whose previous Renault and Infinite branding is now found elsewhere.

Force India VJM09

Sergio Perez, Force India, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016
Sergio Perez, Force India, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016

Another tough game of spot-the-difference, though Force India’s novel nose makes the VJM09 stand out from the crowd, if not its predecessor.

Renault RS16

Renault RS16 livery, 2016
Renault RS16 livery, 2016

Renault has gone back to its traditional corporate colour scheme for 2016 having replaced the black livery it used during testing.

Toro Rosso STR11

Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016
Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016

Having lost a few sponsors over the winter Toro Rosso’s car has gone back to its 2011 look. There’s some impressively detailed aerodynamic work on the STR11 as well, however.

Sauber C35

Felipe Nasr, Sauber, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016
Felipe Nasr, Sauber, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016

Looking like a well-honed version of last year’s car, Sauber have also added a few new stickers to the C35.

McLaren MP4-31

Jenson Button, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016
Jenson Button, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016

McLaren overhauled their livery early last year and carried much of it through to the new season, adding extra-large numbers at the front.

Manor MRT05

Rio Haryanto, Manor, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016
Rio Haryanto, Manor, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016

Manor has also refreshed its look in the off season. The team’s new logo is replicated on the nose tip of the MRT05.

Haas VF-16

Esteban Gutierrez, Haas, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016
Esteban Gutierrez, Haas, Circuit de Catalunya, 2016

The rumours Haas would paint their car bright yellow proved well wide of the mark. The new team’s grey, black and red colour scheme stays faithful to their corporate colours.

I say

In a field that’s crying out for a splash more colour I was disappointed to see F1’s newest team chose to apply dull corporate grey to their blank canvas. The Haas colour scheme is a missed opportunity: a dull branding exercise when they could have created something new and exciting.

The reworked Ferrari livery is very busy but just about works and I like Manor’s more colourful design. Red Bull have a smart new look although distinguishing it from the Toro Rosso may prove tricky at times.

The same can’t be said of my favourite livery this year: Renault’s striking yellow RS16. In its previous incarnation Renault had an awkward compromise livery for many years and succeeded it with the ING monstrosity of 2007-09. Pleasingly, the proper Renault colours are back.



You say

Which team has the best-looking car of 2016?

  • Mercedes: W07 (9%)
  • Ferrari: SF16-H (10%)
  • Williams: FW38 (5%)
  • Red Bull: RB12 (15%)
  • Force India: VJM09 (5%)
  • Renault: RS16 (33%)
  • Toro Rosso: STR11 (4%)
  • Sauber: C35 (0%)
  • McLaren: MP4-31 (3%)
  • Manor: MRT05 (14%)
  • Haas: VF-16 (2%)

Total Voters: 544

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Previous winners

2015: Ferrari SF-15T

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Albert Park, 2015
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Albert Park, 2015

2014: Williams FW36

Valtteri Bottas, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2014
Valtteri Bottas, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2014

2013: Sauber C32

Nico Hulkenberg, Sauber, Melbourne, 2013
Nico Hulkenberg, Sauber, Melbourne, 2013

2012: McLaren MP4-27

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Melbourne, 2012
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Melbourne, 2012

2011: McLaren MP4-26

Jenson Button, McLaren, Melbourne, 2011
Jenson Button, McLaren, Melbourne, 2011

2010: McLaren MP4-25

Jenson Button, McLaren, Sepang, 2010
Jenson Button, McLaren, Sepang, 2010