McLaren will drive a one-off livery in the colors of the Gulf Oil Company at the Monaco Grand Prix this coming weekend.
Gulf’s iconic blue and orange color scheme has been seen on a number of racing cars in the past – including the McLaren F1 GTR, which finished second in the 1997 Le Mans 24 Hours – but has never been in Formula 1 before hazards.
McLaren was motivated to push the one-off color scheme after a number of fans sent model designs to the team following the announcement of Gulf’s partnership agreement last year.
The two companies worked together in Can-Am and F1 in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and eager to build on their historic ties.
“It became pretty obvious that we should be doing something like this,” McLaren CEO Zak Brown said last week at a launch event with select media outlets.
“You all know how iconic the golf livery is, so we hired our teams to come up with a design that captures something very special, and I think they did it.
“At this point we only intend to run it in Monaco. I think if you want a special paint job you have to keep it special.
“It’s something that isn’t done that often in Formula 1 – sometimes there are variations on the paint job here or there with a little finesse – so I’m pretty proud of the opportunity Gulf has given us as McLaren Try to to continue to play a pioneering role through innovations so that we can deal with the fans of the sport. “
The golf rebranding will span McLaren’s garage, hospitality, teamwear and driver racing suits, while Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris both offer retro helmet designs that will later be raffled off to raise funds for Mind’s mental health charity.
“Of course I love it – it’s cool,” Ricciardo said when asked for his thoughts on design.
“I didn’t need another reason to be excited about Monaco, so I have to control myself and save some energy for the next week.
“As long as you’re looking good, that’s the first box you need to tick, and we definitely will, so I’m really excited.”
Norris added, “Look at it, it’s beautiful. I think everyone can agree that it will be by far the best looking car on the grid.
“And I said to Zak, it’s even better than our current paint job … but he didn’t sound that convinced!
“It’s great, it’s a cool opportunity for both of us and especially for Monaco. I think it brings it all together, it’s pretty unique.”
McLaren had to be deregistered from Formula 1 and the sports association, the FIA, to change its paint job.
“It requires FIA and Formula 1 approval, so submit your design and rationale and everyone loved and approved it,” Brown said.
“In the past, teams had to vote and governance has changed.
“Fortunately, it was a simple FIA and F1 permit.”
After several decades of success as a sponsor with various racing teams, Gulf was the first oil company to brand its racing colors in 2004.
Probably the most famous paintwork of the oil company drove at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the Golf sponsored Ford GT40 winning the race in 1968 and 1969 and the Porsche 917 with Golf livery, which also drove at Le Mans, starred in the film Steve McQueen . Le Mans, from 1971.
“As a company, we get many, many requests from racing teams to use the paint, but it’s actually a very special iconic color so we only want to use it on specific teams,” said Golf CEO Mike Jones.
“When it came to working with McLaren, the McLaren design team really came up with some ideas and we left that to these guys because if these cars are going at this rate we still want to keep the golf race blue and orange.
“Above all, it looks absolutely stunning and you can imagine that the beautiful weather in Monaco and the car driving around will really be an outstanding piece.”
McLaren’s new paint job will hit the track for the first time during Thursday’s practice on Thursday May 20, and will remain on the car for Qualifying Day and Race Day May 22-23.