McLaren’s vehicles, drivers and staff will sport a retro look for the return of Formula One’s Monaco Grand Prix this week with a particular one-off livery in the colors of sponsor Gulf Oil International.
The mixture of orange stripe and powder blue has a specific resonance for motorsport followers, with Hollywood actor Steve McQueen famously racing a Gulf-liveried Porsche 917 in the 1971 film ‘Le Mans’.
The Gulf reference to McLaren dates again to 1968 and the staff’s late founder Bruce McLaren.
“It’s cool. I didn’t need another reason to get excited for Monaco so I’ve got to control myself, save some energy for next weekend,” stated Australian Daniel Ricciardo, a winner in the principality with Red Bull in 2018.
British teammate Lando Norris instructed reporters after a presentation at McLaren’s outdated Albert Drive manufacturing facility that the automotive, normally decked out in papaya and a darker blue, can be the best-looking on the grid.
“I said to (McLaren Racing CEO) Zak (Brown) it was even better than our current livery but he didn’t sound so convinced by that,” stated the 21-year-old, whose helmet design will likely be “old school, a bit of a throwback”.
Monaco, a glamorous spotlight of the season since the Nineteen Fifties, was not held final year on account of Covid-19 and will likely be the championship’s first road race since 2019.
“At this point we only intend to run it at Monaco. I think if you’re going to have a special livery you need to keep it special,” Brown stated of the paint job that will even function on merchandise.
“We don’t want to confuse the fans and kind of lose our identity.
“But at the similar time I feel to do one thing a few occasions a year that’s particular creates some pleasure and a few further engagement with the followers.”
The team will be wary of what happened to Mercedes in 2019 when the champions celebrated their 125th year in motorsport with a retro livery and dressed team members in period costume.
The weekend at Hockenheim turned into a nightmare, with team boss Toto Wolff saying afterwards they would not be “making every other massive splashes in future”.
Brown, whose team are holding off Ferrari for third in the championship after four races, had no such concerns.
“When these guys put their helmets on, they’re going to overlook what the racecar appears to be like like aside from a steering wheel and two tyres in entrance of them,” said the American. “I’m not fearful in any respect.”