Renault considers F1 "Art Car" idea

Renault wants to push the limits of Formula 1 livery rules by unleashing bold new colour schemes this year, as it hints at pursuing something similar to BMW’s Art Car project.

Renault considers F1 "Art Car" idea
Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Sport F1 Managing Director
Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Sport F1 Managing Director, Kevin Magnussen, Renault Sport F1 Team, Jolyon Palmer, Renault Sport F1 Team and Ellie Jean Coffey
Renault F1 Team 2016 livery
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 W07
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MP4-31
1976 BMW Art Car by Frank Stella that raced at Le Mans
#79 BMW Motorsport BMW M3 Art Car
#79 BMW Motorsport BMW M3 Art Car
BMW Art Car presentation, Pompidou Center, Paris: the 17th BMW art car detail
BMW Art Car presentation, Pompidou Center, Paris: the 17th BMW art car
BMW Art Car presentation, Pompidou Center, Paris: the 17th BMW art car
BMW Art Car presentation, Pompidou Center, Paris: the 17th BMW art car detail

The French car manufacturer unveiled a new matte yellow and black livery at a team launch in Melbourne on Wednesday night.

And after declaring that its bold colours were a sign of a bigger push to do things differently in 2016, its F1 chief Cyril Abiteboul has revealed that it is evaluating some radical steps with the looks of its car over the season.

Speaking about the motivation for the new yellow livery, Abiteboul told Motorsport.com: "We want to create a little bit of a talking point and buzz, so expect to see that sort of thing to be played with.

"The car is a fantastic platform. It is a billboard and I am just surprised that people don't play more with it.

"I know that there are rules and you are not supposed to change too much – but we are going to push that. It is such an obvious and cheap thing to do when you want people to talk about it."

F1 cars are ugly

Abiteboul said that Renault felt it important to move away from the corporate grey and black colours that had been adopted by rival teams, as he suggested rivals were not making the most of opportunities.

"Frankly F1 cars are ugly," he said. "I am ashamed by what we are doing.

"And frankly some teams are doing even worse than the regulations are driving us to do from a performance perspective. So we wanted also to be just good looking."

When asked why he felt liveries were so dull now, Abiteboul said: "I think it is because everyone wants to tell a story about being premium. And if you want to be premium, the obvious thing to do is to be on the dark grey-ish side.

"Plus you have the teams that will obviously be dark grey or silver like Mercedes and McLaren. So that is already two. And there are a number of teams that want to do the same.

"So, I don't know why really people are not going a bit more bullish with their colours. It is like they want to disappear. We don't want to disappear, it is a statement and there is no hideaway. We will have to deal with what we do on track."

Art cars

Abiteboul suggested that tweaks to Renault's colours could come as early as the Bahrain Grand Prix, because the team was still working out how well the matte yellow it has chosen works on television and in images.

"It might happen as soon as race two because we are not 100% sure yet of the reaction and how it looks under different lights," he said. "Adjustment is something that we are allowed to think on. But we would want to do more.

"I am thinking one good example is the BMW Art Car. Everyone will remember BMW for their fantastic cars: It is a fantastic platform and I am amazed that no one is making better use of that. Small things; small details – but why not?"

The BMW Art Car project emerged in the 1970's when a French privateer commissioned an American artist to paint his car for Le Mans.

After that, there were 17 different designs, involving a number of contributors including Andy Warhol.

Limiting rules

However, Abiteboul is well aware that regulations are in place that limit teams from making too many changes to their cars.

F1's rules are clear that any team that wishes to make big changes to the colours of its car must get approval from rival teams and the sport's bosses.

Article 9 of F1's Sporting Regulations says: "Both cars entered by a competitor must be presented in substantially the same livery at each Event, any change to this livery during a Championship season may only be made with the agreement of the Formula One Commission."

Abiteboul said: "If Bernie allows us to do it, because I believe it is not completely allowed, that is the sort of thing we want to be pushing.

"We don't want to be bad guys in F1, but we want to be able to push a little the envelope of what is usually done by the system."

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