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Gallery: Top testing-only Formula 1 liveries

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Gallery: Top testing-only Formula 1 liveries
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Translated by: Rachit Thukral
Mar 3, 2018, 7:31 AM

Formula 1 teams often ran unique one-off testing liveries before, but this tradition has almost died in recent years. Here are some of the best testing-only liveries from the last three decades.

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Jordan 1991

Jordan 1991
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Photo by: Sutton Images

Ahead of its first year in Formula 1, Jordan ran an all-black livery in testing, with golden sponsor logos.

Jordan 1991

Jordan 1991
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Photo by: Sutton Images

Of course, the team would go on to adopt the iconic 7UP green and blue livery.

McLaren 1997

McLaren 1997
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Photo by: Sutton Images

McLaren ran its traditional papaya orange colour on its 1997 test car.

McLaren 1997

McLaren 1997
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Photo by: Motorsport Images

But when the season started, the team reverted to its black-and-white livery - part of its deal with title sponsor and cigarette maker West.

Ferrari 1998

Ferrari 1998
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Photo by: Sutton Images

During the December of 1997, Michael Schumacher tested next year's Ferrari, which was clad in black and bereft of sponsor logos.

Ferrari 1998

Ferrari 1998
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Photo by: Motorsport Images

Needless to say, the Ferrari raced in 1998 was painted red, with a touch of white on the rear wing

BMW 1999

BMW 1999
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Photo by: BMW AG

Ahead of its debut in Formula 1, BMW tested out its engine in a 1998-spec Williams. The car was painted in white colour, with pink and blue stripes adding to a simple, yet clever design.

BMW 1999

BMW 1999
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Photo by: Motorsport Images

For further tests in 1999, BMW went for a blue-and-white livery, with former being the predominant colour on the car.

BMW 2000

BMW 2000
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Photo by: Sutton Images

Blue and white remained the colour of choice for BMW when it debuted in F1 in 2002 in partnership with Williams, however, the livery was significantly different to what appeared in the test sessions.

Toyota 2001

Toyota 2001
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Photo by: Sutton Images

Toyota made it clear from the very beginning that they would race with a red-and-white colour scheme, as evident from the testing livery used in 2001.

Toyota 2002

Toyota 2002
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Photo by: Sutton Images

The race livery, when revealed, was much better than the one used in testing, despite using the same two colours.

Prost 2001

Prost 2001
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Photo by: Sutton Images

Alain Prost's F1 team completed the 2001 pre-season tests in an all-blue colour scheme.

Prost 2001

Prost 2001
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Photo by: Sutton Images

The livery was virtually unchanged when the season began, save for reddish sidepods and the addition of sponsor stickers.

Renault 2002

Renault 2002
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Photo by: Sutton Images

The Renault R202 was painted in yellow and white for the 2002 pre-season testing season. The combination of those colours wouldn't be seen on Renault's race cars again until 2007.

Renault 2002

Renault 2002
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Photo by: Sutton Images

Renault's test livery was largely forgotten when the French manufacturer rolled down the race trim. Primary sponsor Mild Seven's blue shade complimented the corporate yellow of Renault, making the livery one of the best of the decade.

Sauber 2003

Sauber 2003
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Photo by: Sutton Images

Sauber's 2002 testing livery was fairly straightforward - a mostly metallic blue design with a white nose cone and some touches of yellow and green.

Sauber 2003

Sauber 2003
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Photo by: Sutton Images

Fortunately, Sauber didn't decide to race with the test livery as what they came up with later was far superior. While metallic blue remained the primary shade, the increased use of green for sponsor Petronas gave it a more colourful look.

Jordan 2003

Jordan 2003
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Photo by: Sutton Images

The 2003 Jordan was tested without any paint or stickers on - and surprisingly the carbon fibre feel made it quite a looker.

Jordan 2003

Jordan 2003
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Photo by: Sutton Images

But once the season started, the team returned to its traditional yellow colour scheme, with black paint on both front and rear wing.

Minardi 2003

Minardi 2003
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Photo by: Sutton Images

Minardi also ran an all-black testing livery in 2003, albeit one with some sponsorship stickers.

Minardi 2003

Minardi 2003
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Photo by: Sutton Images

Black was reduced to the secondary colour when the actual race livery broke cover, with white becoming the primary shade. There were some red stripes for added touch.

Honda 2004

Honda 2004
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Photo by: Sutton Images

Honda, too, ran a black livery in testing but with all sponsor stickers on. As such, it looked rather different from some of the previous all-black liveries we've seen.

Honda 2004

Honda 2004
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Photo by: Sutton Images

The 2004 Honda race car used a range of colours, including white, red, grey and black.

Red Bull 2004

Red Bull 2004
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Photo by: Sutton Images

When Red Bull announced that it would enter F1 as a full-blown constructor, it turned up in testing with a car painted like a Red Bull energy drink can.

Red Bull 2005

Red Bull 2005
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Photo by: Sutton Images

The race livery, however, was significantly different, with a new shade of blue becoming the primarily colour and grey used on a limited scale.

McLaren 2006

McLaren 2006
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Photo by: Sutton Images

McLaren's papaya orange colour returned after nearly a decade in the 2006 test car.

McLaren 2006

McLaren 2006
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Photo by: McLaren

The race livery was a departure from the one used in the previous two years. Silver became the primary colour, black stayed on and red was the new addition.

Jordam 2005

Jordam 2005
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Photo by: Sutton Images

Jordan ran a bare yellow and black livery during the pre-season of 2005, the last year of its F1 stint.

BMW 2006

BMW 2006
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Photo by: Sutton Images

BMW again used a white testing livery when it ended its partnership with Williams and took over the Sauber team instead.

BMW 2006

BMW 2006
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Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

White remained as the main colour on the race livery, but the shiny blue shade really set the car apart from the rest of the field.

Williams 2006

Williams 2006
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Photo by: Sutton Images

A car painted entirely in one car does look spectacular - as the Williams 2006 test car attests. Painted in metallic blue and completed with white sponsorship stickers, the test livery of FW28 was indeed quite a looker.

Williams 2006

Williams 2006
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Photo by: Sutton Images

Williams found a way to fuse metallic blue with white when it unveiled its race livery.

Ferrari 2006

Ferrari 2006
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Photo by: Sutton Images

Michael Schumacher briefly tested a sponsor-free Ferrari in 2006; the car primarily clad in company's famous red shade, but with a white front wing and a black rear wing.

Ferrari 2006

Ferrari 2006
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Photo by: Sutton Images

Ferrari, however, turned up to the official tests with its familiar colour scheme - and all sponsor stickers on.

Super Aguri 2006

Super Aguri 2006
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Photo by: Sutton Images

An almost all-white car with black rear wing - that's the colour scheme Super Aguri adopted for 2006 pre-season tests.

Super Aguri 2006

Super Aguri 2006
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Photo by: Sutton Images

Super Aguri's race livery was a lot more vibrant and artistic, with good use of the red colour.

Renault 2007

Renault 2007
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Photo by: Sutton Images

Ahead of an all-new livery in 2007, Renault introduced a black-and-yellow colour scheme for pre-season testing.

Renault 2007

Renault 2007
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Photo by: Sutton Images

For the race livery, Renault dropped the blue colour and made more extensive use of yellow. Orange and black shades were also used, the former for major sponsor ING.

Spyker 2007

Spyker 2007
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Photo by: Sutton Images

Spyker wanted an orange livery for 2007 pre-season. However, the car looked more red than orange in daylight.

Spyker 2007

Spyker 2007
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Photo by: Sutton Images

As a consequence, Spyker's race design was vastly different, with a new shade of orange combined with dark grey.

Honda 2007

Honda 2007
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Photo by: Sutton Images

Another all-black car, but with a shiny body and white sponsorship stickers - the 2007 Honda test livery was simple yet beautiful.

Honda 2007

Honda 2007
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Photo by: Andrew Ferraro / Motorsport Images

Of course, Honda adopted its infamous Earth livery when the 2007 season began - one that carried almost zero sponsorship.

Honda 2008

Honda 2008
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Photo by: Sutton Images

In contrast to 2007 pre-season testing, Honda turned up to next year's sessions with an all-white and sponsorship-free design.

Honda 2008

Honda 2008
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Photo by: Sutton Images

Honda adopted a far more eye-pleasing design for its 2008 race car compared to what was used the previous year. White became the primary colour, while green and blue shades stayed on to promote Honda's greenery message.

Force India 2008

Force India 2008
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Photo by: Sutton Images

After buying Skyper, Vijay Mallya's Force India team took part in the 2008 pre-season tests with a white and red livery.

Force India 2008

Force India 2008
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Photo by: Sutton Images

Team's race livery - a mixture of white, red and golden - was also impressive, but some felt the testing design scheme was better.

HRT 2012

HRT 2012
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Photo by: Sutton Images

Another bare white car for testing - this time from F1 minnow and now-defunct HRT squad.

HRT 2012

HRT 2012
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Photo by: Sutton Images

For a team as small as HRT, the designers did a fantastic job with the race livery, especially considering how few sponsors they had to place on the car.

Pirelli 2012

Pirelli 2012
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Photo by: Pirelli

When Pirelli bought an old F1 car to test its range of tyres, it came up with a matte black livery and placed some yellow company stickers on it.

Red Bull 2015

Red Bull 2015
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Photo by: Sutton Images

Red Bull gathered a lot of attention in 2005 pre-season testing when, in a clever attempt to hide its aero secrets, it introduced a camo livery for the RB11.

Red Bull 2015

Red Bull 2015
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Photo by: Sutton Images

The camo livery was never going to be used beyond pre-season testing. Hence, at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, it went back to its original colour scheme.

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Series Formula 1
Author Stefan Ehlen