The show is over, now it’s showtime folks, time for real racing to begin and the endless pre-season speculation to cease. Before that F1 treated the world to the winter livery launch campaign that saw such brands as “we don’t really care” displayed on the sides, front, and everywhere else of the 2023 spec F1 cars. The problem is, 2023 technical regs are best described as a continuation of 2022, so we’re seeing an evolution in terms of engineering and aerodynamic design. You will have trouble trying to spot the differences from last year’s cars. Indeed the livery launch spec cars revealed by all teams competing on the grid will receive significant upgrades for the first race of the season in Bahrain on March 5th.
So what is the purpose of having a livery launch campaign at all? First of all the teams do not want to give too much away too early to rival teams. More significantly, the pre-season livery launch campaign is for the sponsors to get as much media coverage as possible. From mainstream to new-stream media, sponsors want to show off their logos to the general public. And admittedly for the F1 fanbase, it’s like feeding time after being starved of real action during the winter rest period. In reality, with social media and digital news media, the F1 news cycle never rests.
Alpine F1 will be the final team to reveal its livery design and sponsorship lineup tomorrow. But we’ll let Mercedes have the chance to officially close the 2023 livery launch campaign. As of today, Mercedes launched the W14 at Silverstone and completed 62 miles of promo-filing, which is allowed under the rules. Mercedes will continue with their zero-side pod philosophy.
Although F1’s ritual livery launch campaign is mostly to satisfy the sponsors with a blaze of publicity, the detailed work hidden underneath the exterior livery design hides multiple engineering upgrades. Much of the engineering work will be incremental, but small details can make the difference in the ultra-competitive world of Formula One.
Prior to the opening race of 2023, Formula One heads to the Middle East, Bahrain to commence 3-days of pre-season testing from February 23-25.