A step back, to that February 6th which coincides with the day of the presentation by Williams of the livery of the single-seater for the 2023 season. At the time there was a certain expectation, above all because rumors about the collaboration between the British and Gulf Oil, with the hope that that agreement could bring the colors of the historic sponsor back to the grid.
However, those hopes vanished when the car was unveiled, with a matte blue look that recalled that of 2022 and the Gulf logo positioned in some areas of the car, such as on the halo attachments, on the upper area of the frame and on the rear wing. An elegant livery, but far from what many enthusiasts hoped for.
But, in the press conference on the sidelines of the presentation, the CEO of Gulf, Mike James, had explained that a one-off livery with the colors of the sponsor could become a reality at a later stage of the season. A possibility that has turned into reality, because Williams of Formula 1 asked the fans to vote for the livery which the team will use in the Singapore, Japanese and Qatar Grands Prix.
Williams FW45 Contemporary Gulf
Photo by: Williams
The team proposed four different outfits: Heritage, Contemporary, Visionary and Bolder than Bold. The first has a more classic look and recalls the one used by McLaren in the 2021 Monaco Grand Prix, also bringing to mind Gulf’s early years with Ford and Porsche in endurance racing, while the other three are more modern interpretations.
Williams Team Principal, James Vowles, explained that his preference is precisely for the livery that most recalls Gulf’s history in motorsport: “It’s an era that I consider fantastic for motorsport. It’s about racing more than anything else And the Gulf livery, the GT40 and the Porsche, are simply iconic.”
“So to be partnered with Gulf and to have the opportunity to do exactly the same thing with Williams, it excites me. It represents our sport. It represents our history. And we have two brands with immense heritage coming together. I think it’s that’s why the colors work. It’s not the colors themselves, but the nature of the heritage behind them,” explained the Team Principal.
Williams FW45 Visionary Gulf
Photo by: Williams
As for the other three liveries, Vowles said these more “modern” remakes are meant to reflect the changing demographics of Formula 1 in recent years, with a younger audience: “There’s a new audience who now follow F1.”
“So there’s the iconic branding that represents history, but there’s also a touch of modernity in different forms. And I think this is an aspect that characterizes F1 today and it is something that I appreciate. F1 has grown tremendously over the past decade. If you look at the demographics, it’s not just a population a few years older. In reality, the growth mainly concerns women and the youngest”.
“AND [le livree] they are very different, but very similar. It’s hard to explain, but I would say they are modern in their interpretation, in different ways,” added Vowles.
Williams FW45 Bolder Than Bold Gulf
Photo by: Williams
Gulf International CEO, Mike Jones, explained that the company is happy to try a new look, also thinking about eSports: “Our collaboration with Williams also extends to eSports, so we have thought about that too, as well as than at the Academy”.
“So the contemporary design is certainly in line with that. Some of the Williams colors are in one of the designs, and I think that was very important too, the classic heritage that everyone loves. We would have stuck to what we do traditionally or Would we have given it a twist? There are three different variations, and that’s what we’re evaluating. Everyone has their own tastes,” added Jones.
Like Vowles, Alex Albon has also indicated his preference for the more traditional look, which strongly recalls the liveries of the past: “[La livrea] Heritage to me is fantastic. I’m a simple person, I like clean lines”.
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