Our take on McLaren’s Monaco Senna tribute livery

McLaren's latest one-off Formula 1 livery for the Monaco Grand Prix is ​​a tribute to Ayrton Senna, 30 years after the death of the Formula 1 icon who won all three world championships with McLaren.

In partnership with sponsor OKX, the switch will be predominantly yellow inspired by Senna's helmet color scheme, which itself was a tribute to his native Brazil.

The reception was mixed when The Race team first saw the costume. While some of our team members lauded this as one of the best special Formula 1 liveries in recent years considering a lot of it has become over-the-top with minimal changes, others squinted to see if it was actually as yellow as it looked or just… “Pale orange.” “.

Some wondered if there would be a degree of disappointment among fans, given that McLaren's pre-Monaco product range was based on Marlboro-era colors – the color used on all of Senna's McLaren works – and the team used a modern adaptation of those on one of the colours. From its entries in last year's Indianapolis 500.

There was even a mention of the Brazil A1GP team's uniform.

But to get the right expert opinion, we called up our creative lead Oliver Card:

Designer's point of view

Oliver card

Another trip around the principality and another one-off edition in Monaco awaits us.

As part of the Senna30 campaign, McLaren is taking the opportunity this weekend to decorate the MCL38 while paying homage to Ayrton Senna's timeless racing helmet design which has remained largely unchanged throughout his Formula 1 career.

Senna created icons for all the cars he drove, but the flash of yellow was the visual cue that united them all and inspired generations to come, including Lewis Hamilton's racing helmet designs up until 2013.

It's hard not to think of Senna's success in Monaco without thinking of a certain form of cigarette. The one-off Marlboro design would have been a surefire hit with the fans, but I deeply respect McLaren for dispensing with its own identity to put the Senna (and his name in its beautiful, over-designed font) above all else.

From a design perspective, McLaren was strict in its approach, replacing black and papaya with yellow, green and blue.

The only papaya to survive the renovation is a single striped stripe on the wheel covers. An interesting feature of this change is that the Google Chrome wheel covers now finally match the car in a way that they didn't before.

Also, if Oscar Piastri squints a little, he might feel more at home as the yellow/green combination is in keeping with his country's sporting colors.

But stepping back and taking the full picture, this paint screams Brazil. Cena was Brazil, which in turn is a good tribute.

However, there is a possibility that oversaturation with Senna homage will cause it to lose its effect after a while. There is also a risk that the accompanying collection of merchandise and models will carry traces of embarrassment. Because they will sell a lot of car models; This will be a huge success for the fans, especially in Brazil, but also for Formula 1 fans who still have Senna in their lifeblood.

If profits from sales went to the Ayrton Senna Institute or to a charity that represents his ethos, some of this could be mitigated. Although McLaren's ad includes a supporting quote from Ayrton's sister Bianca, who represents Senna Global, and McLaren markets its Senna road car as “highlighting the amazing charitable work of the Ayrton Senna Institute”, this ultimately comes across as a campaign Marketing for a sponsor. Although very respectable.

McLaren's tribute is a bold and fitting tribute to the driver who brought it so much success on the streets of Monaco, and someone who remains an icon of the sport and the spirit of Formula 1 to this day.


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