Zurich Gnome

The journal of a Swiss-based motor-racing enthusiast.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Future's Orange

It hadn't occured to me that the McLarens wouldn't be silver this year. The Silver Arrows, as the Mercedes racing team was known both pre-war and in the short period of domination from 1954-1955, have become almost as much as a fixture on the grid as the scarlet Ferraris.

Except of course that the Ferraris are not quite as scarlet as they used to be. Over the last few years, the marketing men at Philip Morris have requested that the colour be changed, making it more orange, so that it more closely resembles Marlboro red when seen on television. And now the Mclarens are appearing, albeit temporarily, in a new colour scheme.

Echoing the original scheme favoured by founder Bruce Mclaren (shown here in an M7A) the cars are currently painted orange, and frankly, I'm very happy about that. I remember after Bruce was killed while testing a Can-Am car at Goodwood, that his wife sold the company. I also remember being told was that one of the conditions of sale was that the car should continue to have some parts of the car painted orange. Whether that's true or not I don't know, but I remember my Mother telling me, and you don't get more reliable than that.

Of course, commercial interests make promises like that tricky to keep. When Yardley came along, I was happy, part of the M19 remained orange. Then came Marlboro, and as we've seen with Ferrari, you can spend a long time discussing whether orange is red or not. So still I was vaguely happy. But with West sponsorship came the rebirth of the Silver Arrows and no significant orange on the car. Very sad. But today, even if it is only for a few tests (but hopefully longer) the Bruce McLaren heritage is being restored. Thanks Ron.


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