Toyota’s livery is often the centre of many jokes in the media, primarily the blogs and offbeat sites, but also occasionally in the mainstream as well. In the eyes of the motor company’s executives, it is almost certainly a well-sculptured brand identity exercise. But to those who have to watch the cars pound around the circuit year after year, the red and white can get a little tedious. And just to prove the point, let’s take a look at all nine Toyota Formula One cars…
Toyota’s development car – also called the AM01 – never raced, but it was used to evaluate drivers for the debut of the team in Formula One in 2002. Out of all the following liveries, this test car was probably the most distinctive. Bland and mundane, yes. But at least it stands out among the others.
The first sight of Toyota’s splash livery. Predominantly white with red diagonal distressed stripes; one across the nose, and two each symmetrically spreading up past the centre monocoque and over the exhausts. Note the front wing end-plates. The left one is white, the right one is red (it’s more obvious in the TF103 pictures).
The only difference I can see is the lack of red circle in the middle of the drivers headrest. I always presumed it symbolised the Nisshoki (the flag of Japan), and it made a return the following year.
Only a subtle change for 2004; the return of the Nisshoki and a slight alteration in the edging and styling of the stripes. Also, the mirrors matched the front wing end-plates; red mirror on the right, white on the left.
The 2005 car featured more red over the sidepods, but because of this it lost its striped appearance.
The stripe over the nose has been narrowed. And I think that is about it for changes in 2006.
The nose stripe was widened for 2007, and with added sponsorship from Kingfisher, the sidepods took on a slightly more formal look. Also, the front wing end-plates are now both the same colour – white.
2008 marked the biggest change in Toyota’s livery, with the edging of the stripes changing to a more ‘dripped’ look as opposed to the previous ‘splashed’. The front element in the front wing has also been changed to white – an improvement in my opinion.
The 2008 trend didn’t last long though as 2009 saw a return to the diagonal stripe, although the splashes over the sidepods are no longer symmetrical, instead they have touches of white streaked around to see a return of the distressed look.
If I had to choose a favourite, it would be difficult to decide based on livery alone. Bringing the shape, style and flow of the car into it makes it easier though; it’s between the TF106 and the TF108, and as the 108 performed better, I guess it’s probably the better of the eight that raced. In my mind, anyway.
So should Toyota continue with the red and white splash, or should they do something radical next year and change their livery? What do you think? Do you like it? Is it still fresh to you? Or is it dated and boring?
Photos © Toyota Motorsport Gmbh