Legendary Gulf colours to make F1 appearance with McLaren at Monaco Grand Prix

17th May 2021, 5:09am
3 min read
Legendary Gulf colours to make F1 appearance with McLaren at Monaco Grand Prix
Image credit: McLaren
  • McLaren F1 team to race in famous Gulf livery at Monaco
  • First time Gulf colours will have appeared with a mainstream F1 team
  • Drivers Norris and Ricciardo embrace new look with modified overalls

The McLaren F1 team will run a special one-off Gulf livery at the Monaco Grand Prix on 20-23 May, after revealing a new look colour scheme on Sunday.

The blue and orange Gulf Oils colours are among the most iconic in motorsport, and will adorn the McLaren cars at F1’s most prestigious Grand Prix next weekend.

McLaren and Gulf have a long history, and the partnership was rekindled in July 2020 when the team announced the brand’s return as an official strategic partner.

Gulf was first involved with McLaren in 1968, while its colours have regularly been seen in sports car racing, particularly at Le Mans, with Ford GTs, Porsche 917s, plus Aston Martin prototypes and GT machines all carrying the colours across several decades, while the number 41 McLaren F1 GTR Longtail carried Gulf colours to second place at the epic French enduro in 1997.

McLaren’s retro F1 livery will be a ‘tribute to Gulf’s timeless design, while reflecting a racing connection that began in the days of team founder Bruce McLaren.’

The two F1 cars will feature a light blue base colour with the legendary orange stripe completing the look. Drivers Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo will also sport the design on their race suits, while the entire race team dressed with new kit for the weekend.

Norris and Ricciardo will also compete with retro race helmet designs for the event, which will be raffled off for the team’s mental health charity partner, Mind.

One-off colour schemes are rare in F1, as FIA regulations state that cars must run in a similar livery at each race, though Jaguar and Red Bull Racing have run in ‘Monaco special’ designs in the last couple of decades.

Fans will also be able to celebrate the design, with a special range of merchandise launched to celebrate the Monaco colours.

McLaren CEO Zak Brown commented:

This will be McLaren’s homage to Gulf’s celebrated race car design. We’re enormous fans of brave and bold design, and the striking Gulf blue is among the most loved liveries in racing, a celebrated piece of culture which transcends the world of motorsport.

Design has always been important to McLaren – you see this in everything we do from our return to papaya to our stunning headquarters, the McLaren Technology Centre. We’re excited to exhibit this as a team and celebrate our proud association with Gulf in Monaco.

Gulf CEO Mike Jones added:

Gulf and McLaren have a relationship that dates back to 1968 and is one of the most successful partnerships in motorsport. We are incredibly excited to pay tribute to this heritage with our classic livery design at the Monaco Grand Prix, the most spectacular and stylish event on the Formula 1 calendar.

To see the reaction of both Lando and Daniel as well as the whole McLaren team to this livery has been really special and we are thrilled to unveil it to motorsport fans around the world. The distinguished racing blue and fluro orange Gulf colourways are iconic, so to mark our return to Formula 1 and showcase the livery in Monaco with McLaren is a great celebration of our bold and colourful place within the sport.

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Written by Richard Randle

Richard Randle is a motorsport PR professional working with the UK’s top racing circuits and the UK’s premier single-seater category, the BRDC British F3 Championship.