The historic Monaco Grand Prix is Formula 1’s most glamorous event each year, and to mark the occasion, drivers often wear a specially-designed one-off helmet for the weekend. Although this year’s Monaco GP will – once again – not feature its usual star-studded guest list, McLaren F1 is still determined to make it just as memorable by running the iconic Gulf Oil livery on its car – and my oh my, does it look absolutely stunning.
While the British team’s association with Gulf dates back to the days of team founder Bruce McLaren in the late 1960s, McLaren has only ever run the iconic blue and orange livery once, on the McLaren F1 GTR back in 1997.
The petroleum company came back on board as a strategic partner last July, but the Gulf branding only went as far as a logo on the engine cover, wing mirrors, and the drivers’ race suits. Through the collective voices of fans like us online, McLaren and Gulf finally decided to give the fans the livery they’ve always wanted – too bad it’ll only be a one-off.
McLaren Racing boss Zak Brown said: “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.”
In addition to the livery, the iconic Gulf colours will also be featured on Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo’s race suits, the race team kit, and all of McLaren’s social media communications.
Lando and Daniel will also wear race helmets with bespoke retro designs, specifically created for the event, both of which to be raffled for the team’s mental health charity partner, Mind, after the race.
“It’s beautiful,” Norris commented on the livery. “I think everyone can agree it will be the best-looking car on the grid by a very long way. It’s awesome, it’s a cool opportunity for both of us, and especially at Monaco, so I think it brings it all together, it’s pretty unique.”
Ricciardo added: “Of course I love it. It’s cool. I didn’t need another reason to get excited about Monaco, so I’ve got to control myself and save some energy for next week. Awesome. As long as you look good, that’s the first box you’ve got to tick, and we’re certainly doing that, so I’m really excited.”
While the Gulf liveried McLaren MCL35M will only be featured for one race weekend, you can at least keep a piece of it for quite a bit longer, as the team will also be releasing a range of limited-edition Gulf merchandises on its own official merchandise store, linked here.
The McLaren cars in Gulf Oil livery will take to the track for the first time on Thursday, thanks to the Monaco GP’s unique schedule. Let’s pray that it doesn’t suffer the same fate as the retro liveried Mercedes in the 2019 German Grand Prix – fingers crossed.