Ahead of the 2021 Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix scheduled for this coming weekend, McLaren Racing has brought back the iconic blue and orange of Gulf Oil in the form of a very special one-off, retro-inspired livery.
The British team has something of a history with Gulf Oil, dating all the way back to the days of team founder Bruce McLaren. The two entities have previously collaborated in both F1 and Can-Am racing throughout the late 60s/early 70s; more recently, establishing a brand new partnership mid-last year when Gulf signed on as a strategic partner.
“This will be McLaren’s homage to Gulf’s celebrated race car design,” says Zak Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing.
“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 MCL35M – which marks the second time a McLaren whip has been striped in racing blue and neon orange after the #41 McLaren F1 GTR Longtail, which managed to finish second at the 1997 24 Hours of Le Mans – the Gulf Oil colourway will also be showcased through drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris’ race suits, bespoke helmets, as well as the wider race team’s kit. After this weekend, the helmets will be raffled to fundraise for the team’s mental health charity partner, Mind. And yes, a whole range of limited-edition merchandise is coming to the McLaren store.
“To see the reaction of both [Lando Norris] and [Daniel Ricciardo] 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,” says Mike Jones, CEO of Gulf Oil.
“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.”
“Of course I love it,” says Daniel Ricciardo.
“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.”
“It’s beautiful,” says Lando Norris.
“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.”
Lights go out at the 2021 Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix this Sunday on May 23rd.