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Ranking the 2024 F1 liveries from worst to best

I ranked the Mercedes W14 as the best livery on the F1 grid 12 months ago, and I was even upset to see the bright green go from George Russell's car when it did, but who will beat out the opposition in 2024?

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If 2023 ushered in the exposed carbon livery era of F1, 2024 has seen the proliferation of it – but to what end?

F1 Livery 2024 McLaren Mercedes Alpine Red Bull
The Mercedes W14 took top honour on last year’s list. (Image Credit: @MercedesAMGF1 on X)

Fans hate it, and it’ll likely be a nightmare for broadcasters, but until F1 moves to mandate a minimum paint requirement, it’s a trend that looks set to continue. At least until car weight ceases to be a critical issue for the teams.

That said, we are where we are.

Every year, I rate the liveries of the F1 grid from worst to best. And every year, I receive quasi-hate mail for a purely subjective list. In fact, it’s usually one of my most comment-heavy pieces of the year.

The first year, I was told I had “no artistic taste” before it was suggested I might be “color blind.” All for the simple crime of not liking the livery of the McLaren MCL36.

Thankfully, it’s all in jest. Plus, I think it’s great that people feel so passionately about their team’s livery.

Anyway, McLaren vaulted up the standings last year. Can they continue their ascent?

The likes of AlphaTauri and Alpine have held steady towards the bottom of the standings (or top, depending on how you look at it).

How will the former fare this year under their new guise? Their name has caused great controversy, but the semi-return of their Toro Rosso look has tails wagging.

At the other end of the spectrum, the latter has caused outrage for their stripped-back exposed carbon approach. But is that justified? Haven’t Alpine merely been late to the party, whereas early adopters have somewhat avoided the vitriol?

I’ll leave you to ponder that thought – because the blowback from the A524 livery has been severe – whilst I get on with the list.

10. Stake C44 
F1 Livery 2024 Stake Red Bull Alpine McLaren Mercedes
(Image Credit: @F1 on X)

Up there with Alpine as the most polarising look on the 2024 F1 grid. There was so much potential for Stake to incorporate the fluorescent green in a bold and playful way, but this ain’t it. The vertical-horizontal-vertical line over the engine cover is boxy and doesn’t flow well.

I don’t mind exposed carbon when it’s done well, but this is just another black car on an already dark grid. Had they run with a predominantly fluo-green livery, they’d have easily stood out, but somehow, they’ve made it look dull.

I thought the Stake logo cheapened the Alfa Romeo livery last season, so it’s no surprise that the C44 isn’t a particularly classy-looking car – but then again, was it ever going to be?

4/10

9. Haas VF-24
F1 Livery 2024 Haas Red Bull McLaren Alpine Mercedes
(Image Credit: @F1 on X)

I got last year’s Haas badly wrong on my top 10. 7/10 and fifth place was, with hindsight, far too generous. Although, some of those further down the pecking order have made a leap forward this time around.

The truth is that the VF-24 is a more attractive F1 car than its predecessor. The black nose works better with the middle and rear, which haven’t changed a huge amount and it no longer looks like a livery mule of two different cars.

Don’t get me wrong, it won’t set the world alight and it’ll most certainly get lost in the chaos of the rush to T1, but in isolation, they’ve done a better job this time around.

6/10

8. Red Bull RB20
F1 Livery 2024 Red Bull McLaren Alpine Mercedes
(Image Credit: @F1 on X)

Same, same, but worse. I mean, what else can I say? It’s identical (pedants, please feel free to correct me) to last year’s look. Except for one key change, which in all fairness to Red Bull is bodywork and not livery-related – they’ve taken on the Mercedes engine cover concept.

Objectively, that’s hilarious. Imagine if they take it one step further and make the ‘no-pod’ philosophy work. It really would be a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

But anyway, what the new engine cover means in real livery terms is that the Red Bull logo doesn’t quite work as well there as it did before. It’s not a big deal, but it’s not not an issue for me, you know?

If I’m being fair, it’s an iconic livery that’s gotten a little tired over the past couple of seasons. They retain the same marks they got from me 12 months ago, but they’d have been much higher had they adopted the gold Red Bull mock-up that does the rounds on social media. Ooft.

6.5/10

7. Visa Cash App RB VCARB 01
F1 Livery 2024 Visa Cash App RB Red Bull McLaren Mercedes Alpine
(Image Credit: @ChrisMedlandF1 on X)

I genuinely believe that much of the fanfare surrounding the VCARB 01 launch had more to do with it offering up some colour after a string of dark and/or drab livery reveals than it actually being a nice-looking F1 car. That said, I was never particularly fond of the Toro Rosso liveries from which the Visa Cash App RB draws its inspiration.

For me, the white doesn’t work with the silver of the bull and the Visa logo. The white strip over the cockpit is a little too blocky and would have worked better in a more 90s fashion – think of the Benetton or Ferrari from 1993.

But, most critically, the red simply doesn’t work. For starters, Cash App lime green would have been a much better accent, and it would have gone with the blue beautifully. You can bake in the fact that for the second year in a row, Orlen red has ruined the halo of their car.

7/10

6. Aston Martin AMR24
F1 Livery 2024 Aston Martin Red Bull Mercedes McLaren Alpine
(Image Credit: @F1 on X)

The only real changes of note between the AMR23 and the AMR24 are the slight alterations to the shade of British racing green – if that isn’t already a specific shade itself – and inversion of the Aramco logo from the back of the rear wing to the front of it.

Whilst I prefer the new paint colour, the rear wing swap is a downgrade and does affect the overall look of the car. The black rear wing from last year contrasted nicely against the green and yellow. Less so now.

Like Williams, there is a marked consistency to the Aston Martin liveries during the current era. Still, the continuous improvement of the former has seen them just sneak past the latter, even in a world of diminishing returns.

8/10

5. Williams FW46
F1 Livery 2024 Williams Red Bull Alpine Mercedes McLaren
(Image Credit: @ChrisMedlandF1 on X)

There’s an element of: ‘if you’re not moving forwards, you’re moving backwards’ when it comes to liveries and keeping broadly the same look year to year. Williams are not alone in this, as we’ve seen above.

Plus, achievement is linked to aesthetics here, and that’s what will prevent the current Williams livery from becoming iconic – and they’re a team with plenty of iconic liveries over the years.

The changes from last year’s car have been positive – such as the layered gradient towards the rear and the white and red stripes down to the nose – and the original Williams logo is a nice touch to honour the man whose name the team bears.

8/10

4. Ferrari SF-24
F1 Livery 2024 Ferrari Red Bull McLaren Alpine Mercedes
(Image Credit: @ChrisMedlandF1 on X)

It’s another ‘with hindsight’ moment for me when I look at last year’s Ferrari. I honestly prefer this one, but it has attained a lower score than the SF-23.

There isn’t much wrong with the SF-24. The colour works. It’s simple, elegant and isn’t trying too hard. The weird carbon fibre fins from last year are gone, to be replaced by a new detail – the white and yellow stripes.

It’s been pointed out to me that together with the red, the stripes match the colour palette of McDonald’s. Fair point. But my issue lies with the two stripes themselves. For whatever reason, it all looks a little Lonsdale – or maybe knock-off Adidas – to me.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great-looking F1 car, but in a game of fine margins, it does bother me slightly.

8.5/10

3. Mercedes W15
F1 Livery 2024 Mercedes McLaren Red Bull Alpine
(Image Credit: @ChrisMedlandF1 on X)

Oh, look, a West McLaren. I think we all wondered whether Mercedes would try and integrate the silver and black, and they did. To great effect.

The flow of the silver nose into the rest of the car works well, and paired with the Petronas stripe, it feels like a fitting tribute to the Lewis Hamilton heydays, in what will be his final season with the team.

If I’m to be really critical, I’d argue that having two tertiary colours is perhaps a little cluttered, but Mercedes just about get away with it. It’s not the W14, but it’s still lovely. 

8.5/10

2. Alpine A524
F1 Livery 2024 Alpine Red Bull McLaren Mercedes
(Image Credit: @LukeSmithF1 on X)

Now for the controversial one. I get why Alpine have been the target of the anti-exposed carbon unrest – they have, after all, succumbed to an ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ type attitude. But objectively speaking, this is a really beautiful car.

They’re being more harshly judged than the early adopters – the likes of Stake and Haas, and even Mercedes, who really leaned into it last year. However, taking that out of the equation, it’s a significant upgrade on the last couple of Alpine liveries, at least in my view.

If I had to be picky, I’d argue that the A524, more than any other car on the 2024 F1 grid, looks like it just has stickers on it without any paint. But I can look past that, and I will. I love it.

9/10

1. McLaren MCL38
F1 Livery 2024 McLaren Mercedes Red Bull Alpine
(Image Credit: @F1 on X)

What a turnaround for McLaren. The MCL38 is an outrageously attractive F1 car. The lighter shade of blue from the past couple of seasons was all wrong and dropping that has done wonders for the papaya and black.

In a look that emulates the Orange Arrows of the early 2000s, they’ve shown that a two-tone combo can work. The chevron paint job draws inspiration from the Marlboro McLarens of the 80s and 90s. It looks aggressive and it looks clean.

I had hoped they’d bring back the darker blue from a few years ago to accent, but the MCL38 doesn’t need it. It’s stunning. I could take or leave the chrome numbering, and I have a sneaky feeling that could change during the season, but this is perhaps my favourite livery of the current ground-effect era. 

9.5/10

Featured Image Credit: @LukeSmithF1 on X

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