The designer behind the livery

Edward Couldwell


Just as in F1, as well as a new season comes a brand new car in the form of the Gen2 and for Envision Virgin Racing, Audi’s e-tron FE05.

With an all-new exterior to contend with, and a new team identity, just how do you go about designing this and moving a plain, carbon fibre bodywork to an impressive, eye-catching livery. Well, at Envision Virgin Racing, head designer Ed Couldwell explains how he did just that…

Firstly, can you tell us a little about you and your design background?
“I’ve always had a wild imagination combined with a curiosity for how things work, so design seemed like an obvious choice. I studied Industrial Design at Loughborough University but was more distracted by rowing at the time! After graduating I worked on any project that came my way for a variety of companies before getting the opportunity to work at the team.”

When and how did the design process begin?
“Excited by the task of creating my first car livery, I started by playing around with concepts last December – more than 12 months ago – just having fun with it with no particular direction. At this point the Gen2 car had yet to be officially released so it was mostly guess work. One of the greatest challenges with livery design is the number of shareholders involved. This was no exception, so I spent a lot of time thinking about the strategy and purpose behind the livery, dissecting the various elements that would make it a success.”

What was your inspiration behind the livery?
“I wanted to create something that would celebrate our new owner, Envision Group, whilst retaining the spirit of the Virgin brand. I explored the architecture of both brands, as well as the role of a livery within the context of a racing environment, looking into what might influence a spectator’s perception of the car. I arrived at the silver half-tone pattern from looking at how Envision Group communicates its various technologies. This was positioned over the powertrain and represented a flow of energy contrasting with the team’s historic purple, not forgetting the accents of the famous Virgin Red.”

Were there many versions before you settled on a final one?
“Yes, over 150! Enough said.”

Did the final version on the car look the way you pictured it?
“Yes and no. The design was constantly evolving as we experimented with different ideas. Seeing the finished car for the first time felt like another step in that process versus realising the end product.”

And finally, were you happy with it?!?
“Yes, but as any designer will know you just can’t help but think of ways you could improve it.”

Envision Virgin Racing, Audi e-tron FE05

Sam Bird

Robin Frijns

A few days ago…

2012 Brazilian Grand Prix


On 3 January 1969, Michael Schumacher was born in the small town of Hürth, Germany – he’d go on to become the most successful Formula One driver of all time. For his 50th birthday this week, everyone in the sport has been wishing him well and remembering his legacy as he recovers at home after a life-changing skiing accident. Regardless of what you think of the man, he leaves behind him quite an extraordinary record.

Very few names are so synonymous with Formula One as that of Michael Schumacher. With 91 race wins and seven FIA Formula One Drivers’ World Championships, he is an absolute icon of the sport who has dominated the series like no one else.

Says Mercedes’ Toto Wolff: “Not only did he set an incredible record – a record that is yet to be beaten – but he also shaped and changed the sport forever. As a driver, Michael took Formula One to a whole new level with his attention to detail and his technical knowledge. He did everything with great determination, from his engineering debriefs to his physical training, and was always searching for new ways to improve his on-track performance.”

Michael took some of his first steps as a professional racing driver with Mercedes when he joined the brand’s junior programme in 1990, racing in Group C sports cars and DTM. Together with Karl Wendlinger, he won the last race of the season in sports car racing- Michael’s first and only victory with Mercedes.

He moved to Formula One in the following year, racing for Jordan before joining Benetton with whom he went on to win the Drivers’ World Championship in 1994 and 1995. One year later, Michael switched to Ferrari, where he laid the foundations for one of the most successful eras in Formula One. He stayed with the team from Maranello for a decade and won five consecutive Drivers’ (2000-2004) and six consecutive Constructors’ (1999-2004) Championships with the Scuderia.

Michael retired from Formula One after the 2006 campaign; however, when Mercedes re-joined Formula One as a works team in 2010, he made his return to the series as a driver. Working with the team in Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart, Michael played an important role in developing the long-term capabilities of the team that were the foundation of Mercedes’ future success in F1.

“I remember when I first met Michael back in 2012, it was on a flight from Zürich to Singapore,” recalls Toto. “He was sitting next to me and asked me if I was up for a game of backgammon. I think that I’m a decent backgammon player, but he absolutely crushed me in the first two rounds because I was so star-struck. Once I was over that, my game improved, and we ended up playing and talking for the entire flight. We had a really good and honest conversation and when we landed it felt like I had known him for much longer than I actually did.”

At that point, Michael only had a handful of races with Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport left before he retired from Formula One at the end of 2012. He never won an F1 race in a Mercedes, but he played an important role in the success the team would enjoy in subsequent years.

“Michael is one of the founding fathers of the success we have had in the last five years,” says Toto. “There is no other driver like him and his vast experience contributed tremendously in the development of our team. He played a crucial role when we re-joined F1 and was one of the people who laid the foundation for our future success. We’re extremely grateful for everything he did for us. Today, we all tip our hats to you – happy birthday, Michael!”

Thanks Mercedes.


2012 United States Grand Prix

2011 Canadian Grand Prix, Friday

My dear Gordon…

The man and his cars


Very many congratulations!

Yes, we’re posting early because it just has to be said. Automotive designer and engineer, Professor Gordon Murray has been awarded a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in the Queen’s New Year Honours 2019. The accolade is in recognition of his ‘services to Motoring’ after a lifetime of devising and delivering creative and ground-breaking projects in the motorsport and automotive sectors.

“It is extremely humbling. I’ve spent more than 50 years doing what I love, working with a wealth of highly-talented and creative people around the world, but primarily in the UK. From the competing during the heyday of Formula One, to designing the world’s fastest supercar, I’ve loved every minute. I’d like to dedicate this honour to all those I’ve worked with over the years and I look forward to an exciting new future for the Gordon Murray Group,” said the great man earlier.

Having designed his first car in 1967, Murray moved to the UK to join the Brabham Formula One Team as Technical Director winning two world championships (1981 and 1983), and then moved to McLaren International as Technical Director in 1988 where the team won three consecutive championships – 1988, 1989 and 1990.

Having accrued 50 Grand Prix wins in Formula One, he went on to establish a new company – McLaren Cars Limited. The Company’s first project was the renowned McLaren F1 Road Car. A racing version won two world sports car championships and the Le Mans 24-hour race in 1995. Murray guided several other successful projects at McLaren Cars, culminating with the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren programme.

In 2005 Murray formed a new British company for the design, engineering, prototyping and development of vehicles – Gordon Murray Design Limited. The Surrey-based company is responsible for an innovative and disruptive manufacturing technology: iStream.


Prize giving – they did well


Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport has received its trophies: Toto Wolff, the fifth consecutive FIA Formula One Constructors’ Championship trophy on behalf of the team, and Lewis Hamilton, his fifth Drivers’ Championship trophy at the FIA Prize Giving Gala in St Petersburg, Russia.

Held in the city’s historic Philharmonia, the 2018 FIA Prize Giving Gala recognised the achievements of many different teams and drivers in all of the FIA-regulated racing series, including George Russell and Mick Schumacher in F2 and F3 respectively.

It has to be said that these awards crowned one of the most successful years in the motorsport history of Mercedes-Benz. The brand won each possible title in Formula 1, DTM, Formula 2, Formula 3 and F1 eSports, as well as enjoying its most successful ever year in customer motorsport with 130+ wins and over 40 titles, including the first ever FIA GT Nations Cup.

Not bad…

Lewis, Sebastian and Max

Our three main protagonists finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd in today’s final race. Lewis Hamilton took his 73rd career victory, his eleventh of the 2018 season and fourth at the Yas Marina Circuit.

Hamilton (408 points) ends the season in P1 in the Drivers’ Championship. Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport (655 points) finishes the season with an 84-point lead over Ferrari (571 points) in the Constructors’ Championship. Valtteri Bottas was awarded the Fastest Lap Award for the highest number of fastest laps this season.

A few nice images

2018 Championship Celebrations – Brackley and Brixworth


Toto Wolff, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas first visited the factory in Brixworth to celebrate the fifth consecutive Formula One World Championship with the team that designed and built this year’s Championship-winning power unit, the Mercedes-AMG F1 M09 EQ Power+

They then continued on to the factory in Brackley to celebrate with the part of the team responsible for the chassis. At both sites, the team paid special tribute to Niki Lauda by doffing red caps.

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