Friday 28 May 2010

Seeing Red – The Italian Racing Colour

In these days of race cars covered with sponsors logos and colours, it’s easily to forget that race teams used to race for their country, not their sponsors.

To differentiate the country for which to team raced, a colour-coding was developed. The first usage of this came during Gordon Bennett Cup races in 1900-1905 which was a race between Nations and their automotive products. 

Germany was assigned white, Belgium yellow, USA red, United Kingdom green, and France blue.

As more and more countries got into racing, the colour palette grew, and some colours changed, most notably Germany to silver, Italy to red, and the USA to white with blue.

The cars that shared various shades of Italian red are Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Fiat, Lancia, Bandini, Cisitalia and of course, Ferrari.

They were much simpler times, when racers drove for their nation, and not necessarily the highest bidder.

This all changed in 1968, when Colin Chapman carried non-automotive, Players cigarette graphics on his Lotus 49’s.

The advertising floodgates were opened for good … and gone, with very few exceptions, were the international colours. True to tradition, Scuderia Ferrari team cars are always red.

Thursday 20 May 2010

The 1961 Formula 1 Season – Battle Plans

The 1961 Formula 1 season introduced new rules, including a 1.5 litre engine capacity. By that time, all the teams had switched to the rear-engined configuration.

Black & white pen&ink (14"x 11), digitally painted, available as a limited edition.
© Paul Chenard 2010 

Some teams choose to drag their feet, and protest the engine-capacity changes, but Ferrari started up development by the end of 1960, working from their Formula 2 racers.

In the sketch, designer Carlo Chiti has testing done on the new Ferrari 156 (1.5 litre, 6 cylinder) F1 racer. Assisting him is young engineer Mauro Forghieri, as Enzo Ferrari looks on.

The car was very successful, and Ferrari took the Formula 1 World Constructors Championship, with American driver Phil Hill taking the Formula 1 World Drivers Championship.

Black & white pen&ink (14"x 11), digitally painted, available as a limited edition signed by Phil Hill.
© Paul Chenard 2007

The following season was less successful for Ferrari, with the other teams finally catching up. The BRM team (British Racing Motors) took the Championship, with the Drivers’ Championship going to Graham Hill driving the BRM P56 V8.

Interestingly, by October 1962, Ferrari's disgruntled employees, stirred up by Mrs. Ferrari in a face-slapping incident, left the company "en masse", lead by Carlo Chiti in the famous "Palace Revolt". Most of them joined him at the ill-fated ATS, including World Champion Phil Hill.

The young Forghieri replaced Chiti as chief of the technical department for racing cars. Under his guidance, Ferrari won four Formula 1 World Constructors Championships; 1964, 1975, 1977, and 1979.

After ATS, Carlo Chiti went to Autodelta (Alfa Romeo), then Brabham; he passed away in 1994 in Milan. Mauro Forghieri left Ferrari in 1987 to join Lamborghini.

Thursday 13 May 2010

Monte Carlo Rallye tin toy - Part II

In late 2008, the Welby Toy Company of India found my blog, saw my illustration of the 1971 Monte Carlo Rallye, and that I was a graphic designer who collected vintage racing toys.

Prismacolor pencils on black archival stock 19"x 13.5" 
© Paul Chenard 2008

This print is available as limited signed/numbered edition of 15 (14.5''x 11'') premium archival Giclee prints for $150 USD each plus shipping. The original sketch is also available.

They asked me if I would like to design the packaging for a new re-creation windup tin racing toy they were going to produce. I, of course, said yes to such a special opportunity.

I used my illustration, and designed the packaging to their specifications. Once I had approval, I sent the digital files to Welby for printing. The story was written up last year in Design Edge magazine; you can read that feature here.

The toy has finally been produced, and Welby was kind enough to ship two examples to me. Wow! What a stunningly beautiful tin windup! They say it's a reproduction of a 1940 German toy made by Arnold, but the charming toy graphics indicate more 1958-60. Welby has done a beautiful job of it, and it works very very well.

You can never have too many toys!

Saturday 8 May 2010

Gilles Villeneuve - Jan. 18, 1950 / May 8, 1982

Today marks a very sad anniversary, the date of the passing of an extraordinary figure. 
Photo courtesy & © Allan de la Plante


Gilles Villeneuve left his mark on Formula 1 like very few before, or since. 

His dedication to his "métier" and his team were legendary, as was his pure passion for the sport.

MotorSports editor Nigel Roebuck wrote Villeneuve's obituary for Autosport magazine on May 13, 1982; it is beautiful, as it is heart-felt. You can read it here:

We will always remember Gilles …

Monday 3 May 2010

Sir Jack Brabham – World Class

Now that we are well into the 2010 Formula 1 season, it's easy to forget that 50 years ago, Australian Sir Jack Brabham, AO, OBE won his second consecutive F1 World Driver’s Championship, driving a rear-engined Cooper T53 to success in 1960.

Sir Jack Brabham - detail
Pen&ink and Prismacolor pencils on white archival stock
© Paul Chenard 2009
Available as a limited edition

Sir Brabham started racing in 1948, racing open-wheeled midgets on dirt tracks. He competed successfully at various levels and series thoughout Australia, and in 1955, made his move to European racing, basing himself in the United Kingdom.

He quickly hooked up with the Cooper Car Company, working with them as both a mechanic and driver. This successful alliance lead to his first F1 World Driver’s Championship in 1959, and his second in 1960.

1960 Cooper T53
Prismacolor pencils on white archival stock
© Paul Chenard 2009

After driving for Cooper for 1961, Brabham set out on his own, teaming up with New Zealander Ron Tauranac, to build and race his own cars. Their cars had limited success for a few years.
1964 BT11
Prismacolor pencils on gray archival stock
© Paul Chenard 2008

The FIA brought in new rules for 1966, including a change to 3-litre engines. Brabham convinced the Australian engineering company Repco to develop a competition V-8 engine for his BT19 F1 racecar, designed by Tauranac.

Pencils on white archival stock
© Paul Chenard 2006
Available as a limited edition

The results were stunning, with Brabham winning four races, and the F1 World Driver’s Championship for the third time. He also took the F1 Constructors Championship, the only driver to have done it. He was also the first of only three drivers to have won a Championship race in a car of his own construction.
At the end of the season, the Queen appointed him an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).
The following year, he again took the F1 Constructors Championship, with his driver/teammate Denny Hulme taking the F1 World Driver’s Championship.
He retired from Formula 1 in 1970. His three sons Geoff, Gary and David have all gone into successful professional racing careers.