The FIA Formula One Championship has always been the epitome of motorsport. With the incoming wave of sponsorship money, the Formula One industry has evolved itself into one of the most expensive, extravagant and flamboyant sports, at least visually. Don't get me wrong, that's great for the sport, but there have been a few times where the sponsors have taken their PR stunts a bit too far and made us think, "what the... what are they even doing?". Here's a list I've made of 5 most unusual and borderline horrendous f1 liveries.

  1. 2007 Honda RA107's 'Earth car' livery
Rather than the standard corporate colours seen on F1 cars, the RA107 wore a paint job depicting the Earth as seen from space, a well-intentioned move designed to highlight the issue of climate change and motorsport’s role in it.

The Honda RA107 was a car that didnt see much success, none at all in fact. Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello, who were the two drivers for honda's 2007 season, were positive that the Honda was fast. Unfortunately, the car was nothing close to that. Honda only managed to score 6 points in the entire 2007 season. Honda’s 30-odd sponsors all gamely forewent the right to have their names on the side of the car. Turns out that might not have been such a bad move.

2. 1997 Lola T97/30.

The Lola T97/30 driven by Vincenzo Sospiri at the 1997 Australian Gran Prix, in Melbourne.

The Lola T97/30 and the Mastercard Lola Formula One team were forced to rush whilst under pressure from their main sponsor, Mastercard and were forced to debut a year early which meant the car had to be built within a few weeks. Unsurprisingly, during the 1997 Formula 1 opener at Melbourne, the car did not qualify up to pace and wasn't allowed to race. This was probably good news because the livery on this thing has no single good looking panel.

3. 1979 Shadow DN9

The Shadow DN9 was a Formula 1 car used by the Shadow team during the 1978 and 1979 Formula One seasons. It is most famous for having been copied by the new Arrows team for their FA1. Arrows, formed by a disgruntled group of Shadow's staffers, were in the end prohibited from using the design. 

This monstrous livery was the logo of the team's title sponsor, Samson Tobacco. This open mouthed lion faced car was a big flop compared to its much faster peers. While we hope the intention was completely different, the lion certainly looks violently, um, there's no other word for it, stoned. The radiator on the front was supposed to mimic the lion's mouth. All in all, the car looked like a lion getting sick from facing high speeds, which in my opinion, doesn't sound like good marketing.

4. 1994 Pacific PR01

The name PR01 is short for Pacific Racing, with 01 being their first year in Formula One. The PR01 was driven by Paul Belmondo and Bertrand Gachot for the whole season, with the test drivers being Oliver Gavin and Giovanni Lavaggi. Pacific lacked a single main sponsor for the 1994 season and the car ran with many different names on the sidepods, including Ursus.

The Pacific Racing team tried to spice up their fairly sober and plain grey primary paint with a few oddly placed splashes of pink and navy blue along the front and top of the body. The oddest thing about the PR01 was that the front wing along with the canoe like front section of the tub would have looked more suitable rafting down a white river.

5. 1999 BAR 01

In the inaugural year after purchasing Tyrell, the British American Racing Formula One team competed in the 1999 Formula One season with the BAR 01 with Jacques Villeneuve as the driver. To work with his good friend, manager and to-be team principal, Craig Pollock, the 1997 champion had just left Williams by then. The 1997 Formula 3000 and the 1998 FIA GT champion, Ricardo Zonta, was the second driver.

BAR originally hoped the team could run the two 01 cars with different liveries, with 555 and Lucky Strike branding respectively. But the FIA didn’t approve of this and so BAR had to go down a different path, instead merging the two, separated by a zip going up the nose of the car. It looked very weird and was fortunately only used for the 1999 season.