F1 team drops brand names from race cars in favour of 'green' livery
26 February 2007

Honda has today launched a radical new livery for its 2007 Formula One race car; in a surprising reversal of convention, it's covered the cars that Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello will race this season with a satellite picture of the surface of the earth as seem from space, and it will use them throughout the season to highlight the environmental concerns that, some would say, threaten the future of the sport.The firm’s RA107 challenger does not carry traditional sponsorship logos; it's global map livery will look striking in an era when brand names fight a fierce battle for prominence on cars. Honda’s F1 backers (over 30 firms, at present, including Universal Music, Gatorade, Fila and IBM) have agreed to waive their corporate presence in front of F1’s television audience, in favour of the rights to use the ‘earth car’ image in promotions and advertising.In addition, a new website, myearthdream.com, will allow fans to pledge a donation to an environmental charity and in return have their name printed as part of the RA107’s imagery. It’s thought that up to two million tiny signatures could be incorporated in the ‘earth’ by the end of the year.Honda team boss Nick Fry said “climate change is probably the single biggest issue facing the global community, and F1 is not immune from it. We believe that F1, with its huge global profile and cutting-edge technology, can play an important role in not only highlighting the issues but also playing our part in developing solutions.” F1 is widely expected to incorporate ‘energy recovery’ devices on its cars before the end of the decade.Jenson Button said Honda was hoping to raise environmental awareness among F1 fans. “The people who work in F1 and the F1 viewers are probably the most difficult people to turn around into making a difference, so this campaign is important,” he said. “At the moment, F1 is carbon-neutral, but that’s not where we want it to be. It should be carbon-positive. But perhaps in the future it will get there.”Green issues aside, Button will probably be more concerned with how quickly the new Honda goes than how it looks. The RA107 has recently found improved form after what has been a generally frustrating pre-season testing build-up for Button and team-mate Rubens Barrichello. But the Englishman’s lap times were still well off the pace-setting McLarens of Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton.“The winter’s been interesting,” said Button. “We started with a car that wasn’t quite where we wanted it to be, but we’ve been testing hard and have improved the car a lot. We’re positive we got a good car — maybe not as good as the top two teams, which are McLaren and Ferrari at the moment, but we can improve throughout the season.”

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