List of international auto racing colors

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From the beginning of the 20th century until the late 1960s, before sponsorship liveries came in use, vehicles competing in Formula One, sports car racing, touring car racing and other international auto racing competitions customarily painted their cars in racing colours reflecting the nation of origin of the car or driver. These were often different from the national colours used in other sports or in politics.


The colours most likely have their origin in the national teams competing in the Gordon Bennett Cup, which was held annually in 1900-1905, and were definitely established in the 1920s and 1930s era of Grand Prix motor racing, when blue Bugatti and red Alfa Romeo dominated many races.

Due to the weight limit for GP cars introduced in 1934, German Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union teams did not apply the traditional white paint in order to save weight, and the bare sheets of metal gave rise to the term Silver Arrows. When aluminium was replaced by fiberglass materials in the 1960s, some German teams (like Porsche and BMW) returned to white paint. Others German manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz and Audi (Auto Union) used silver paint when they returned to international racing in the 1990s.

In spring of 1968, sponsorship liveries, which already had been used in the United States for years, were allowed in international racing. Team Lotus was the first F1 team not only to paint their cars in a tobacco livery, but also to change the team name accordingly. The British Racing Green vanished soon from the cars of private teams, while the Rosso Corsa used by Italian manufacturers like Ferrari is in continuous use to the present day.

Contemporary usage

Although this colour scheme was abandoned by the FIA for most racing disciplines in the 1970s, it is still informally used, especially by Italian, British and German automakers and teams that want to emphasize their traditions. Often, sponsorship agreements respect this. Many concept cars follow the color scheme, and many amateur racers prefer them as well.

The A1 Grand Prix series instigated in 2005 features national teams, driving identical cars with differing colour schemes. Initially, most schemes were based on the respective national flags; some teams with different traditional sporting colours have since switched, including A1 Team Australia and A1 Team India.

Historic colours

Major competitors

German Blitzen Benz (1909)
French Bugatti Type 35C (1926)
German Silberpfeile (1930s)
Japanese Honda RA272 (1965)
British Lotus 49 (early 1968)
Italian Alfa Romeo 33 (1977)
German Audi R8 (2006)
Code Country Body Numbers Marques/Teams
D Germany White Red Benz, Mercedes, BMW, Porsche
Silver (or bare metal (Silver Arrows)) Red Mercedes-Benz, Auto Union, Veritas, Borgward, EMW, Porsche, Audi
F France Blue White Bugatti, Talbot, Matra, Gordini, Ligier, Prost
GB Great Britain Green (British racing green) White Jaguar, Vanwall, Cooper, Lotus, Brabham, BRM, Bentley, Aston Martin
I Italy Red (Rosso corsa) White Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Lancia, Ferrari, Abarth, O.S.C.A., Officine Meccaniche
J Japan White with red "sun" Black Honda, Nissan, Toyota
USA USA White, Blue lengthwise stripes ("Cunningham racing stripes"), Blue underframe Blue Cunningham, Ford, NART, Shelby, Chaparral
Blue, White lengthwise stripes, White underframe White AAR Eagle, Ford, Shelby, Scarab

National list

The following schemes have been adopted for various countries at various times:

Code Country Body Bonnet Other Colours Numbers Illustrated example
A 22px-Flag of Austria.png Blue   Black on white Auto racing color A.png
ARG 22px-Flag of Argentina.svg.png Blue Yellow Chassis: Black Red on white Auto racing color ARG.png
AUS 22px-Flag of Australia.svg.png Green Gold Blue Black Auto racing color AUS.png
B 22px-Flag of Belgium (civil).png Yellow   Black Auto racing color B.png
BR 22px-Flag of Brazil.png Pale yellow Chassis/Wheels: Green Black Auto racing color BR.png
BUL 22px-Flag of Bulgaria.svg.png Green White   Red on white Auto racing color BUL.png
C 22px-Flag of Cuba.svg.png Yellow Black   Black on white Auto racing color C.png
CDN 22px-Flag of the Canada.png Traditional colours are white and green parallel stripes After the Canadian flag was changed in 1965 Red with wide lengthwise white stripes became popular Black Auto racing color CDN.png
CH 20px-Flag of Switzerland.png Red White   Black Auto racing color CH.png
CS Flag of Czechoslovakia.png Czech Republic White Blue/white Underframe: Red Blue Auto racing color CS.png
D 22px-Flag of Germany.png White bare metal (aluminium, "Silver Arrows") Red Auto racing color D.png
DK 22px-Flag of Denmark.png Silver-grey National flag as a lengthwise stripe on bonnet Red on white Auto racing color DK.png
E 22px-Flag of Spain.svg.png Red Yellow Chassis/Springs: Red Black on yellow or white on red Auto racing color E.png
ET 22px-Flag of Egypt.svg.png Pale violet   Red on white Auto racing color ET.png
F 22px-Flag of France.png Blue   White Auto racing color F.png
FIN 22px-Flag of Finland.png White Two blue stripes on bonnet shaping a Latin cross Black on white Auto racing color FIN.png
GB 22px-Flag of the United Kingdom.png Green Scottish entrant Rob Walker used dark blue with a white noseband and Ecurie Ecosse also used dark blue; the Arrol Johnston team pre-World War 1 used navy tartan White Auto racing color GB.png
GR 22px-Flag of Greece.svg.png Pale Blue Two white lengthwise stripes on bonnet Black on white Auto racing color GR.png
H 22px-Flag of Hungary.svg.png Front: White
Rear: Green
Red   Black Auto racing color H.png
HJK 22px-Flag of Jordan.svg.png Brown   Black on white Auto racing color HJK.png
I 3dflagsdotcom italy2bs.gif Red   White Auto racing color I.png
IRL 22px-Flag of Ireland.png Green Horizontal band of orange all around White Auto racing color IRL.png
J 22px-Flag of Japan.png Ivory White Red disk on bonnet White on black Auto racing color J.png
L 22px-Flag of Luxembourg.svg.png Tricolor lengthwise stripe (red/white/blue) from front to rear Black on white Auto racing color L.png
MAS 22px-Flag of Malaysia.svg.png Yellow White Black on white/Black Auto racing color MAS.png
MC 22px-Flag of Monaco.svg.png White Red lateral stripe around car Black on white
MEX 22px-Flag of Mexico.png Gold Different designs in royal blue (Not strictly an X on the bonnet) Black on white (not red on white) Auto racing color MEX.png
NL 22px-Flag of the Netherlands.png Orange   White Auto racing color NL.png
NZ 22px-Flag of New Zealand.png Green and silver Black and silver   Auto racing color NZ.png
PHI 22px-Flag of the Philippines.png Red and Blue yellow
P 22px-Flag of Portugal.png Red Underframe: White White Auto racing color P.png
PL 22px-Flag of Poland.svg.png White Underframe: Red Red on white Auto racing color PL.png
RCH 22px-Flag of Chile.svg.png Red Blue Underframe: White Blue/red or red on white Auto racing color RCH.png
S 22px-Flag of Sweden.svg.png Blue bottom, yellow top, three cross bands of blue on top of bonnet White Auto racing color S.png
T 22px-Flag of Thailand.svg.png Pale blue with yellow horizontal band around body and bonnet Wheels: Pale yellow White on blue Auto racing color T.png
U 22px-Flag of Uruguay.svg.png Pale blue with large red band around the lower part of bonnet White on black Auto racing color U.png
USA 22px-Flag of the United States.png White with blue lengthwise stripes Underframe: Blue Blue on white Auto racing color USA.png
ZA 22px-Flag of South Africa.png Gold Green   Black on yellow Auto racing color ZA.png

See also