From firstname.lastname@example.org Fri Apr 17 09:36:42 1992
THE COLOR IN RACING (ROAD AND TRACK- 1960)
REFERENCES are often made, in R&T, to the "red" cars from Ferrari or Maserati, the "green" cars from Vanwall, Aston Martin or Jaguar and the "white" or "sil- ver" cars from Mercedes-Benz. These are not arbitrary colors picked by each construc- tor for his cars (except in the case of strictly national, local or club competition, where anything goes), but are the result of a decision reached in the early days of racing. Cars were, and still are, distinguishable by assigned num- bers, but further separation (prompted no doubt by na- tionalistic feelings) was felt desirable. This is why racing cars from Italy are red, the cars from England are green and the cars from Germany are white (or sometimes sil- ver-the result of leaving the aluminum body unpainted). A private owner will generally paint his car in the color(s) of his own country, rather than the manufactur- er's. According to the C.S.I. of the F.I.A., "The use of distinctive colors of nationality is compulsory when the supplementary regulations of the competition require it. These colors are determined by the nationality of the competitor." So, a Ferrari owned by an Englishman would be painted green, even though it was an Italian car. Thus, it has become a tradition for racing cars to be painted in the colors of the entrant, although they are oc- casionally seen with minor variations. Mercedes, for ex- ample, honored Englishman Richard Seaman, who was a Mercedes team driver, with a green border around the grille opening of his car. The shrewd Germans had also noted that this would allow quick identification if Seaman and one of the other Mercedes drivers (who would be in identical cars) chanced to pass rapidly by the pits at the same time. Because these colors were assigned during the days when racing cars possessed chassis that were visible be- neath the body, many countries have a combination of colors: one for the body, one for the, chassis and some- times another for some other part, such as the wheels or hood. This presented a problem when streamlining came into fashion and the chassis disappeared from sight. As a consequence, the color formerly allotted to the chassis is now applied in the form of stripes or other trim over the color assigned to the body by the Code Sportif Interna- tional of the Federation Internationale de L'Automobile. To further simplify (or complicate) matters, green, the color assigned to the British Empire, is used as a basis for all cars from England and its possessions. The common- wealth countries use green as a body color with other colors, at their choice, as stripes. Canada, for example, uses two white stripes 4 in. wide, one on each side of the car's centerline and 6 in. apart. British racing green, to dispel some of the arguments, is not any particular shade of green, but Napier green is preferred. Stirling Moss drove a light sea-green BRM in the 1959 French Grand Prix. This was quite contrary to the accepted general opinion of what constitutes "British Racing Green" but was, nevertheless, acceptable. The color applied to a racing car has also had its share of side effects. For many years U.S. drivers would not drive in, or in competition with, cars painted any shade of green; they believed the color to be unlucky. This has diminished in recent years, especially since the advent of more British international competition. The chart lists the racing colors of each country as as- signed by the C.S.I. The car number and its background color, a necessary aid to identity, are made to contrast as as much as possible to aid race officials and lap scorers. Colors assigned to chassis or underframe in the chart are now applied to stripes or trim.
COUNTRY COLORS OF CAR NUMBERS Argentina Body: blue red on white Hood: yellow Chassis: black Belgium Body: yellow black Brazil Body: pale yellow black Chassis and wheels:green Bulgaria Body: green red Hood: white Canada Body: green white Stripes: white Chile Body: red half blue- Hood: blue half red or Underframe: white all red on white Cuba Body: yellow white on black Hood: black Czecho- Body: white blue slovakia Hood: blue and white Underframe: red Egypt Pale violet red on white Finland Black blue on white France Blue white Germany White red Great Green white Britain Holland Orange white Hungary Body, front: white black Body, rear: green Hood: red Irish Free Green with horizontal white State band of orange around body Italy Red white Luxem- Pearlgray white on red burg Mexico Gold white on black Monaco White with red hori- black on white zontal band around body Poland Body and hood: white red Underframe: red Portugal Body and hood: red white Underframe: white Scotland Green white South Body: Gold black on white Africa Hood: green Spain Hood: yellow black on yellow Body and chassis: red white on red Sweden Body and hood, lower white part:blue-upper:yellow Three cross bands of blue on top of hood Switzer- Hood: white black land Body and underframe: red Thailand Body and hood: white on blue pale blue with yellow horizontal band around body and hood Wheels: pale yellow United Body and hood: white blue on white States Underframe: blue Venezuela Body: white Stripe:green