It’s now been a bit over 10 years since Jenson Button surprisingly became Formula One world champion. For the 2019 season, Button has founded Rocket Motorsport and revived the fluorescent Brawn GP livery in which he won the title. Rocket Motorsport's designer Andy Werner had a chat with us about the details of applying the distinct design of championship-winning Formula 1 livery to entirely different types of race cars.
Rocket Motorsport has fielded a variety of racing series since its foundation: an Acura NSX GT3 in the Blancpain GT Series 2019, a McLaren 720S GT3 in its 2020 edition, a go-kart and a trophy truck in the 2019 Mint 400 and Baja 1000 rallies. The team name origins from Jenson Button's late father John who originally founded the Rocket Motorsport team in the late 80s and supported some big names like Lewis Hamilton during their racing career.
The project was kicked off shortly before Christmas 2018 when Andy Werner got a call from Mazen Fawaz, Managing Director of Singer Vehicle Design and co-founder of Rocket Motorsports. The idea of going with the Brawn GP style white livery with black and fluorescent yellow accents came from Jenson Button himself, particularly as 2019 would be the tenth anniversary of his F1 title.
The trophy truck is completely contrary to the rounded areas of a Formula One chassis
“The goal was to keep the basic idea. But since the shapes of the cars are completely different, we had to do some modifications. Due to its ‘cubic’ shape, the trophy truck is completely contrary to the rounded areas of a Formula One chassis”, Andy Werner explains. ”The biggest challenge were the notches behind behind the front wheels.“
While the Formula One car was still predominantly white back then, Rocket’s liveries are a lot more flamboyant. Especially the truck comes with large fluorescent yellow areas the Brawn GP BGP 001 didn’t have to that extent. The GT3 car on the other hand seems to contain slightly more black and – mainly due to the shape of the car – only offers more cluttered space for sponsorship. Additionally, while the yellow lines that lead from the windshield down to the headlights are similar in both cars, the lines in the rear of the car are quite different.
A late change to the design was the inclusion of the media company Sky as a main sponsor which also had significant impact on the livery. Apart from the colourful logo on the doors, part of the yellow line leading to the back of the car and the area above the side windows now also feature Sky’s recognizable gradient.
On the front doors, you can also find a little black circular sticker. It’s a tribute to Jessi Combs, a race driver who died in August 2019 while trying to break her own four-wheel land speed record. She was also the girlfriend of Terry Madden, Rocket Motorsport’s co-driver.
For the 2020 season, the team switched from Acura to McLaren, thereby also changing some design elements. ”As the [McLaren] 720S GT3 offers bigger areas and less interruptions, it was clear that it needed a different approach. Basically, there was more leeway for the design.“
Also, note the driver's silhouette on the side doors. It's a mandatory element by World's Fastest Gamer, McLaren's eSports program that promotes Simracers into real cockpits. For 2020, its latest champion James Baldwin got a drive in the Rocket RJN car.
Not only did Andy Werner redesign the livery to make it fit onto the new chassis, he also designed a go-kart livery as well as Jenson Button's helmet for the 2020 season.
More information about this project can be found on Andy Werner's website.