If you were to look down a list of iconic Formula 1 liveries, the Gold Leaf paint scheme that adorned a number of Team Lotus machines surely has to rank somewhere near the top. It was after all, the very first sponsor livery in F1.
Video: Emerson Fittipaldi leads Lotus 49 and 72 parade
Lotus’s F1 history is as bright and colourful as its cars' liveries, with seven constructors’ championships, six drivers’ titles, 74 race victories and 489 starts under its belt. Over a handful of decades in the sport, however, there are three special liveries in particular you’re likely to associate with the team. There’s the classic yellow and green paint scheme that adorned some of the earliest Lotus race cars, then there’s the black and gold John Player Special livery that sat so well on the Lotus 72. Then there’s the Gold Leaf red and gold scheme that sat on cars like the two you can see here, the first a Lotus 49C, the second a Lotus 72.
And who should be driving the Lotus 49C? The great Emerson Fittipaldi, a kind, generous legend who just so happened to be incredibly fast behind the wheel, winning the F1 world championship in 1972 with the Lotus 72 and in 1974 with the McLaren M23. The Gold Leaf 49C, though, was the first F1 car he drove, making his race debut at Silverstone in the very car you see here, which also happens to be the car in which Jochen Rindt won that year’s Monaco Grand Prix.
“I’m very proud to be a small part of the big history of Lotus,” Emerson said after his run up the Hill. “It’s always great to be here!” Well it’s always good to have you, Emerson!