Who designed the French Grand Prix gorilla trophy? F1 sculpture's origins

Eve Edwards June 20, 2021
Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images


If you tuned into the French Grand Prix this year, you may have spotted that the Formula 1 event has a rather unique trophy design.

The French Grand Prix took place this weekend at the Paul Ricard Circuit. Red Bull’s Dutch racing driver Max Verstappen beat out Lewis Hamilton with just a few laps remaining to strengthen his place at the top of the World Championship standings.

With Max raising the trophy on Sunday, 20 June, some were curious about the trophy’s unique gorilla design. Let’s take a look at who designed the trophy.

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Who designed the French Grand Prix gorilla trophy?

  • Richard Orlinski

The gorilla trophy was designed by Richard Orlinski, an artist and sculptor.

The French artist focussed his career on creating art in 2004. Since then, Orlinski has become one of – if not the – best-selling contemporary French artists around the world. His work is represented in over 90 galleries.

Richard Orlinski is “animated by the desire to democratize art by making it accessible to the greatest number” of people. With his notable trophy design for Formula 1, Orlinski reaches people all around the world with his artwork.

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Why is the trophy of a gorilla?

In Orlinski’s biography, it states that he is “inspired by the wildest animals and iconic objects that have marked their generation,” much in the same vein as Pop Art. Orlinski’s sculptures are largely of wild animals. Some of the animals featured include bears, bulls, tigers, cobras and even a T-Rex. Orlinski has two gorilla sculptures: ‘Wild Kong’ and ‘Wild Kong oil’.

Both gorilla sculptures are based on King Kong. The trophy design displayed at the French Grand Prix is modelled on the ‘Wild Kong oil‘ sculpture. Instead of holding an oil barrel above his head, Kong holds a Pirelli tire.

The original gorilla trophy featured a tricolore pattern, representing the French flag. The trophy for the 2021 race was plain white.

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This design hasn’t exactly gone down well with F1 viewers. Although the gorilla trophy has been listed as one of the main things to love about the French Grand Prix, some viewers on social media have been confused by the choice.

One F1 viewer tweeted: “Wtf is with the gorilla trophy? Weirdest trophy on the whole of the year.”

Another asked: “Someone please explain the gorilla trophy”

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Eve spends her days writing about everything culture-related. From celebrity news to music, film and television, Eve covers all bases. When she’s not writing you can find her making music or mastering the art of homemade pasta.