Electrocatalytic activity of common noble metal (platinum, bimetallic platinum-ruthenium and palladium) nanoparticles (both unsupported and supported on Vulcan carriers) toward electrooxidation of formic acid in acid medium (0.5 mol dm–3 H2SO4) can be significantly enhanced by dispersing them over thin film of zirconia (ZrO2). The enhancement effects concern increases of the electrocatalytic current densities (normalized against the mass of noble metal catalysts) recorded under both cyclic voltammetric and chronoamperometric conditions. The observations can be rationalized in terms of the ability of zirconia nanostructures to provide active hydroxyl groups capable of inducing the removal of the inhibiting COOH or CO type adsorbates from their surfaces. The role of Vulcan carriers is in improving electronic conductivity, in addition to facilitating distribution of catalytic metal sites at the electrocatalytic interface. Regarding dissimilar mechanisms for HCOOH oxidations at Pt, PtRu and Pd nanoparticles, the activating capabilities of zirconia differ depending on the potential applied thus reflecting distinct nature of electronic or chemical interactions. Specific interactions between the zirconia support and noble metal nanoparticles are also possible, particularly in the case of Pd-based catalysts where the enhancement effects are the most pronounced. Finally, it should be emphasized that, historically, representatives of Russian school of electrochemistry, including V.S. Bagotsky, were one of the first world-wide who investigated the formic acid oxidation and emphasized the importance of metal—support interactions during electrooxidation of small organic molecules at noble metal nanoparticles.