Axalta Coating Systems (NYSE: AXTA), a leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings, is an Official Team Supplier to Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport. Spies Hecker, one of Axalta’s premium refinish paint brands, has been responsible for more than four years for the paint on the instantly-recognisable previous championship-winning Silver Arrows as well as on this year’s car, the Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+.
Axalta’s involvement in Formula OneTM – the premier global racing discipline – is key to the company’s decades-long racing partnerships in the US, Europe, Asia, and Latin America. These relationships allow Axalta to demonstrate its technology and product innovations while strengthening its commitment to racing of all kind – major series like NASCAR, WEC as well as Formula Student racing.
For the Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+ it’s the innovation at the heart of the Spies Hecker product systems that counts. The weight, quality, and durability of the paintwork are extremely important because the race cars must endure extremely tough track conditions. But the technology and innovation behind the brand is also perfectly suited for bodyshops even though the Paint Shop at Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport in Brackley, England, operates quite differently to a regular bodyshop.
“Unlike most bodyshops, we know the exact colours we will be working with all season,” says Andrew Moody, Head of Paint and Graphics for Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport. Between the main Permahyd® Hi-TEC 480 basecoat highly reflective silver colour – a colour developed by the team with Spies Hecker in 2013 called Stirling Silver, named after Sir Stirling Moss who drove for Mercedes-Benz in 1955 – to the black, there are four additional silver tones, graded one to four, none of which are commercially available.
“There are around 100 different components in rotation at any given time, plus all the spares that go to each race, so we are faced with a unique set of challenges, not least of which is scale. We mix Stirling Silver in 12 litre batches, which would be ridiculous in a normal bodyshop,” says Andrew.
While the finished look of the Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+ is incredibly important, Andrew explains, “For us everything is ultimately about weight and aerodynamics. The acceptable tolerances for an aerodynamic part might be 0.3mm, which would be miniscule for most refinishers. But what we share with many bodyshops across the world is that we rely on the excellent reliability, consistency and speed of application from Spies Hecker.”