Axalta’s refinishing brand Spies Hecker ensured Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix cars looked stunning with specialized paintwork
:Axalta (NYSE: AXTA), a leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings, is an official team supplier to Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport. Axalta’s premium global refinish brand Spies Hecker has been responsible for the paint on the team’s Silver Arrows race cars, including this year’s Mercedes-AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+, for more than five years. Axalta works closely with the team’s Paint Shop in Brackley, UK, to ensure the cars’ paintwork is light, durable and can withstand the extreme track conditions.
While Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport were already crowned the 2018 FIA Formula OneTM World Constructors’ Champions, at the recent Brazilian Grand Prix, and driver Lewis Hamilton taking his fifth FIA Formula OneTM World Drivers’ Championship, at October’s Mexico Grand Prix, the team still wanted to win the final race, which was achieved with Lewis Hamilton’s 73rdcareer victory and 4thrace win in Abu Dhabi.
Fadi Medlej, Managing Director Middle East Region at Axalta Coating Systems, said: “It’s gratifying to know Axalta products are an integral part of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport team’s success, and the regional team was certainly proud to see the stunning cars live on track and see our partner team win!”
Components of the race cars generally come back between races to the team’s Paint Shop in Brackley to be refinished with Spies Hecker products before being sent back out for the next race and the two chassis are re-painted regularly. However, once the European leg of the season is over, the timing challenges take on a new dimension for Andrew Moody, Head of Paint and Graphics for Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, and his team.
The two chassis of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport’s F1 W09 EQ Power+ race cars have a scheduled re-paintahead of the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, and the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in the United Arab Emirates. And four of Andrew’s Spies Hecker painters head to Austin and Abu Dhabi to do that.
Andrew’s team sends everything those four painters need – from gloves, sanding paper, scalpels and spray guns, to all the Spies Hecker products and paint mixes – by sea freight at least two months in advance. “We take everything we need,” he says. “If we could, we would probably even take the spray booths! We have to deliver consistent perfection in everything we do, every day. And that shouldn’t – and isn’t – impacted simply because we are working somewhere other than our Paint Shop.” And when speed and accuracy is required for the painting, Andrew knows he can rely on Spies Hecker to deliver.
In Abu Dhabi, the four painters arrived on the Saturday, a week before the race. They had a designated area at the Mercedes-Benz approved bodyshop. Once there, they unpacked and checked all the freight, and set everything up. Both chassis arrived Monday morning. The painters then began the gruelling job to strip back and repaint both chassis, which can go on long into the night. They followed the clearly set out processes in Job Element Sheets, which detail the what, how and why, including, of course, all the Spies Hecker products.
They always use a variety of Spies Hecker products, including Priomat®Wash Primer 4075, then either Permasolid®HS Vario Primer Surfacer 5340, a high solids primer surfacer, or Permasolid®HS Performance Surfacer 5320, a fast drying 2K HS sanding surfacer. Permasolid®HS Speed Clear Coat 8800 is used on parts that need to dry quickly, and for everything else, they use Permasolid®HS Optimum Plus Clear Coat 8650.
For the striking colour gradients on the 2018 livery, there’s the main Permahyd®Hi-TEC 480 Basecoat highly reflective silver colour plus four additional silver tones, graded one to four, moving into black. And there are three different greens and two different blues for the flow lines. None of the colours are commercially available.
Tuesday morning, the two beautifully repainted chassis were collected and taken to the track where they were readied for the race weekend.