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Akzonobel claims pole position with innovative paint system for McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 Team



By Tim Wright



Published January 20, 2009
AkzoNobel has been named the official supplier to the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 team. The company has developed a high-performance Sikkens paint system, which will be used by Heikki Kovalainen and Lewis Hamilton as the team prepares to defend its 2008 World Driver’s title.

Unveiled recently at McLaren Technology Centre in Woking, Surrey, UK, the new Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-24 has been finished with a Sikkens products tailor-made by AkzoNobel Car Refinishes to meet the technical demands of grand prix racing.

"We are delighted to welcome a renowned company such as AkzoNobel into our world-class partner portfolio," said Ron Dennis, chairman and CEO of McLaren Group. "We know that Formula 1 as a sport has a high visual impact and attracts millions of viewers around the globe. Since 2006, the unique chrome finish has become our distinctive racing livery, providing us with 14 grand prix victories. We look forward to a long and successful partnership with them."

"Our coatings expertise is geared towards providing our partners with custom-made technical or performance solutions,” said AkzoNobel CEO Hans Wijers. “This business partnership between two world-class performers is a perfect example of our commitment to continued innovation and I’m convinced that together we will prove to be a winning team."

Stringent technical requirements needed to be met before the partnership could be approved. A combination of VOC compliant systems and specialty products helps to optimize performance, while at the same time producing the signature chrome finish of the MP4-24.

As well as producing a highly distinctive chrome finish, the new Sikkens system has also halved the time required to cure the new bodywork parts, vitally speeding up the paint application process.

"Pushing technological boundaries is a key part of our product development and we’re delighted to have provided Vodafone McLaren Mercedes with a superior system which matches their need for performance, speed and precision,” said Jim Rees, general manager of AkzoNobel Car Refinishes.

"Working with AkzoNobel we have developed the technical ability to apply specialist coatings to composite materials and various substrates, tackling lighter and more environmentally friendly products,” said Martin Whitmarsh, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes CEO Formula 1. “We have already achieved some significant results in this field by reducing the average curing time of bodywork parts to more than a half and lowering the paint shop’s carbon footprint by up to 80%. We will continue working with AkzoNobel Car Refinishes on further innovations as we investigate coating possibilities for both the cars we use now and the ones we plan to use in the future."

The youngest ever champion in Formula 1 history, Lewis Hamilton will begin the defense of his title in the new Sikkens-coated Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-24 in Australia on March 29.


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