Green for go for Spies Hecker

Spies Hecker has revealed the lengths it went to in designing the liveries for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport Silver Arrows.

The 2017 F1 W08 EQ Power+ car is striking. EQ stands for ‘Electric Intelligence’ and is derived from the Mercedes-Benz brand values of ‘Emotion and Intelligence’.

The design process for the 2017 car began while the 2016 season was still in full swing. Designers from the factory in Brackley, England, and Daimler AG in Germany worked on concepts that were submitted to senior-level management for consideration. The designers also work in close cooperation with Andrew Moody, head of paint and graphics at Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport, who, with his team of 15 in Brackley, is ultimately responsible for re-creating the conceptual designs on the car.

He said, ‘We give feedback from our perspective. So, not on how intricate or difficult the design may be to re-create once, but rather on how easily it can be reproduced accurately many hundreds or thousands of times, and under extraordinarily tight timeframes, during the season.’

Once the final livery has been agreed, Moody receives computer-generated renders of the new car with the new livery. Based solely on those, he and his team re-create the design initially on a few panels; this year it was the side-pods and chassis sides. Images are taken of the painted panels and sent to the designers, and adjustments are made where necessary.

Andrew continued, ‘Once everyone is happy, we usually get a visit from the senior decision makers so they can see what the painted livery looks like in person. And when we have the green light, we then paint the previous season’s car in the new livery, just to get a feel for it.’

The 2017 Mercedes-AMG F1 W08 EQ Power+ race car, launched at Silverstone in England on 23 February, has 13 colours, none of which are commercially available: five shades of green, three shades of blue, four shades of graphite silver, and the main colour, called Stirling Silver after Sir Stirling Moss who drove for Mercedes in 1955.

The paint and graphics team uses a variety of Spies Hecker products on the race cars. It starts with Priomat Wash Primer 4075. Then it uses 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. Once the surfaces are prepped, the teams follows with Permahyd Hi-TEC Base Coat 480.

Andrew said, ‘Even after extensive training to apply the new livery in advance of the season, it takes about 150 hours to paint a race car, with the nose and rear wing each taking about 12 hours.’

Over the course of this season, they will paint literally thousands of panels and components, some weeks as many as 150.

Joachim Hinz, Spies Hecker brand manager for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said, ‘This year’s livery is really very special and looks fantastic. We’re delighted the Spies Hecker Hi-TEC Performance System has once again proven itself to the team to be a robust, fast and efficient refinish paint material that delivers outstanding colour accuracy over and over again for the team. And it can stand up to the incredibly challenging and difficult environments of today’s international F1 circuits.’