Innovative Paint System for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 Team

AkzoNobel's Car Refinishes business has been announced the official supplier of paint solutions to the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Formula 1 team. The company has developed a high-performance Sikkens® paint system that will be used by Heikki Kovalainen and reigning champion Lewis Hamilton as the team prepares to defend its 2008 World Driver's title.

Unveiled at McLaren's Technology Center in Woking in the UK, the new Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-24 has been finished with a sophisticated, state-of-the art system of Sikkens products tailor-made by AkzoNobel Car Refinishes to meet the unique 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 therefore look forward to a long and successful partnership with them."

Added AkzoNobel CEO Hans Wijers, “Our coatings expertise is geared towards providing our partners with custom-made technical or performance solutions. 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 winning combination of VOC-compliant systems and specialty products helps to optimize the performance, while at the same time producing the striking, all-important chrome finish of the MP4-24.

As well as producing a highly distinctive high-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 that matches their need for performance, speed and precision," commented Jim Rees, General Manager of AkzoNobel Car Refinishes.

Martin Whitmarsh, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes CEO Formula 1 added, "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.

"We have already achieved some significant results in this field by reducing the average curing time of bodywork parts by more than half and lowering the paint shop's carbon footprint by up to 80 percent. 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 begins the defense of his title in the new Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-24 coated with the Sikkens system in Australia on March 29.