Spies Hecker, one of the premium refinish paint brands of Axalta, has been the official team supplier to Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team for eight years.
Along with supplying its innovative paint for the Mercedes-AMG F1 W12 E Performance, the brand also delivers its customised training to the 10 painters at the team’s paint shop in Brackley, Northamptonshire.
Andrew Moody, head of paint and graphics at Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team, said: “In our sport, you have to work hard every day to stay at the top of your game, putting 100 per cent effort in at all times.
“At Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team, this is true of every department, but none more so than the paint shop. With products constantly coming onto the market, techniques evolving and paint material technologies advancing, coupled with the immense pressure we have to turn components around between race weekends, it is vital that we are at the cutting edge of these advancements. And we rely on Spies Hecker to help us do that.”
Each year, Moody sends his painters on a two-day bespoke refresher course after the end of the F1 season at the Axalta Refinish Training Academy in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire. The facility combines expert tuition, the latest hardware and advanced coatings technologies in modern, spacious surroundings.
Moody works with Kevin Welling, the UK’s Axalta Refinish Training Academy’s manager, to curate the content specifically for painters so the issues that may need addressing are fully covered. The Academy has also helped Moody cross-train some of his team from one area of expertise to another.
“One of my team was solely dedicated to airbrushing but everyone needs to be able to handle all the different aspects of the job,” said Andrew Moody.”
“We worked with Kevin to create a course specifically to train this person as a painter, acknowledging their expertise as an airbrusher and the fact they had, at the time, worked in the paint shop for seven years. The skills were similar if not transferable, and our requirements were so specific an off-the-shelf course simply wouldn’t have been any good for what we needed.
“Being able to create something that was completely tailored to our requirements was ideal,” he added.
The Paint Shop uses a variety of Axalta’s Spies Hecker products, including Priomat Wash Primer 4075, then either Permasolid HS Vario Primer Surfacer 5340, a high-solid primer surfacer, or Permasolid HS Performance Surfacer 5320, a fast-drying 2K HS sanding surfacer.
The colour gradients on the W12’s livery are painted with Permahyd Hi-TEC 480 Basecoat and the paint shop finish components with Permasolid HS Optimum Plus Clear 8650 or with Permasolid HS Race Clear 8700.
When speed is of the essence, Moody says his team uses Permasolid Speed-TEC Clear Coat 8810.
“When Spies Hecker launched Permasolid Speed-TEC Clear Coat 8810, we were very interested in getting to grips with that as it is a clear coat that is particularly fast. We went on a very helpful one-day immersive course that took us through all the tips and tricks, and got us up to speed with it so we all felt very comfortable using it in the Paint Shop straight away,” Moody concluded.
During the F1 season, with as many as 22 races across 10 months, getting to the Axalta Refinish Training Academy for a refresher isn’t always possible for the painters at Brackley. But thanks to Spies Hecker’s Video-TEC video series on YouTube, Andrew Moody’s painters have an online resource to hand whenever they need it.