Each year, as a new Formula 1 season begins, the teams present their latest racing cars with new colour schemes. Like the cars you buy from showrooms, these colour schemes are applied using automotive paints with advanced technology.

In the case of the McLaren team, the new MCL33’s primary colour, known as ‘Papaya Spark’ is applied using AkzoNobel’s coatings technology to provide protection and performance – all essential elements for F1 racing. The innovative coating systems supplied by the company have enabled the team to significantly reduce the total weight of paint and decrease processing time by more than 50%.

The 2018 McLaren F1 racing car

You may not have heard of AkzoNobel before but it is the company that acquired ICI Paints – a brand which would be familiar to older readers – in 2008. While ICI has a history that goes back to 1926, one of the entities of AkzoNobel has an even longer history dating back to 17th century.

The colour chosen for McLaren’s 2018 racing car is reflective of McLaren’s racing heritage. The team first used the Papaya colour scheme in 1968 – the decision of founder Bruce McLaren. Burton Blue and Cerulean Blue also feature on the latest F1 car.

McLaren has used the Papaya colour for its racing cars since 1968.

“Working together with AkzoNobel is an example of how a long-term partnership can continue to challenge and inspire engineers and scientists,” commented Jonathan Neale, Chief Operating Officer, McLaren Technology Group. “The technical developments AkzoNobel has delivered this year will be key to our competitive position on track. Co-innovating on projects over the winter has resulted in significant weight and time-savings and a water-based, more sustainable livery.”

AkzoNobel’s new coating systems offer numerous performance and sustainability benefits, such as the latest UV-curing primer technology, low film weight, a water-based colour coat and super-fast clearcoat – all with significantly reduced emissions. The company’s Sikkens brand – a frontrunner in providing premium automotive paint solutions – has helped McLaren become a leader in the sustainability race for the new F1 season. The two companies have been working closely together since 2008, when AkzoNobel first became the official supplier of paint solutions to the McLaren F1 team.

[Chips Yap]

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