The black livery is making a return for the Team that has been a dominant force in Formula OneTM and made history with seven consecutive FIA Formula OneTM Constructors’ Championships. The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team has used the colour again on the livery of its 2021 title contender, the Mercedes-AMG F1 W12 E Performance, which was unveiled on 2 March 2021 at the Team’s headquarters in Brackley, England, ahead of the first race weekend of the season in Bahrain.
Andrew Moody, Head of Paint and Graphics at Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team, says, “the new livery combines the all-black from 2020’s season with a re-introduction of our iconic Stirling Silver and we have revamped the Petronas green. The burgundy that represents Principal Partner INEOS is back, too.” The Team has relied on Spies Hecker, one of Axalta’s premium global refinish brands, a leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings and an Official Team Supplier, for more than seven years.
Performance and perfection
The Mercedes-AMG F1 W12 E Performance is the first to use the E PERFORMANCE designation, signifying the Team’s closer alignment to the Mercedes-AMG performance division.
E PERFORMANCE is the new technology label that will be used in product names and badges on all forthcoming Mercedes-AMG performance hybrid cars. The link is reflected in the car’s most striking addition to the new livery: the AMG branding on the engine cover.
Andrew explains how complex these are to paint. “The AMG pattern is painted, that’s the first and most important thing to say. Many people assume they are decals, but they are not. Each one is graded between two colours – white and grey – depending on where they sit, so this is a very complex area of the livery. Because of that, we must rely on Spies Hecker to perform because we simply don’t have the option for a second try. Our painters need smooth application, easy blending and a perfect finish. It’s very similar to the races themselves, we have to deliver from the moment we are on track,” he says.
Black fades into silver
With an average global TV audience of 87.4 million people per Grand Prix, having a strong, bold livery that stands out and leaves a lasting impression is vital. This year’s black – Midnight Black – is a non-metallic, solid black that is deep and rich in colour.
Andrew says, “It is different to the black we used last season. It is even more intense, giving a truly striking presence on track and on TV.”
The fade from black on the front of the car to Stirling Silver on the engine cover is extremely complicated as it encompasses six unique shades. It passes across seven different panels, each of which is a different shape. This complexity means it is essential to the design that every interchangeable component match up with the adjacent panels perfectly in terms of placement, size, shape, colour and shading. In a 2021 season with 23 races over 10 months – including three double headers and two triple headers – the rapid painting of components between race weekends to ensure the race cars are ready for each Grand Prix weekend is especially challenging for Andrew’s team.