Henkel Helps Shape Success in F1 Race Car Construction
Innovative Technologies from Henkel Help Form the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-22
The 2007 FIA Formula One World Championship season is shaping up strongly for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes: Three one-two finishes, four wins and 15 out of 18 possible podium finishes in the first nine of the 17 Grand Prix Races this year for Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton. Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is the only team to score points in every race with both drivers. With strong leads in both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships the team is making its mark this season. Invisible but present in more than 300 different applications throughout the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-22 are the products and technologies of a long-standing partner: Henkel.
Aiming to extend this season’s strong lead, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes heads to the Grand Prix of Europe in Germany. McLaren pioneered the use of carbon-fibre composites in Formula One race car construction, creating sleekly shaped parts strengthened with “honeycomb” interiors. With the help of innovative products and technologies from Henkel, Official Supplier to Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, the team’s design engineers meanwhile have become experts in manufacturing specialist parts – from the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-22’s aerodynamically shaped nose cone to its tail wing.
“Speed, agility and reliability are important not only on the track but across all aspects of Formula One racing,” said Martin Whitmarsh, CEO, Formula One, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. “When it comes to constructing the car, we also need to team up with partners that we can depend on and that share our passion for being the best. In constant pursuit of winning, our engineers are teaming with Henkel to construct the MP4-22.”
Throughout a 13-year association with the team, the number of different applications of Henkel products on the car has grown from around 50 to more than 300 today. Henkel’s innovative manufacturing solutions are playing an ever stronger role in molding the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-22’s carbon-fibre body parts. To make a component such as the car’s nose cone, the very first step is to make the pattern from which a mould can be made. The pattern must have a low surface energy so that it will easily release from the mould. For this, patterns are coated with a minimum of four coats of Frewax, a Henkel product combining the unique advantages of Hysol®, Frekote® and wax.
To finish the moulds, each is treated with Frekote 55NC, a semi-permanent release agent that chemically bonds to the mould surface to form a micro-thin film that remains stable at temperatures exceeding those of most molding processes. Used for all molded components on the MP4-22, Frekote 55-NC dries within one minute and enables Vodafone McLaren Mercedes to get more productivity out of each mold.
As all molded parts are created from the outside-in, the first material fitted in the readied mould must provide for a high-quality paintable surface and must serve to improve the surface quality of honeycomb-stiffened parts. For the MP4-22’s molded parts, the product of choice is Synskin®, an epoxy-based finishing product from Henkel.
“Henkel’s involvement in Formula One racing goes far beyond the presence of our logo on the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-22,” said Alois Linder, Executive Vice President, Adhesives Technologies, Henkel. “Our partnership with the team offers an optimal proving ground to expand the innovative uses of Henkel products and technologies deployed in thousands of industrial applications and consumer goods that touch people’s lives, whether they know it or not, every day.”
About McLaren McLaren Racing, the company behind the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team, was formed in September 1980 as a result of a merger between Team McLaren and Project Four, a British company owned by Ron Dennis, now Chairman and CEO of the McLaren Group. McLaren has won eleven Formula One Drivers’ Championships and eight Formula One Constructors’ Championships including the 1998 and 1999 Drivers’ World Championship. McLaren has competed in Formula One since 1966 and has proven to be one of the most successful Formula One teams of all time with 152 Grands Prix wins. To date, McLaren has raced in 623 Grands Prix. For more information, go to www.mclaren.com.
Henkel - A Driving Force in the Racing World Around the world, Henkel has an extensive commitment to motorsports. In 2004, the Henkel logo appeared for the first time on the rear-wing of the Team McLaren Mercedes race cars, thereby continuing the technical association with the team, which began in 1995 through the Loctite® brand. As Official Supplier, Henkel provides a wide variety of innovative solutions to the team. More than 300 different applications of Henkel products have been incorporated into the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-22 for its challenge in the 2007 FIA Formula One World Championship. For the 16-day, 8,000-kilometer 2007 Dakar Raid through grueling desert terrain, Henkel provided each racing team with an essential mechanical emergency kit containing a wide range of adhesives, sealants, maintenance products, cleaners and bonding tapes.