What Does it Take to Detail a Formula 1 Car? Here’s a Look for Students in Auto Detailing Training

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A Formula 1 race car is one of the most amazing feats of automotive engineering, tearing up the track in a combination of perfected design and performance to be able to maintain top speeds for hours on end. 

Achieving this marvel of ingenuity takes a lot of money, and as it turns out, the people holding the cash don’t just want their race cars to stun with speed—they also want them to look every part the winner they’re banking them to be.

Detailing one of these automotive rockets is no easy feat. Going way beyond a simple paint correction compound, polish, and wax, these cars need special attention to bring them back up to champion show quality. To understand what needs to be considered when detailing one of these special racing machines, let’s take a quick look at some of the best practices for polishing and beautifying an F1 car!

First Consider the Paint

It’s important to know a little about the paint on F1 cars before detailing them. As it turns out, the paint used on an F-1 car needs to be considered as a potential material that can add unnecessary weight. Just how much can a coat of paint possibly weigh, you may wonder? In race car driving, shedding each and every ounce will make the difference to having as smooth and aerodynamic surface as possible to reach the dizzying speeds needed on the track. 

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Every ounce of paint makes a difference to the overall weight of this racing machine

To that end, it turns out the thickness of paint can add critical differences in overall ounces. With this in mind, most Formula 1 race cars will use much thinner paint than the finishes used on average road vehicles, spraying on the bare minimum to get the colour, livery, and symbols of the racing badge. 

Pros Wash and Polish with Extreme Care Using Principles of Auto Detailing Training

With the paint so thin it can’t be measured with common paint depth gauges, even those with the most professional automotive detailing backgrounds can find polishing and compounding the panels on one of these race cars a challenge. Power washers are out, as the direct pressure wash is likely to damage or even remove such thin coats of paint. Hand washing becomes essential, but relies on more than a standard bucket of water, car-wash suds, and a delicate rag.

A special hose-free cleaning foam must be applied to start on the track grime. Once the dirt is loosened, the auto detailer must use the most delicate of touches with a microfibre pad, constantly testing each small area of the wash as they move along to ensure the pressure they’re applying is light enough to prevent surface damage.

An added challenge to the polish job comes from the many intakes, scoops, wings, and ducts to go over. Compressed air can be used on these areas, to blow out pebbles and grass without damaging the car’s delicate livery.

Get to Work on the Paint Correction

After the detailer’s had the chance to wash off all of the dirt and grime, imperfections will be easy to spot. An F-1 race car can sustain a lot of wear and tear to its thin finish during an average race season. A delicate polish is needed to remove the many track-side wipe down swirls sustained in the paint. Thin cracks in the thin material from the driver jumping in and out of the vehicle must also be attended to.

Delicate compounding by hand comes next, followed by the use of polishing tools for working on the car’s many intakes, scoops, wings and ducts. As with any supercar, those with auto detailing training come to know that the width, depth, and location of the area getting polished dictates the best type of tool and pad for the job. This final detailing on the tighter spots and angles of the F1 car completes the job.

Polishing up a Formula 1 car can be a nerve-wracking experience, but through a lot of patience and a respect for the depth of the job at hand, auto detailers behind the painstaking effort must surely find it rewarding to elevate these working cars back up from grime and nicks to racetrack-ready perfection.

Are you interested in learning how to bring cars up to showroom quality through an auto detailing course

Contact Automotive Training Centres for more information!

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