published: February 20, 2012 By Phil Harnett

NGK team up with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1 team for 2012

NGK will be at the heart of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team’s challenge for the 2012 FIA Formula 1 World Championship.

The company is supplying its racing spark plugs for the team’s new MP4-27 car which will once again be driven by British F1 stars Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton.

McLaren has high hopes for the MP4-27 as it fights for this year’s drivers’ and constructors’ titles after finishing second in both categories last year and began track testing last week at Spain’s Circuito de Jerez in preparation for the start of the 2012 season in Melbourne, Australia on March 18.

Brian Childs, Deputy Managing Director, NGK Spark Plugs (UK) Ltd, said: “NGK is proud to once again supply the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1 team with our racing spark plugs which have been specially designed for Formula 1. With two former World champions behind the wheel, we are looking forward to the team challenging for both the drivers’ and constructors’ championship this season.”

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is the only team in Formula 1 whose driver line-up comprises two World champions. Jenson Button, who was runner-up last year, was F1 champion in 2009, and Lewis Hamilton was the 2008 champion. Between them, the pair have notched-up 22 Grand Prix victories for the team.

Jenson said: “With the regulations remaining relatively stable, we’ve really been able to focus on the detail with this year’s car. I still think we had a very fast package last year. It was very strong in certain areas and our race pace was almost always fantastic, but we’re hoping for a further step forwards in 2012.”

Lewis added: “Jenson and I won six races with MP4-26 last year and I think we’ve been able to retain all the strengths and the reliability of that design while also incorporating lots of improvements and new ideas into the new car.”

The all-new Vodafone McLaren Mercedes MP4-27 closely resembles last year’s six- race-winning car, but the 2012 chassis has been substantially revised from the ground-up, with all major systems updated or re-designed for the new season.

The most evident visual differences include more tightly waisted rear bodywork, developed to improve flow to the rear of the car, and a revised cooling system, which re-directs the gearbox oil-cooler. Last year’s U-shaped sidepods have also been re-designed, a legacy of the FIA’s new exhaust regulations that redefine the shape of the rear bodywork. MP4-27 is powered by a 2.4-litre Mercedes-Benz FO 108Z, eight-cylinder engine, which produces 18,000rpm.