A modern sponsorship

Felipe Massa, Spanish GP 2005

Felipe Massa, Spanish GP 2005 

 © The Cahier Archive

Sauber Petronas has just agreed a three-year deal with Mitsubishi Electric Europe for the supply of electro-discharge machining (EDM) tools to the Swiss team to improve its production capability. In exchange Mitsubishi Electric will receive extensive marketing and advertising rights.

EDM is a method used to accurately shape any material that will conduct electricity. It creates controlled sparks which erode away the unwanted metal. This is very useful when materials are too hard to be machined by conventional means or when the complexity of the parts is such as to make machining impossible. There are two EDM processes: die-sinking EDM and wire-cut EDM. Die-sinking is useful in the creation of molds, while wire-cut is used for external work. The most-advanced systems can work in different axis and are fully automatic The result is highly accurate and has very fine finishes.

EDM technology is becoming more and more important in F1 as designers look for more complicated parts which previously could not be built by conventional means.

The machines cost large sums of money and so barter deals have become common. The teams may not hard cash but they get technology which will help them to improve. The F1 media tends to get excited about $10m sponsorship deals if there is just a question of money but some of the barter deals in F1these days are worth that sort of money as well.

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