F1 goes all arty with oil: Lewis Hamilton portrait

Published: 08 June 2009

Click here to watch the video

It’s not often that the motoring world slickly merges with art, but Mobil 1 has made it happen. US artist David Macaluso has painted a portrait of Lewis Hamilton using oil not from a tube of paint, but from the sump of Hamilton’s F1 car.

The oil was taken from Vodafone McLaren Mercedes’ 2008 F1 car – the vehicle that took Hamilton to the world championship last year. Macaluso then took the oil and created the portrait you see before you.

Engine oil used as paint… how do you do that?

Over to the artist in question: ‘I’ve been recycling used motor oil into paintings since 2005, so it was exciting to do a portrait of Lewis, and it was a privilege. When people look at my portrait of Lewis Hamilton, I want them to know it contains the Mobil 1 that circulated inside his Mercedes-Benz engine.’

You can see Macaluso in action in the time-delay video player below.

So far, so corporate. Macaluso said: ‘Painting with the Mobil 1 used motor oil offered a wide range of tones and was obviously a very refined product from its texture. It was extremely smooth and very particle-rich, with all the engine dirt in perpetual suspension, making for a great painting medium.’

What does Hamilton think of his oil painting? Is he in love, or does it make him look – ahem – a dipstick? ‘I’ve always known that the Mobil 1 in my race car is an important component that can give us an edge over our rivals in some circumstances, but I’d never have guessed you could use it to paint with; the oil gives this picture a unique look and feel.’

Could the missing oil explain McLaren’s poor results this year?

Perhaps! But Mobil 1 is using this unique painting to raise awareness of its involvement in the UK-wide car maintenance initiative Check Your Oil, as next week is National Oil Check Week.

There’s a limited run of 50 prints of the painting, one of which you can win exclusively in a CAR Online competition - coming soon.