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#OMP50 Episode 6: Fasten your seatbelts for the new era

In 2008, after more than one year of attempts and negotiations, OMP changed ownership. The Percivale family, following the death of their eldest brother Piergiorgio, sold the company to Paolo and Alberto Delprato, with Federico Minoli, former Ducati Motor Holding CEO, as co-investor. The news was announced to employees on February 4, 2008, during a heavy snowfall in Ronco Scrivia. OMP’s handover, 35 years after its foundation, was an historic moment, but the process was managed gradually. In the meantime, the new top management immediately showed ideas and determination, focusing mainly on R&D and reorganization of the company.

To mark the start of a new era, OMP got a makeover with an updated, more minimalist and modern logo. The iconic yellow and black remained the main colors, but the font became more linear and agile, surrounded above and below by a horizontal line that conveys precision and stability. There were no changes of headquarters, as had been promised to the Percivale family, but the building underwent renovation work in order to increase production and warehouse capacity.

Research and development found new momentum, boosting a completely new project: the in-house production of safety belts. After two years of work, OMP harnesses debuted in Formula 1, where they equipped the Renault and Toro Rosso teams, which were also using the company’s racewear. For the first time since 2006, when Michael Schumacher was still on the grid, OMP returned to the podium thanks to Robert Kubica’s runner-up place at the Australian Grand Prix, second race of the season.

The harnesses mounted by Renault F1 Team and Scuderia Toro Rosso during the 2010 season, with a total weight of 900 grams, were considered the lightest ever in F1. However, it was not possible to rest on laurels and the OMP engineers were perfectly aware of this. Not surprisingly, in 2012 OMP then raised the bar by introducing harnesses with the innovative Dyneema fiber, a patented, German-made textile material with the same strength as steel but lighter than carbon.

As OMP went from strength to strength, Federico Minoli and Alberto Delprato began to focus on other businesses, with Paolo Delprato taking over full management of the company supported by his team.

Meantime, Dyneema belts already became an OMP flagship product, helping OMP to celebrate a Formula 1 World Championship title again. Thanks to the degree of satisfaction in previous years, the dominant Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport squad promoted OMP to “Team Supplier” status in 2017. That season, Lewis Hamilton won his fourth career title. The British driver, who strongly wanted OMP belts inside his cockpit, also conquered the 2019 and 2020 championships. The Mercedes era lasted until 2021, with an eighth consecutive Constructors’ World Championship.

The victories with Hamilton and Mercedes were the culmination of a continuous innovation process, during which the OMP engineers managed to reduce the harnesses’ weight to less than 600 grams. Every component had evolved, including adjusters. At first, they were made from steel, then aluminum and finally titanium. Evolution never stops.

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