Analysis: Fuel is new F1 battleground
|By Jonathan Noble||Friday, May 16th 2014, 12:36 GMT|
Formula 1 teams believe that fuel has now become a key part of the sport's technology development fight.
While teams have gained huge knowledge of the competitive differences between the different cars this season, one surprise conclusion has been about just how important fuel now is to performance.
With speed differences having shown up between the same engines using different fuel, and big straight speed gains being found with new petrol products, F1's leading figures believe a new battleground has opened up.
And it is one that could result in it being as important to the competitive order as more traditional areas like aerodynamics and tyre wear.
Red Bull boss Christian Horner told AUTOSPORT: "Fuel for sure is a key area of development and something that all the fuel suppliers are working on very hard. This is an opportunity for fuel suppliers to make a difference."
Williams head of vehicle performance Rob Smedley said: "There can be a lot of performance in it, especially as it's a new breed of internal combustion engine - a V6 with different compression rates and all the rest of it.
"There's a very different fuelling regime both in terms of efficiency, and power so there's lots to be gained there."
While the new 100 kg limit of fuel per race may have pointed towards a focus on simple efficiency, engine makers say that big power gains are possible from better fuel because of the way new energy recovery systems are working.
Renault's F1 engine chief Rob White said: "Fuel consumption improvement can directly influence end of straight speed quite a lot.
"I don't want to over egg the pudding, but if you gain sufficient fuel to be able to spend a little bit of fuel on generating electricity, it opens the door to energy deployment.
"There can be perhaps a biggish difference on end of straight speed, and a noticeable difference on lap time, from just a small change in fuel consumption."
For more on how fuel has become a primary focus of teams in their quest for more speed, click here.