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Mercedes: 2022 F1 fuel the biggest change in hybrid era

Mercedes Formula 1 power unit boss Hywel Thomas says the move from E5 to E10 fuel for 2022 represents the biggest regulation change of the hybrid era.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12

Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

The four F1 manufacturers have been hard at work developing new fuels with their suppliers since the rule was announced, while also optimising their power units to work more effectively with the higher bio content.

Combustion has been one of the main areas of focus.

The change to E10 fuel was one of the key reasons why Red Bull fought hard to retain full development support from Honda over this winter and into the new season.

“As in every year, when we're developing the fuel, it's a partnership between ourselves and Petronas to make sure that the fuel is enjoying the PU experience, and the PU is enjoying the fuel experience,” Mercedes' High Performance Powertrains managing director Thomas said in a team video.

“The change this year to go into the E10 is probably the largest regulation change we've had since 2014.

“So it was a sizeable undertaking to make sure that we really developed that fuel, and the number of candidates that we had, the single cylinder running, the V6 running, it shouldn't be underestimated how much work that took.”

Petronas fuel

Petronas fuel

Photo by: Sutton Images

Thomas stressed that the significance of the rule change was not just the increase in bio content, but that it now has to be sustainable ethanol.

“There have been bio components in the fuel throughout the hybrid era. What we had was a requirement to have 5.75% by volume of bio components.

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“The change this year is that percentage has gone up, it's gone up to 10%. And also, instead of it being open what bio components you use, you've had to use ethanol.

“So the change to the bio content to being ethanol means is the engine is going to react slightly differently to the fuel.

"So some areas of performance we're really, really happy with, and [there are] other areas where honestly we're less happy.

“And what we have to do is change the fuel where we can, and change the hardware of the PU where we can, in order to maximise the effects of the things we do like, and minimise the effects of the things we don't.”

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