Promoted: Shell Innovations Keeping Scuderia Ferrari On Track

Autosport visits the Shell Track Lab in the Scuderia Ferrari garage ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix

Promoted: Shell Innovations Keeping Scuderia Ferrari On Track
In association with

This week at the Shell House in downtown Mexico City, Autosport has been learning all about the different aspects of the partnership between Shell and Scuderia Ferrari. But, of course, the most important part of that relationship has to be Shell's innovation when it comes to the fuels and lubricants used by the team.

After qualifying, Autosport had a unique chance to visit the Shell Track Lab - a mobile laboratory which travels to every single race - to speak to Shell's Formula 1 fuels development manager Benoit Poulet.

"At the track lab, we have a permanent team of two or three fuel and oil scientists working to provide the best service to Scuderia Ferrari," he explains.

"In the lab, we analyse the oil and fuel to make sure they are both fully compliant with FIA regulations, but we also feed back important information to Ferrari engineers on the life of the engine.

"This allows them to make essential decisions on whether parts need to be replaced and when."

Unsurprisingly, regulations are incredibly strict. Fuel must be tested repeatedly over each race weekend to ensure compliance.

As Autosport enters the Track Lab, samples of both Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel's fuel and lubricants are sitting neatly labelled on the counter, waiting to be analysed.

But it's about more than just compliance, as Benoit mentions. The lubricants used in each car gives the scientists valuable insight into the health of the engine - insight which they wouldn't be able to achieve without taking the engine entirely apart and testing each bit individually.

So when you see Scuderia Ferrari making changes to the car, more often than not, if it involves the engine, the information will have come directly from the Shell track Lab scientists.

As part of new regulations introduced for the 2018 season, each driver is allowed to use only three engines per season before penalties are applied, compared to last year's four.

That means protection is essential to ensure each SF71H powerunit can race 40% further than before.

Since 2014, when regulations introduced down-sized V6 turbocharged powerunits, these engines have had to work much harder than their predecessors; smaller and more advanced engines are having to produce increased performance and fuel efficiency.

Shell's Helix Ultra race lubricant and Shell V-Power race fuel has helped to deliver more than 20% of the total efficiency gain of Scuderia Ferrari's power since the change.

Supporting these changes is not an easy job, but it is a rewarding one.

"I'm really enjoying the challenge of the turbocharger in F1," Benoît continues. 'These engines are really fuel sensitive, so in developing a better fuel you can immediately see results in terms of horsepower - and a better lap time, at the end of the day.

"One of the key elements of the new era is fuel limitation. The fuel flow is more limited, so you don't have as much energy as you like going into the engine.

"If you want to achieve top performance, you need to be smarter, you need to be more efficient. You have to turn that limited amount of energy into more. How do you do that? You have to have a fuel which enables efficiency by keeping the engine clean, reducing friction and being resistant to engine knock."

When Autosport is watching Raikkonen and Vettel battle it out on track today, we will be thinking of the super-smart Shell Track Lab team that keeps Ferrari's engines running smoothly.

shares
comments
Force India's F1 Mexican GP Q2 tactics didn't feel great - Ocon

Previous article

Force India's F1 Mexican GP Q2 tactics didn't feel great - Ocon

Next article

Toro Rosso F1 driver Hartley 'not allowed' to explain Gasly remark

Toro Rosso F1 driver Hartley 'not allowed' to explain Gasly remark
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams Ferrari
The toe-in-water origins of Lotus’s groundbreaking F1 journey Plus

The toe-in-water origins of Lotus’s groundbreaking F1 journey

In the first part of our history of Lotus, DAMIEN SMITH recalls how Formula 1 wasn’t an immediate priority for team founder Colin Chapman – but once he got a taste for it he just couldn’t stop…

How Hamilton’s qualifying record compares to Senna and Schumacher Plus

How Hamilton’s qualifying record compares to Senna and Schumacher

Lewis Hamilton has just become the first driver to record 100 world championship Formula 1 pole positions. Time to revisit a debate we discussed when he reached 150 front row starts in 2020.

Formula 1
May 8, 2021
Why sustainability is being mandated by F1 Plus

Why sustainability is being mandated by F1

Continuing to be socially acceptable as public views shift globally is vitally important to the future of motor racing, says PAT SYMONDS - especially in Formula 1, the championship that represents the technological peak

Formula 1
May 8, 2021
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull's title credentials, and heap pressure on Verstappen Plus

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull's title credentials, and heap pressure on Verstappen

Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one big encouraging sign for Red Bull. The trouble is, it looks like making good on that gain will require its superstar driver to avoid repeating a mistake made today that left him well down the FP2 order

Formula 1
May 7, 2021
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Plus

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his team-mate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon

Formula 1
May 6, 2021
What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Plus

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight

Formula 1
May 5, 2021
The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Plus

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Portuguese Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warmup. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021