Red Bull F1 fuel supplier ExxonMobil targets British GP upgrade

Red Bull's fuel supplier ExxonMobil is aiming to introduce an upgrade at the British Grand Prix as the team looks to improve the performance of its Renault engine

Red Bull F1 fuel supplier ExxonMobil targets British GP upgrade

Red Bull expected a major engine upgrade in Canada but that didn't materialise, with Renault saying it's focus for the remainder of 2017 was reliability and incremental performance steps - one of which came in Baku.

Renault introduced new engine modes and settings for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, but Red Bull has been frustrated by the extent to which the engine is holding it back, with Max Verstappen concerned the lack of progress could hamper its chances of success in 2018.

With that in mind, Red Bull is looking to ExxonMobil, which through its Mobil 1 and Esso brands became the team's official fuel and lubricant and motor oil partner for this season, to make performance gains.

The company, which ended a long-running partnership with McLaren to join Red Bull for 2017, introduced a new fuel for the opening round of the season in Australia and has a second product planned for Silverstone.

"For the first step, we made a good gain," ExxonMobil Global Motorsport Technology Manager David Tsurusaki told Autosport.

"[The gain from the second fuel] is not as much as the first fuel, but I think it's a positive incremental step.

"We don't talk about the numbers but it's enough to rationalise a change.

"Internally, we're talking about introducing it at Silverstone, depending on validation.

"It's unpredictable stuff but I've told our team that is our target."

Fuel is playing an increasingly important role in improving performance, with Ferrari's fuel supplier Shell saying in late 2015 that it delivered a 25% gain to the engine - which it claimed equated to almost half a second a lap

Tsurusaki says ExxonMobil has made a step forward to reach a point that Red Bull's previous supplier Total didn't think was possible, and he now believes the performance of the fuel is close to being on par with its rivals on the grid.

"I think we've made a nice incremental step replacing the previous fuel, which they didn't think they had but we had it," he said.

"Now, we're in a pretty good place. We have a good working relationship, we're working closely with Red Bull and Renault. It's moving.

"I think we're close to [matching our rivals] now."

Ordinarily, ExxonMobil would aim to introduce three new fuels a year, but because of the late start - it only began officially working with Red Bull in January - the third update will likely be ready for the start of 2018 instead.

"We think we can get to possibly three in reality," he said.

"We'd aim for the following year [for the third upgrade].

"We're already working on chemistry and processes for 2018. We didn't have the opportunity to do that last year."

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