Red Bull/Honda get ExxonMobil fuel boost for F1 2019 preparations

Red Bull's hopes of progress with Honda in 2019 have been boosted by Formula 1 fuel supplier ExxonMobil saying it is in the best position it has been for years

Red Bull/Honda get ExxonMobil fuel boost for F1 2019 preparations

Honda's promising engine development this season has lifted Red Bull's optimism it can target strong results from the off when its partnership with the manufacturer starts next year.

Ahead of an important winter where Honda needs to finalise its 2019 specification, ExxonMobil has revealed it is much further ahead with its planning than it was at this stage last year.

With the current turbo-hybrid formula putting the onus on fuel supplier and manufacturers working together, such a step could help push Honda on further.

ExxonMobil's global motorsports technology manager David Tsurusaki told Autosport: "When we had this announcement with Honda and Toro Rosso last year, it meant only getting ready for Barcelona testing in December - which was a short timeline.

"But now, after a year of continuous change, adjustments and testing, we have already been working on 2019 - which is really where you want to be.

"You don't want to be doing all your upgrades and preparations during the year, and then at the end of it start working on 2019. You want to be working on 2019 pretty early.

"So the fact we've had the chance to work with the Honda guys again, get comfortable with them, get things rolling, get testing going and then start working on the single cylinder already with the full V6 durability tests now, it is exactly where we want to be.

"We are pretty excited. We are in a good position and think they have the right fuel and the right lubricants ready for 2019."

Another factor that will help progress is the fact ExxonMobil will enjoy a works relationship with Honda next year, whereas recent partnerships with Renault and Mercedes were on a customer basis where it had to battle for dyno testing time.

That relationship should help increase the rate at which fuel upgrades can be introduced.

Asked how much that will help, Tsurusaki said: "I wouldn't say it's a major advantage, but it is a big step where we are not competing for time and testing time with someone else.

"In the case of previous engine manufacturers, we weren't necessarily the priority to test. So in this case we are not only the priority, we are the only ones. It is the best scenario.

"There were some comments earlier in the season about what is the best way to have fuel and oil suppliers for manufacturers, and it is true that if you are dedicated - which means one fuel and oil supplier - then you are minimising the duplicated testing time.

"I think we are already seeing the rewards of the quick response we can have. It means if we get the data we can adjust from there. And when you are doing that in weeks versus months it makes a big difference."

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Series Formula 1
Teams Honda Racing F1 Team , Red Bull Racing
Author Jonathan Noble
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