F1 Oil and fuel

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interesting article: Fuel For Thought: High Technology Drives Gas, Oil Used In F1 Cars by Dan Knutson usgpindy.com Special Contributor Wednesday, June 16, 2004 When a Formula One driver dives into the pits for about nine seconds to get four new tires and about 25 gallons of fuel, there isn’t a lot of time to think about the technology, development and expertise that has gone into creating that fuel. One of the fascinating aspects of Formula One is the way technology permeates so many aspects of the sport. That technology is sometimes not easily visible. And that is the case with the fuel and oil used by F1 cars, where there is much more involved than just pumping in some gas and pouring in a few cans of oil. Shell, for example, brings a mobile laboratory to every Grand Prix so that it can monitor every facet of the fuel and lubricants used by Ferrari drivers Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello. Ferrari and Shell have an exclusive partnership in F1. For the races in Europe, the Shell laboratory is located in one of the sections of the double-decked Ferrari transporters. For “flyaway” races such as the 2004 United States Grand Prix on June 20 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the lab is packed into a specialized container that fits perfectly into the hold of a Boeing 747 cargo jet. The lab is then set up in the back of the Ferrari pit garage. Ferrari and Shell work closely throughout a Grand Prix weekend. “In this laboratory, we are able to make sure that our fuels and lubricants are working just the way we planned them to throughout the duration of the weekend,” said David Barnes, Shell’s global solutions business manager. “Every time that the car goes out, we take a sample of engine oil and a sample of gearbox oil and put it through a machine that fires X-rays at the lubricant. By looking at the way those X-rays bounce off the particles inside the oil, it tells us what is in the oil. “When two bits of metal rub together, even if you lubricate them very well, you are always going to get a little bit of wear. Some metal particles come off and end up in the oil. We use this equipment to tell us what particles are in the oil – from a piston, a bearing, a connecting rod or some other element of the engine. We are talking about incredible levels of accuracy here: parts per million.” Shell and Ferrari have a database, so they know how much of each of these different types of metals should be in the oil at any given time, and they can predict when something might be going on inside the engine or gearbox. Being able to predict engine wear is more crucial than ever in 2004 when each driver is limited to a single engine for the entire weekend. The mobile Shell laboratory is also used to closely monitor fuel samples. Prior to each Grand Prix weekend, each team must submit a sample of the fuel it will use to the FIA. The FIA technicians carefully analyze the components in the fuel (there are about 200 different elements) and once it is determined that the fuel meets the regulations, the technicians create a “fingerprint” of that fuel. At any time during the race weekend the FIA can take a sample of fuel from the cars, the team’s storage containers or the refueling rigs, and the fingerprint of that sample must exactly match the fingerprint of the fuel submitted earlier by the team. “That is not a problem for Shell because we will never condone cheating,” Barnes said, “and we will never tamper with the fuel. But what can happen is contamination. When the fuel is delivered to the track, it comes in drums. We take it from the drum and put it into the refueling rig. We take it from there and put it into the car. “At any stage during that process, unless you are really, really careful, there is always a risk that you might get a bit of grease or oil in the fuel. Or maybe the rig has some fuel from the past in there that has changed through evaporation, or there might be a different fuel that has been left in there. “Ferrari’s housekeeping in this area is fantastic. But there is always a risk of contamination, and that is why we check the fuel so frequently during the race weekend in our laboratory at the track. We have exactly the same equipment that the FIA use when they do their tests.” Shell analyzes about 40 fuel and 40 oil samples each weekend. There are few rules limiting what the oil can be made of. Ferrari uses a blend of synthetic and petroleum-based oil. One rule is that you are not allowed to change the type of oil between final qualifying and the race, which precludes the use of oil designed specifically for qualifying. But the fuel is severely restricted by the FIA. F1 fuel is basically the same unleaded pump fuel used in a road car. “F1 fuel and the stuff you buy from the pump have to be 99 percent the same,” Barnes said, “but there is an awful lot you can do with that 1 percent. “The fuel that we buy for our road cars at the station is designed for a very large range of engines to be run under different operating conditions, whereas here in F1 we are designing one fuel for one customer for one car. By being able to fine-tune that fuel precisely to the requirements of one engine, you can get a significant difference in performances. That teaches you a lot about where the boundaries are.” Like other technical suppliers in F1, Shell is in F1 for much more than just publicity. The technology flows from the race cars to road cars. “It is fantastic having a mobile laboratory in an environment as aggressive and as public as this,” Barnes said. “By working with Ferrari and stretching the boundaries of our knowledge, we are in a position to learn from that. The people that are developing the lubricants and fuels for Ferrari are the same people who are designing the fuel and lubricants that you and I would buy for our road cars.” Secrecy and technology go hand-in-hand in F1. Shell and Ferrari decline to reveal certain facts such as how much oil the car carries, oil viscosity or fuel mileage, never mind more specific technical information. Shell looks at four main factors when developing fuels with Ferrari: power, weight, protection (the fuel goes through a pump and injectors and it has to effectively lubricate those) and fuel economy. “If you can stretch the need for a pit stop by one or two laps, that can make all the difference,” Barnes said of fuel economy. Shell could make a specific fuel for Ferrari for each Grand Prix, but it goes for a different strategy. “What we tend to do is look to the extremes across the racing season, and we design specifically for those extremes,” Barnes said. Still, the pace of development is such that Shell transports its fuel and oil by cargo jet to the flyaway races such as the United States Grand Prix. “There isn’t time to send it by ship,” Barnes said. “If you are designing new fuels and lubricants throughout the season you can’t afford to wait six or eight weeks for it to arrive by ship.”
 
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While I don't find their racing too exciting, the performance of these cars is astounding. Watching the acceleration and braking is beyond belief. And for once it looks like the weather in Indy may be nice for the weekend.
 
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quote:
“When two bits of metal rub together, even if you lubricate them very well, you are always going to get a little bit of wear. Some metal particles come off and end up in the oil. We use this equipment to tell us what particles are in the oil – from a piston, a bearing, a connecting rod or some other element of the engine. We are talking about incredible levels of accuracy here: parts per million.”
This person makes this sort of analysis sound "super hi-tech" and unique to Shell, Ferrari, and F1. Maybe someone should let him know about this board. We've got "parts per million" out the yeng-yang. [Big Grin]
 
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I was gonna say the same thing G-Man. Parts per million - whoooo! OTOH - they do 40 UOA's per weekend. Thats pretty intense. I wonder how they sample during the race?
 

cvl

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Anyone remember a few years ago when Ferrari was running their experimental fuel that was quickly banned? I believe it was a boron-rich fuel and it combusted instantly upon contact with oxygen. A spark plug was still used to direct the flame front. The storage and transportation costs were outrageous. It was banned because it was both unfair and extremely dangerous.
 
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Yeah, it is too bad they can't apply some of that technology to make the racing more exciting for the fans
I agree. The technology used in the cars is amazing, but you rarely see a pass on the track.
 

zoomzoom

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Have any of you guys went to F1 race? It is something unbelivable..I would highly recomend going if you can....You have to ge there to understand what those cars are capable of! Here is the what Jeff Gordon thinks of F1 cars: NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon on Formula One racing Stockcar star still buzzing after Williams drive at Indy Why should a NASCAR fan go to watch a Formula One race such as the United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on June 20? Four-time NASCAR champion and three-time Brickyard 400 winner Jeff Gordon, who has driven a Formula One car, says the race is a spectacle not to be missed. “If they want to see the most technically advanced car that exists, and a car that can accelerate and brake and go through the corners faster than anything that is humanly possible in your mind, then go and see a F1 race,” Gordon said. “To me, just that in itself is very exciting. The drivers are phenomenal, as well. “But don’t go expecting a NASCAR race. It’s not the same. It’s totally different. Our cars are really the exact opposite. We are limited on all of our technology to keep the costs down (and) to keep the competition closer.” In June of last year Gordon got a chance to drive a Formula One car when he climbed behind the wheel of Juan Pablo Montoya’s Williams at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In a trade off, Montoya, winner of the 2000 Indianapolis 500, drove Gordon’s Chevrolet NASCAR racer. Gordon’s face still breaks into a wide, enthusiastic smile when he recalls the phenomenal performance of the Williams that he drove around the 2.605 mile / 4.192 km, 13-turn Indianapolis Formula One circuit. “I am still talking about it,” Gordon said. “That was a real (chance of) a lifetime for me, and for it to be televised on Speed was even better because I get to relive it over and over again. To have that in-car camera and to see that I was actually driving a F1 car, one of the best F1 cars out there was just … I can’t even put it into words how to describe that.” The swap led to Gordon and his Hendrick Racing team mate Jimmie Johnson being invited to attend the 2004 Spanish Grand Prix in May as guests of the Williams team and Montoya. “I’ve never been to a F1 race,” Gordon said when he arrived at the track in Spain. “Ever since I drove a BMW-Williams last year, I said I have to go and see a race now. We went down to Turn 1 on Friday, and when I saw them driving I knew what they were experiencing. Now that I have driven the car it takes on a whole new meaning for me.” Gordon and Johnson saw that the Formula One drivers could brake so much later entering the turns than the NASCAR drivers are able to do with their NEXTEL Cup Series cars. “The braking zones that they go into,” Gordon marvelled of the Formula One cars, “you don’t think that it is actually possible for a race car on four rubber tires to be able to do what they do. But yet after driving it I know that it does, and it is absolutely incredible. It does all the things that I wish my car would do, but doesn’t!” So what does Gordon see as the biggest difference between Formula One racing and NASCAR? “Just the grand scale of things,” he said. “The number of engineers and the type of technology. This (motor home/hospitality) area impresses me. We have nothing like this anywhere in our paddock area. The facilities are impeccable; the way that the racetrack is prepared, to me that side of it is very impressive. And from a financial and technology side, just the grand scale of how they are able to do things.” But he does see similarities between the two series, as well. “The teams put the best people in place and have chemistry,” Gordon said. “Everybody is here to accomplish the same thing, and that is to be as competitive and fast as possible and to win. The best teams in NASCAR that put the right teams in place are successful and win. It is very similar here, but you don’t see the success as much. In F1, to finish second or third is very successful, as well, while for us we have to win a race to be successful.” Another similarity between Formula One and NASCAR is that the drivers have the same intensely competitive spirit. As he watched, did Gordon wish he were out there on the track with the Grand Prix drivers? “Anybody who is a competitive driver when they are not in the car wished that they were in the car,” Gordon said. “And when we were down in Turn 1, both my team mate Jimmie Johnson and I sat there and said, ‘We’d love to be in there and drive in that deep and get the car turned and accelerate and feel the traction control kick in.’ “We all feel that we could do the job because that is what makes us competitors, and what makes us winners is the confidence that we have. We recognize that there are cars and teams that are above others, and that if you were in the right position with a top team, that you would feel like you could have success if you put the right amount of effort and dedication into it.” Gordon was asked a hypothetical question: Reigning World Champion Michael Schumacher retires tomorrow, and Ferrari offers you what ever you need financially to take his place, would you do it? Gordon, chuckling, answered, “That one would be hard to turn down! I’m mean, who would turn that down? Nobody! I think that my sponsors and car owner would understand that even if it was for five races or one season, absolutely (I would do it.) “Would I do the job that Michael does? No. The years of experience that he has, the talent that he has … I would only want to be in that position if I had enough testing time, time to really to into the shape that you need to be in. You are always looking for the best opportunity, and it doesn’t get any better than that one!” Gordon went on to say that the massive commitment it takes to chase the Formula One dream is something a driver has to do early in his career. Now well-settled and extremely successful in NASCAR, Gordon said it’s too late in his career to realistically consider making the switch from NASCAR to Formula One. Had things gone slightly different, however, Gordon could well have been a Formula One driver today. Back in 1990, three-time World Champion and 1966 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Jackie Stewart recognized Gordon’s talent and asked him to come to Europe for a test. “I have always been a race fan,” Gordon said. “I grew up watching more open-wheel racing than I did the stock cars. My first introduction to F1 was when I received a phone call from Jackie Stewart about going over to Europe and doing what he called ‘a drive.’ And I think at that time it was not in a F1 car but more like a Formula 3 or Formula 3000.” The Formula 3 and Formula 3000 series serve as stepping-stones to Formula One, but Gordon never did the test because he was offered a chance to race in NASCAR. He says he has no regrets about going stock car racing, but points out an ironic twist to it all. “I have been so fortunate to have had the success that I have had,” he said. “I love NASCAR. It’s a little bit frustrating for me right now because I have had more opportunities to come F1 racing in the last three years than I ever did when it was a realistic goal. I am seeing more and more demand for an American driver in F1, but they want an American driver with a name.” The biggest name in Formula One racing today is, of course, six-time World Champion Michael Schumacher, who has dominated the series in recent years. “I respect him tremendously,” Gordon said, though unfortunately, he did not get to meet Schumacher during his visit to the Spanish Grand Prix. If they had met, Gordon quipped he would have asked him “how he gets such a big salary!” Getting serious, Gordon said if they had talked he would have talked about their cars. “Like any driver I talk to I talk about the car,” Gordon said. “I like to get their feel for what the car is doing, and where they feel that they may have an advantage or disadvantage.” And having driven a Formula One car, Gordon has an excellent insight into just what incredible car performance the current drivers will experience as they race around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in this weekend’s US Grand Prix. [ June 18, 2004, 03:21 PM: Message edited by: zoomzoom ]
 
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I don't find NASCAR exciting at all. Sorry. F1 is in my Italian blood, I guess. I saw the thing about the Shell travelling lab on F1 last year, and posted about it. I'm still waiting on my free 55 gallon drum.
 
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On a different subject, did anyone see the CART race at Texas 2 years ago? Well, noboby saw it because the drivers refused to race there because of safety reasons. Texas Speedway is a 1.5 mile banked oval that is smooth as glass. The drivers were hitting 235 - 245 mph and the g forces in the corner were making the drivers start to black out after a few laps. That is fast. Anyway there was a lawsuit and I don't know what ever happened because they had to refund everyones ticket price. I also read that CART cars produce enough downforce at 140mph to drive inverted. Cool stuff. Kind of off subject but I thought it was on the racing subject. You can't compare F1 to NASCAR, they are totally different in my opinion. I enjoy watching all kinds of racing. All racing from F1 to Motocross has there own level of high tech within their rules package.
 
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Ferrari uses a blend of synthetic and petroleum-based oil.
Does anyone else find this significant or interesting? They are not using a mostly POE based oil with 500ppm of Moly. Neither does NASCAR. I'm not being sarcastic in reference to RL, but I do find this very interesting. I'm sure Shell has state of the art labs and chemists and would NOT cut costs for Ferrari.
quote:
I don't find NASCAR exciting at all. Sorry. F1 is in my Italian blood, I guess
[Cheers!] Totally agree. F1 must be in my blood too. [Wink]
 
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quote:
Originally posted by buster:
quote:
Ferrari uses a blend of synthetic and petroleum-based oil.
Does anyone else find this significant or interesting?

I suspect all this means is that Shell is using some XHVI in their Formula 1 oils. It's probably still mostly PAO.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by G-Man II:
quote:
Originally posted by buster:
quote:
Ferrari uses a blend of synthetic and petroleum-based oil.
Does anyone else find this significant or interesting?

I suspect all this means is that Shell is using some XHVI in their Formula 1 oils. It's probably still mostly PAO.

Just remember that Shell used to use a special version of TMO (a brand name that Shell marketed in Europe) in Formula 1 cars...it was hydrocracked ...and this was AFTER Mobil 1 had been around for a while
 
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quote:
Originally posted by pscholte:
quote:
Originally posted by G-Man II:
quote:
Originally posted by buster:
quote:
Ferrari uses a blend of synthetic and petroleum-based oil.
Does anyone else find this significant or interesting?

I suspect all this means is that Shell is using some XHVI in their Formula 1 oils. It's probably still mostly PAO.

Just remember that Shell used to use a special version of TMO (a brand name that Shell marketed in Europe) in Formula 1 cars...it was hydrocracked ...and this was AFTER Mobil 1 had been around for a while

TMO isn't "hydrocracked." TMO uses XHVI base oil, which is a wax isomerate. It is not a hydrocracked Group III.
 
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The technology in F1 is so extreme, companies like Shell have developed gasoline that is actually physically lighter than the competition to gain an advantage. F1 truly is the pinnacle of motorsports.
 
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Yeah, it is too bad they can't apply some of that technology to make the racing more exciting for the fans. Maybe if they ran at BRISTOL [Cool]
 
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G-Man II, You always seem to be very well-versed in the technical attributes of a lot of oils so I take seriously your comment; however, when I lived in Europe I am quite positive I read that TMO was a "leichtlauf" oil created through the hydrocracking process. I welcome your expanded info on this.
 
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Guys the significance of all of this to me is that they are not using a Group V based oil like Motul or Redline and have chosen a PAO or Grp III/blend. This goes against the idea that a fully or mostly Polyolester based oil is going to be superior to the others. Shell and Mobil make POE and if a Motul/RL approach was so superior, I'd think they would be using that formula. Shell/Mobil would NOT cut corners/costs for their Ferrari or McClaren. Some of Mobil's 0w-5 qualifying oils could be more Group V, same for Shell but I'm only guessing here.
 
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Buster, Assuming the oils would not cost $50/qt, I would surely like to see a more direct and transparent lubrication technology connection BTW the track and the road; now having said that, much as I am a sucker for the "I use the same stuff in my car that Michael uses on the track" syndrome, I realize that what is good for the racer may not (almost certainly will not) be good for me on the street without modification.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by pscholte: G-Man II, You always seem to be very well-versed in the technical attributes of a lot of oils so I take seriously your comment; however, when I lived in Europe I am quite positive I read that TMO was a "leichtlauf" oil created through the hydrocracking process. I welcome your expanded info on this.
TMO 5w40 was the first oil Shell marketed as a "synthetic" that was made with XHVI. This was around 10 years ago I believe. It caused somewhat of a stir at the time in Europe (similar to the controversy over Castrol's Syntec in North America, which ironically, was made with XHVI initially when the switch was made from PAO). The result was that Shell started labeling their XHVI based oils as "Synthesetechnologie" (i.e., "synthetic technology") if the base oil blend containes a majority of XHVI. For their oils that contain a majority of PAO and/or esters (even if it contains XHVI too), the label will say "fully synthetic."
 
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