Fuel key to improved lap times in new V6 turbo era

Formula One World Championship, Rd8, British Grand Prix, Practice, Silverstone, England, Friday 28 June 2013.

Fuel has emerged with a big role to play in Formula 1’s new V6 turbo engine era, as teams seek to squeeze as much performance from the latest generation power units.

Auto Motor und Sport said that struggling Renault took a 12 horse power step forward last time out in Barcelona, thanks entirely to a new blend of fuel supplied by French partner Total, and Red Bull team boss Christian Horner sees more gains to come.

According to correspondent Michael Schmidt, it was at Red Bull’s considerable expense that the new Total fuel was brought in line with homologation so that it could debut in Spain.

“We’re talking about 20 horse power,” he said. “Mercedes has the advantage – you can see it in comparison to their customer teams.”

Preparations, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Wednesday 2 April 2014.

According to Schmidt, Horner may be referring to McLaren, who power their Mercedes V6 with fuel supplied by team sponsor Mobil.

But it appears the other Mercedes teams – the works outfit as well as Force India and Williams – are all using the currently-superior in-house fuel developed by Mercedes’ title sponsor Petronas.

Renault engine boss Rob White said: “With the turbo engines, the fuel suppliers started at zero, which is why we see these big leaps in performance at the beginning.”

According to Italian reports, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has also recognised the importance of fuel in 2014, urging the Maranello team to move closer to works supplier, Shell.

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In Barcelona, only Red Bull got the ’12 horse power-better’ new Total fuel, with Renault customers Lotus, Toro Rosso and Caterham having to wait until this weekend in Monaco.

Reigning world champions Red Bull have reportedly calculated the advantage of the Barcelona fuel versus the previous spec at three tenths on the straight.

Indeed, while Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg got his W05 up to 334.5 km/h on the straight, Daniel Ricciardo was not far behind, at 328.8.

Horner said: “If we can reduce our engine deficit by 50 per cent, we can beat Mercedes.” (GMM)

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