Shell’s Technical Partnership with Scuderia Ferrari has seen nearly 70 years of pioneering fuels and lubricants development bring unrivalled success to the team. But the team of Shell scientists and engineers who work to deliver those innovative products don’t stop when the season starts. Utilising Shell’s bespoke trackside lab, the team accompanies Scuderia Ferrari to every Grand Prix on the Formula One calendar to ensure that the best products are always available.
Guy Lovett, Shell’s Technology Manager for Ferrari, leads the development activity and the trackside team, which at any given race consists of three people – one fuels analyst, one lubricant analyst and one technical lead.
“We’re there to test and analyse the fuels to make sure they haven’t become degraded or contaminated in any way and remain legal,” says Guy. Formula One’s governing body, the FIA, sets stringent regulations to govern fuel composition. “The FIA can come and take a sample of the fuel at any point to check that it’s legal,” explains Guy. It’s a procedure that he likens to drug testing in athletics.
Given the hostile environments and the strain that the engines come under during the races, regularly checking the level of wear metals accumulating within the engine oil is a crucial part of tracking and ensuring reliability.
“Regulations in Formula One prevent the team from taking apart and inspecting an engine once it has been run, therefore the analysis we conduct trackside to monitor wear metal concentrations within the oil is vital,” Guy continues. This process is particularly significant now due to the new 2014 regulations that have limited drivers to five engines per season (previously eight). “Our work trackside is an essential component of Ferrari’s competitiveness, but it is also a critical source of understanding how our products are performing and how we can improve them in the future.”