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Shell’s technical partnership with Ferrari
The Shell Helix technical story goes back over seven decades. Today, a worldwide network of scientists develops and tests our lubricant technologies. An important element of this work is Shell’s technical partnership with Ferrari, which helps to keep us at the forefront of the race to develop the engine oils of the future.
Shell’s technical partnership with Ferrari is one of the most successful collaborations in the history of world-class motorsport, with over 150 Formula One race wins by the end of 2010. For more than 60 years Ferrari has been synonymous with high performance cars, on the race track and the road. When the very first Ferrari drove out of the factory gates in Maranello, Italy, it was powered and protected by Shell.
Ferrari understand that the right engine lubricant is critical. Its job is to protect the moving parts from mechanical wear, reduce friction and power loss as well as cool the engine both on the track and the road. It takes a good engine lubricant to achieve just the right balance of these characteristics while ensuring the car's performance is optimised.
Formula One is an extreme test bed that pushes our Shell team to the maximum. We continually search for the percentage gains that could put Ferrari on pole, while continuing the level of protection that allows the engine to survive and perform at its best through two race weekends. Our reliability has been crucial in helping Ferrari to the ten FIA Formula One World Championship Constructors' and 12 Drivers' titles.
More than 50 Shell scientists contribute to the Shell Formula One programme with Ferrari. These important team members work in Shell laboratories at all the Grand Prix racetracks and at the heart of Scuderia Ferrari in its Maranello headquarters.
"Shell Helix Ultra engine oil shares many components with its championship-winning Formula One counterpart", said Mark Wakem, Shell's Formula One lubricant specialist. "We're proud that we put our Formula One expertise and knowledge into Shell Helix Ultra road oil, giving true Formula One technology to you and your engine".
During a race, the engine is exposed to extreme conditions and high temperatures. The 'multi-tasking' lubricant is designed to take away the heat, controlling the engine temperature and preventing the heat from having a detrimental effect. The ability of an engine oil to cool as well as lubricate is often overlooked. Pistons can exceed temperatures of 300°C; engine oil is sprayed on the underside of the pistons to keep them cool - without this extra protection they would undoubtedly fail in a race.
Ferrari Formula One engines need the power to compete for track positions, but they must also have the reliability required to finish races.
Engine cleanliness is vitally important. Dirt build-up in an ordinary engine can reduce performance, and microscopic deposits can cause problems for a Ferrari Formula One engine, which is required to perform massive leaps in engine speed in the blink of an eye. During such rapid acceleration, the stresses placed on the engine and its oil are immense. The smallest dirt build-up in an oil way can affect the flow of oil to crucial components and potentially result in engine failure.
It is also crucial to keep deposits away from other important surfaces within the high-revving engines. Dirt in the oil can interfere with the formation of friction-reducing films, which play a key role in minimising engine wear and maximising engine power.
Whether for a Ferrari Formula One racing car or a family car, Shell Helix technology helps to keep the engine running as the designers intended – at maximum efficiency.
This is set to become even more important in the coming seasons:
“Engine lubrication is critical in 2011 due to the length of the season,” explains Shell Technology Manager for Ferrari, Cara Tredget. “The eight engines can be used in any order and at any number of races so the Shell Helix Ultra racing oil will have to provide the right level of protection both on the track and while the engines are in storage between races.”
Strong track success enables Shell to take the learnings from the track, and transfer the latest technology from Formula One through to the Shell Helix lubricants range.