The difference between Shell’s V-Power race fuel (used in Formula 1 cars) and road fuel (found at our usual petrol stations) is just nine-tenths of a second.
Scuderia Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso performed a test in the 2009 F1 Ferrari car at Ferrari’s Fiorano test track in Maranello recently.
FIA regulations state that F1 race fuels must contain compounds normally found in commercial fuels, hence making Shell V-Power race fuel and Shell V-Power road fuel similar.
Alonso set a fastest lap time of 1:03.950 with the Shell V-Power race fuel and 1:04.850 with the Shell V-Power road fuel. The race fuel had significant superiority in acceleration over the road fuel, but the latter actually produced a higher top speed at the end of the straight.
Cara Tredget, Shell Technology Manager for Ferrari, said: “One of the things I always get asked is, ‘how similar is the Shell V-Power racing fuel that we deliver to Ferrari to that of the Shell V-Power Unleaded fuel that everyday motorists use?’ “We answered the question by fuelling the 2009 F1 Ferrari car with Shell V-Power road fuel from a Shell service station in order to show that it’s really very similar to the racing fuel that we provide Scuderia Ferrari.”
Tredget was speaking at a closed lunch briefing with the media about the Shell-Scuderia Ferrari technical partnership at Pan Pacific hotel yesterday. With a PhD in Chemistry, Tredget has been with the company since she graduated and was in the aviation technology side before coming over to the F1 race fuel technology side this year. The 31-year-old travels with the Scuderia Ferrari team from race to race, working at the dedicated trackside laboratory within the team’s garage to analyse their fuel.
Shell is the only F1 fuel and lubricant supplier to have a mobile fuel testing laboratory, complete with scientific apparatus, testing equipment and computer monitoring hardware. Over 30 samples of Shell V-Power are tested over the weekend to ensure that it remains legal and in prime condition.
Shell’s relationship dates back to 1929 when they sponsored founder Enzo Ferrari as a racing driver. The technical partnership between Shell and Ferrari to produce and develop racing fuels and lubricants for optimum engine performance and efficiency has been in effect for over 60 years now and the contract is inked to last to at least 2015.