Horner disagrees with Wolff’s fuel comments

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Photo by: www.kymilman.com/f1

We always enjoy Mercedes boss Toto Wolff’s continuous commentary on anything and everything in the press. As we’ve said before, if you need an opinion about Mercedes and what they are doing, Toto is your man but if you also want some comments on another team’s driver, engine, chassis, business model or an opinion on the quality of food in the Williams hospitality area or a key insight to how effective Haas F1 is at selling CNC machines through their marketing efforts, then Toto is STILL your man.

That hasn’t changed this week as the Merc boss said Red Bull are putting themselves at a disadvantage by not using the same fuel and lubricant supplier as their engine manufacturer, Renault.

Wolff told Autosport:

“ExxonMobil is capable of making a state of the art fuel, or BP/Castrol, or any of the top players. The strategic mistake is to opt for the commercial deal rather than making sure you are on the same specification of fuel and oil as the works team.

“We’re all using the same fuels, because we’re calibrating our engines on one spec of fuel.”

Red Bull boss Christian Horner disagrees:

“I see Toto has been making a load of comments on this,” he told Sky Sports News.

“We see it as an advantage. We have a great relationship with Exxon and have done for the last 12 months.

“They are producing some great products and we see it as a technical advantage. Their products won three grands prix last year. Obviously there are additional burdens involved in that as it’s a different supplier than what the works team have, it just means they’ve got to run more engines on the dynos which we have to cover the cost for.

“But we wouldn’t be using it if we didn’t see it as a technical advantage. They are a great company, great to respond, very quick and we see it as an advantage.”

I’ve worked with Shell and Ferrari quite a bit and I know how critical it is for Ferrari and their customers that the specs are all the same in order to ensure accurate performance. Renault now use BP while Red Bull lured Exxon Mobile from McLaren and I know that a company such as Exxon will have engineers working very closely with Red Bull to develop the fuels and lubricants they need.

Horner’s comments lead me to believe that Exxon Mobile’s team are developing products that do deliver the performance they want from their Renault engine and alludes to this being an advantage. That could be the case but in my dealings with Ferrari and Shell, I know the tolerances are critical but then Shell always was a leader in this area through their track-side lab etc. They set the bar high that all the other fuel and lubricant companies are trying to follow.

Maybe I should ask Toto what he thinks Shell and Ferrari’s biggest setbacks are…I’m sure he would have an opinion.

Hat Tip: Sky Sports

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ShocksAndAwe
Member
ShocksAndAwe

So Toto is saying that all the oil companies can produce “state-of-the-art” lubricants and fuels? If I was Petrobras, I’d be annoyed that my primary partner said we were the same as everyone else.

What Toto should have said, is. I can understand why Red Bull would want to partner with the best oil company they can, and since they can’t work with Petrobras, they obviously went with the second best, Exxon.
Take that Exxon, BP, and Shell!

ShocksAndAwe
Member
ShocksAndAwe

Besides, it looks like Petrobras could use the good PR…

Former Petrobras boss found guilty of corruption
https://www.ft.com/content/0b47e83e-226b-11e8-9a70-08f715791301

subcritical71
Member
subcritical71

Great point, I was thinking the same thing!

Member

Can we have an ‘Ask Toto’ button on the TFP Q&A page?

Member

Toto probably has a point (he usually does).
The Mercedes p.u is the benchmark, and all of its development is done with one fuel/oil make, whereas the Renault p.u is trying to make up ground, they have fewer resources, and their effort is split over three fuel/oil makes (Renault – BP/Castrol, RBR – Exxon Mobil, McLaren – Petrobas).
If your aim is to get a p.u on par with Mercedes, that looks like a ‘strategic error’.
If you just want to be the best Renault powered team, it might indeed be a ‘technical advantage’.

sunny stivala
Guest
sunny stivala

JAKO. No, the Renault combustion development is being done like that of the other three manufacturers are doing it, in collaboration with “ONE” oil/fuel supplier. I have already explained that the necessary “dyno tuning” when a customer decides to use oil and fuel other than that the supplied PU had been developed on has nothing to do with development but just tuning to the supplied fuel and oil parameters limits.

Member

My point (and possibly Toto’s) is that if Renault are having to do extra dyno testing, to tune to the RBR and McLaren fuel and oil, that’s extra resources and dyno time that doesn’t move the development forward.
Not the best way to catch Mercedes.

sunny stivala
Guest
sunny stivala

To dyno tune (no development work involved) on the customer fuel/oil supply parameter limits Renault charges an extra $5 million. no customer are allowed to dyno test the supplied PU.

subcritical71
Member
subcritical71

Sure the dyno work would probably not include further development per se. But don’t you think if Exxon/Red Bull somehow have realized gains that Renault would not try to exploit those gains through further ‘development’ of either their engine, their own fuel/oil supplier, or both? Red Bull last year claimed incremental increases in performance due solely to the fuel/oil. I realize there are a lot of weasel words used in making such claims, but this is what I meant in a previous post by a third set of eyes is sometimes better, even the PU manufacturer doesn’t know everything about… Read more »

sunny stivala
Guest
sunny stivala

The F1 PU combustion is developed by the manufacturer in collaboration with his chosen oil/fuel supplier. Once that combustion is developed and signed off no other use of supply of oil/fuel can improve upon it. In as simple a term as possible, stri-8-2-D-point:- an engine manufacturer will state the “grade” of fuel the engine must be run on. In simple technical terms this is an “octane rating”. Using a lower octane rating than that recommended will risk damaging the engine. Using a higher octane rating than that recommended, contrary to many believe will not increase the power output, to increase… Read more »

subcritical71
Member
subcritical71

“Once that combustion is developed and signed off no other use of supply of oil/fuel can improve upon it.”. Let’s agree to disagree.

sunny stivala
Guest
sunny stivala

“Once that combustion is developed and signed off no other use of supply of oil/fuel can improve upon it”. Yes that is correct and you can disagree to your heart content but that will not change that fact. Any other oil/fuel supply that might be technically better, the fuel will still have the same energy content, it can only be better mostly in octane rating, higher octane rating does not increase the energy content, what it does is permit a combustion chamber design in accordance with the higher octane rating to operate at higher pressures and temperatures without detonation to… Read more »

subcritical71
Member
subcritical71

So problem solved, fuel companies can go no further in their research for F1, thanks for clearing that up. You just saved a lot of companies a lot of money!

sunny stivala
Guest
sunny stivala

You are once again out of order. oil companies that do not work in Collaboration with the engine manufacturer on the development of the power unit will be just wasting their time and money trying to develop oil/fuel for any of the four power units under development they have no connection or access too. on the other hand those oil companies that are involved in collaborating in the development of the engine the developments they do is an ongoing process in collaboration with the engine manufacturer. the development of oil/fuel by the oil companies and the engine by the manufacturer… Read more »

subcritical71
Member
subcritical71

“oil companies that do not work in Collaboration with the engine manufacturer on the development of the power unit will be just wasting their time and money trying to develop oil/fuel for any of the four power units under development they have no connection or access too.”. I don’t share your opinion, that is fine, that’s what makes a great discussion and fosters critical thinking and learning. If everybody agrees then it gets boring quickly. Restating what you’ve already said still doesn’t change my opinion. If you need to be right then so be it. I’m not looking to bully… Read more »

sunny stivala
Guest
sunny stivala

“If an engine is specifically designed for a certain fuel composition it is “highly unlikely” to perform batter on any other fuel composition”. “Will an engine perform better with higher octane fuel? Yes but only if it is designed to”. “F1 fuel is not developed “IN ISOLATION” the key to success is the “SENERGY OF ENGINE”, vehicle and fluids, including lubricants and functional fluids, All of which are “DEVELOPED” TOGETHER TO MAXIMISE performance”. But having been pushed to explain all that by from on my part an enjoyable discussion, it is perfectly OK with me that a disagreement is still… Read more »

subcritical71
Member
subcritical71

Glad you added ‘highly unlikely’, that has been similar to my position from the very first post on the subject.

sunny stivala
Guest
sunny stivala

Fuel “blend” increases power BUT not through higher energy content BUT through combustion chamber efficiency. (the combustion chamber, part of which is in cylinder-head and part of which is in the piston is designed manufactured and developed by the engine manufacturer) to make best use of the fuel supplied. Typical energy split in gasoline combustion engines. 100% applied fuel energy. The energy path. Combustion:- 25% effective power. 5% to friction. 30% to coolant. 40% to exhaust.

sunny stivala
Guest
sunny stivala

The totonator could be the most opinionated person on the F1 grid but what he said about RB is correct and factual technically. The spiceman and his team are the F1 discontent fomenting number 1 source. They started on that trend since they started losing at the very start of the new engine formula. The fuel used in F1 has potentially “double” the energy content of what the manufacturers has at present managed to extract out of their developed combustion process. Any major oil/fuel company can formulate and supply fuel containing the same energy content. But the amount of the… Read more »

subcritical71
Member
subcritical71

I would partially agree with what you said, because I do not believe it’s the only way. The easiest perhaps, but not the only way. This is why I love engineering so much, just when you think you are doing all that can be done, some bozo lands a rocket on a floating barge and rewrites what you think is possible. (And I’m not saying rockets are the same as F1, F1 sometimes seems like rocket science though, just trying to show how an outsider in a particular field can improve/disrupt things). This goes for even F1.

Member

Hi SubC, there is no doubt that sometimes innovation and progress come from some happenstance brought by a different viewpoint or skillset, but far more often getting a dedicated team all working in the same direction is what gets results.
It has certainly worked for Mercedes with their p.u.

Rapierman
Member
Rapierman

Maybe we should call it the “Toto Wolff Bravado Award”. :D

sunny stivala
Guest
sunny stivala

“I know that a company such as EXXON will have engineers working very closely with RB to “develop” the fuels and lubricant they need”. How can they develop the fuel and lubricant power unite wise when they have no Access to the power unit RB uses, such as combustion design/characteristics and dyno development.