One of my favorite people, and Paul’s too, in the Formula paddock is Shell oil’s Guy Lovett. He’s one of the nicest people you’ll meet in F1 and a real brilliant technology manager for Shell. When Guy speaks, you’ll want to shut your pie-hole and listen because he knows of what he speaks. The other side of their consumer fuel equation is Vinod Natarajan who is also a super nice guy and brilliant.
It seems the FIA were concerned there may be some tricks being played with fuel flow and and the lubricant side of the equation so they engaged in some investigation on Ferrari and Shell. Ferrari seem to be under the microscope this year and perhaps Mercedes isn’t quite convinced they’ve come by their gains in performance through good old hard work. The FIA investigated the situation and I’ll let Guy explain what it was:
“The FIA conducted the analysis because it’s completely illegal to inject fuel downstream of the fuel sensor,” he said.
“If you put a fuel component within the oil there is a chance it could get to the combustion chamber, [because] there is, in any engine, passage of oil from the sump via the rings to the combustion chamber.
“How big a performance gain you’re going to get from that is questionable, quite frankly.
“Nevertheless, that is a grey area, and quite clearly something the FIA wanted to investigate and close off.
“We’re very happy to continue working with the FIA to make sure that particular aspect of the regulations is policed correctly.
“[We have] nothing to hide there.”
It is true that the gains in performance through lubricants is a much more free area in which to develop but according to the FIA’s investigation, they were satisfied that everything was within the regulations. Shell takes their relationship and innovative work in F1 very seriously and they work their tails off trying to devise better fuels and lubricants. These directly filter down to our road cars so the investment is terrific.
It’s like their Shell V-power Nitro+ which created a whole new category of fuel and set the bar very high for others to follow. I’ve worked with Shell quite a bit and I’ve seen the resources and engineering gray matter they bring to the table for their partners and it is galactic in scope so gains made through fuel and lubricant development don’t surprise me. Any skulduggery would be completely out of character with just about every employee I’ve met at Shell. It just isn’t in their DNA to engage in that kind of activity.
Nice to see the FIA are happy with their investigation.
Hat Tip: AUTOSPORT