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Author Topic: Chemical warfare underway amongst the F1 fuel boffins  (Read 1098 times)

Offline John S

Chemical warfare underway amongst the F1 fuel boffins
« on: August 20, 2019, 02:16:01 PM »
A full blown war seems to have broken out between Petronas and Shell in powering up their chosen engine builders with new synthetic (chemical) concoctions, well so says
In the long piece below judge13 attributes Italian website with comments like: - " ‘trick’ fuel boosted the Mercedes at Hungary" and "there will likely be a ‘chemical battle’ between the top teams".

I've read somewhere else that Chase Carey is open to more use of non fossil fuels in F1, not sure this is what he has in mind, - but it's great to see the F1 teams are still up for ramming whole cars though loopholes rather than back away from the fight.  :D 

In a bid to find answers to its rival’s engine developments, most recently Renault with their claimed 1,000hp breakthrough & DRS controlled power increase, Mercedes turns to its fuel supplier Petronas to boost their current spec engine. Andy Holmes, head of research of the Malaysian oil company said that his group will chase more radical concepts as traditional avenues of fuel development have already been exhausted. In some respects, taking advantage of the grey area in FIA rulings, a loop-hole in the regs perhaps.

Holmes explains: “For us, what is critical at the moment is a pipeline of new ideas, new chemistries, and tuning the fuel properties to meet the challenges that are coming” says the engineer at Petronas’ Turin research facility.

According to Italian, this ‘trick’ fuel boosted the Mercedes at Hungary, helping Hamilton take victory. Indeed the publication claims that there will likely be a ‘chemical battle’ between the top teams in the second half of this season. Mercedes have joined the battle, using a new fuel to enrich the Phase 2 power unit that debuted in Canada.

Rumors, leaked from Brixworth, suggest the contribution of the new petrol would have been of 18hp, a significant leap considering it was achieved only with chemical components and without requiring intervention on the power unit design engineers.

According to sources, it was necessary to revise the electronic mapping with new advances in favour of greater efficiency, which translated into an increase in performance, but also in the lower of fuel consumption. It seems that the secret blend of molecules that make up this new fuel are the result of a collaboration between Petronas and a small German laboratory that has developed a new synthetic fuel without breaking FIA rules, but capable of a distinct calorific value higher.
Shell had brought a new fuel for Ferrari that had given them advantages in Hockenheim. Mercedes reacted immediately, anticipating at the Hungaroring a gasoline that probably should have been a weapon to counter the Italian team at Spa and Monza, where, at least on paper, the SF90 should be the fastest.

Let’s see what Renault and Honda, with their respective partners, can come up with.

Article courtesy theJudge13,, Tues 6th August.

Racing is life - everything else is just waiting. (Steve McQueen)

Offline lkjohnson1950

Re: Chemical warfare underway amongst the F1 fuel boffins
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2019, 07:23:27 PM »
OK, I'm probably behind on the rules again, but I thought the FIA took random fuel samples for analysis to be sure the teams were using "pump gas". We'll have spec fuel before long.

Offline Jericoke

Re: Chemical warfare underway amongst the F1 fuel boffins
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2019, 05:49:47 PM »
OK, I'm probably behind on the rules again, but I thought the FIA took random fuel samples for analysis to be sure the teams were using "pump gas". We'll have spec fuel before long.

I was wondering about that.  Is there some sort of minimum fuel sales, like when 'sports car' racing requires x number of production models?  Maybe there's some Shell station in Amsterdam that sells this overqualified gasoline to Ferrari owners?

Offline John S

Re: Chemical warfare underway amongst the F1 fuel boffins
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2019, 10:58:43 AM »
Contrary to popular belief it seems teams don't have to run standard pump fuel, however it's the FIA's intention to ensure use of fuels composed of compounds normally found in commercial fuels.

I've pulled from their website the relevant section from the current FIA regulations, see below - be warned it's a long read - the length I feel allows for more than one loophole. ;)

19.1 Purpose of Article 19 :
19.1.1 The purpose of this Article is to ensure that the fuel used in Formula One is petrol as this term
is generally understood.
19.1.2 The detailed requirements of this Article are intended to ensure the use of fuels that are
composed of compounds normally found in commercial fuels and to prohibit the use of specific
power‐boosting chemical compounds. Acceptable compounds and compound classes are
defined in 19.2 and 19.4.3. In addition, to cover the presence of low level impurities, the sum
of components lying outside the 19.2 and 19.4.3 definitions are limited to 1% max m/m of the
total fuel.
19.1.3 Any petrol, which appears to have been formulated in order to subvert the purpose of this
regulation, will be deemed to be outside it.
19.2 Definitions :
Paraffins ‐ Straight chain and branched alkanes.
Olefins ‐ Straight chain and branched mono‐olefins and di‐olefins.
- Monocyclic mono‐olefins (with five or more carbon atoms in the ring) with
or without paraffinic side chains.
Di‐olefins ‐ Straight chain or branched or monocyclic hydrocarbons (with five or more
carbon atoms in any ring) with or without paraffinic side chains, containing
two double bonds per molecule.
Naphthenes ‐ Monocyclic alkanes (with five or more carbon atoms in the ring) with or
without paraffinic side chains.
Aromatics ‐ Monocyclic and bicyclic aromatic rings with or without paraffinic side
Oxygenates ‐ Organic compounds containing oxygen.
Biocomponents ‐ Paraffins, olefins, naphthenes, aromatics and oxygenates, as defined above,
derived in whole or part from biological origins. For the purposes of
quantification, the biocomponent contribution of a given molecule is
defined as the carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms from biological origin as
a percent of the total molecule, on a mass/mass basis. The biocomponent
contribution of a co‐produced stream is determined as the bio feedstock
percentage on a mass/mass basis.
Metals Metals are defined as alkali metals, alkaline earth metals, transition metals,
actinides, lanthanides, post‐transition metals and metalloids.
Alkali Metals Group 1 elements, excluding hydrogen.
19.3 Properties :
The only fuel permitted is petrol having the following characteristics :
Property Units Min Max Test Method
(RON+MON)/2 87.0 ASTM D 2699/D 2700
Oxygen wt% 3.7 Elemental Analysis
Nitrogen mg/kg 500 ASTM D 5762
Benzene wt% 1.0 GC‐MS
DVPE kPa 45 60(1) EN13016‐1
Lead mg/l 5.0 ASTM D 3237 or ICP‐OES
Manganese mg/l 2.0 ASTM D 3831 or ICP‐OES
Metals (excluding alkali metals) mg/l 5.0 ICP‐OES
Oxidation Stability minutes 360 ASTM D 525
Sulphur mg/kg 10 EN ISO 20846
Electrical conductivity pS/m 200 ASTM D 2624
Final Boiling Point oC 210 ISO 3405
Distillation Residue %v/v 2.0 ISO 3405
(1) The maximum DVPE may rise to 68kPa if a minimum of 2% bio‐methanol and/or bio‐ethanol
are included in the fuel.
The fuel will be accepted or rejected according to ASTM D 3244 with a confidence limit of 95%.
19.4 Composition of the fuel :
19.4.1 The composition of the petrol must comply with the specifications detailed below :
Component Units Min Max Test Method
Aromatics wt% 40* GCMS
Olefins wt% 17* GCMS
Total di‐olefins wt% 0.1 GCMS
Total styrene and alkyl derivatives wt% 0.1 GCMS
* Values corrected for fuel oxygen content.
In addition, the fuel must contain no substance which is capable of exothermic reaction in the
absence of external oxygen.
19.4.2 The total of individual hydrocarbon components present at concentrations of less than 5%
m/m of the total fuel must be at least 30% m/m of the hydrocarbon component of the fuel.
19.4.3 The only oxygenates permitted are paraffinic mono‐alcohols and paraffinic mono‐ethers with a
final boiling point below 210°C.
19.4.4 A minimum of 5.75% (m/m) of the fuel must comprise bio‐components.
19.4.5 Hydrocarbons (as defined in 19.2, but not including di‐olefins) and oxygenates (lying outside
the 19.4.3 definition) or mixtures thereof, which have been produced from biomass, may be
included in Formula One fuel as part of the 5.75% bio‐components quota, provided that a
suitable analytical procedure is available for their quantification and to verify their biological
origin. Their use in F1 fuel will be dependent on evidence indicating that the supplier is
genuinely developing these compounds for use in commercial fuels.
19.5 Air :
Only ambient air may be mixed with the fuel as an oxidant.
19.6 Safety :
19.6.1 All competitors must be in possession of a Material Safety Data Sheet for each type of petrol
used. This sheet must be made out in accordance with EC Directive 93/112/EEC and all
information contained therein strictly adhered to.
19.7 Fuel approval :
19.7.1 Before any fuel may be used in an Event, two separate five litre samples, in suitable containers,
must be submitted to the FIA for analysis and approval.
19.7.2 No fuel may be used in an Event without prior written approval of the FIA.
19.7.3 No competitor may have more than five fuel formulations approved for use during a
Championship season.
19.7.4 No competitor may have more than two approved fuels available during an Event.
Extract from FIA 2019 FORMULA ONE TECHNICAL REGULATIONS, Published on 12 MARCH 2019.
Racing is life - everything else is just waiting. (Steve McQueen)

Offline Alianora La Canta

Re: Chemical warfare underway amongst the F1 fuel boffins
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2019, 04:36:42 PM »
The teams are required to use pump fuel, give or take the allowances cited in the regulation. Otherwise it isn't petrol as this is generally understood and/or is something designed to subvert the regulation.

Quite a lot of changes are permitted, though you would likely find at least 98% of the top-level fuel each company sells for the road is the same as the F1 fuel formulations. (Note, teams get to have 5 per season, but only 2 in a given race).
Percussus resurgio
@lacanta (Twitter) (Blog/Tumblr)


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