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. ARTICLE 19 : FUEL
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
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
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.