Ferrari and their partner Shell carried out an fascinating experiment last week, which hasn’t been tried before in the modern era. They wanted to see how the Shell V Power road car fuel you can buy on the forecourt would perform in an F1 car and how it would compare with the race fuel Ferrari use.
The FIA regulations stipulate that Formula One race fuels must be composed of compounds normally found in commercial fuels, but there are some tightly controlled areas where they can innovate with additives for more power or to control temperatures and such like. A lot of work goes into this.
The outcome was surprising, as UK viewers may have seen at the weekend in this piece Jake Humphrey did about it.
Fernando Alonso did the comparison test at Fiorano with a 2009 Ferrari F1 car (a two year old car is allowed to test under FIA rules, but not one more recent) and drove four laps using the race fuel, setting a fastest lap time of 1:03.950. He then did a similar length run on the road car fuel and was 9/10ths slower, the race fuel being notably superior in pick up and acceleration, but the road fuel amazingly was faster in top speed at the end of the straight.
“99% of the chemistry in Shell V-Power race fuel is identical to the chemistry used in the road fuel that can be bought at Shell forecourts,” said Alonso. “The Shell V-Power road fuel felt just as quick as the Formula One fuel. It’s a nice surprise.”
Check out the video below. There’s an interesting explanation from Alonso of the telemetry showing the results of the comparison test.