Tag Archives: Shell

Formula One: #5ForTheFans Shell Motorsport & Scuderia Ferrari fan Q&A

As the 2017 Formula One season got underway earlier today, Shell Motorsport & Scuderia Ferrari sat down to answers a series of questions from fans submitted through Twitter to Shell Motorsport. With Kimi, Seb and Shell’s Guy Lovett there is a sense of optimisation coupled with quiet confidence around their 2017 challenge.

Thanks to Guy for answering my question (@jonnywilde) in full and not giving the short response suggested by Sebastian!

Shell Motorsport will run more fan engagement sessions similar to this through the season, follow them on social media to get involved!

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Formula One: Kimi & Seb head to the beach

Ahead of 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix, Scuderia Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Räikkönen tried their hand at Beach Volleyball. In an event organised by long term team partner Santander the duo competed against each alongside banking customers who later took time out to explain the challenges of fitting training into a hectic life schedule.

Scuderia Ferrari and partners Santander, UPS, & Shell have gone to great lengths in 2016 to create accessible content for fans of the team to engage with their drivers in new and original ways.  The approach is clearly paying off as Kimi, notorious for not enjoying the commerical aspect of F1 life, can be seen in this film actually smiling!

Great job Santander!

Formula One: Debunking the BP rumour

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Over the past week various news outlets have reported BP are set to enter Formula One with a $30 Million sponsorship deal heading the way of either Renault or Mclaren. Whilst there is no formal comment from any party to confirm or deny the story, a little bit of a sanity check might be helpful.

The optimisation of current the iteration of Formula One power unit technology is more dependant on fuel and lubricant specificities now more than any time in the history of the sport. Power units and their respective fuel and lubricants are developed in conjunction with each other. Whilst the fuel used in Formula One is made up of 99% the same compounds you would expect to see in the forecourt, the remaining 1% has a huge impact on vehicle performance and is unique to each and every supplier.

At this time there are 4 power unit manufacturers and 4 fuel and lubricant suppliers in Formula One. These are:

Shell with Ferrari

ExxonMobil (Mobil 1 / Esso) with Honda

Petronas with Mercedes

Total with Renault.

All teams using customer power units will use the fuel and lubricant supply defined as above. Any additional fuel and lubricant sponsorship with customer teams are sponsorship partners only. They do not supply the team.

Unlike agreements such as that with BR Petrobras and Williams, given the comparable size and market share BP have to Petronas, Shell, & ExxonMobil it is highly unlikely either party would be prepared to have a customer team run with BP branding and a competitor’s fuel and lubricant supply.

The development of fuel and lubricant solutions is a continual process, at any given time Shell, for example, could have up to 65 compounds in development. Fuel and lubricant partnership is integral to a team. In 2015 Scuderia Ferrari attributed 25% of their performance gains through the season to Shell. Fuel and lubricant suppliers bring trackside laboratories to every F1 race. They analyse the performance of their product after every session. Relationships are so well developed that a fuel and lubricant supplier can and do advise a race team on how to approach race strategy.

Fuel and lubricant suppliers do not enter Formula One for simple brand exposure. They use the sport as a platform to innovate. Innovation reaching the circuit can take as long as five years to hit the forecourt. Formula One engagement is not a short term quick win project.

In short, if BP were to be entering Formula One the undertaking and commitment would require a significant change in business strategy. It would be much more complex than writing a cheque for $30 Million. If a new partnership is not already known it would not be realistic to expect anything for at least 2 years. With all this in mind it seems highly unlikely BP would find an existing power unit manufacturer prepared to leave an existing partner for the foreseeable future.

What could be possible is an acquisition. This could take a number of forms. An existing fuel and lubricant supplier could be looking to exit Formula One. They may look to sell their assets and technology in the sport to BP. With consumers looking increasingly to renewable energy sources the return on investment of motorsport engagement may no longer be what it once was so this is possible.

Another option could be BP acquiring, or being acquired. Both Shell and ExxonMobil have been reported to be considering growth through acquisition strategies. If this was the case, they may look to showcase the BP brand through their premier  marketing platform. Equally if BP chose to merge or acquire Shell, Petronas, ExxonMobil, or Total, they may seek to promote the BP brand in F1. At this time it is not possible to entirely dismiss rumours of BP entering Formula One, but one thing is for certain, if a deal does transpire it will be a lot more complex than writing a cheque and putting a few stickers on a car.

Kids and Motorsport

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Some of my earliest childhood memories are of watching Formula One on the TV with my dad. Sitting together to watch our heroes racing against each other on a Sunday afternoon created a very special father son bond, something we have maintained to this day. From the moment my children were born I’ve been looking forward to the day I can start taking her to racing events with me.

Over the past year I have set about forging a career in motorsport, whilst the financial aspect of this career choice is taking a bit more time to come together than I might have hoped, developing a network within the industry is coming along nicely. It was through this network I found myself in the position to be able to take my daughter (6) and eldest son (3) to the closing rounds of the European F3 championship and DTM championship in Hockenheim last weekend.

As a bit of a racing obsessive it is very easy to forget the intricacies of motor racing and just accept them as a given. Taking the time to explain them to my children made me take stock and start to question a few of the accepted norms.

This first occurred when explaining qualifying. When the DTM cars first went out on track my daughter, Isabelle, asked if they were racing now. I explained, they were out driving as fast as they can to decide what position they will start the race in. Without any hesitation, she replied “so the fastest starts as the back?” to which I explained the opposite was the case “but that’s boring, no one will overtake like that” came her reply. It’s such a simple point, but entirely fair. If the fastest start first how can we expect an entertaining race? Don’t get me wrong I completely take on board the traditionalists view of going racing, but it’s very hard to argue with a child’s logic.

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Our tickets for the weekend came from friends in an F3 team. At short notice they had arranged Paddock tickets for us. When we arrived at the circuit our host took the time to meet us at the circuit entrance and take us over to the paddock on the back of her quad bike. My son, Ben, would tell you, as he has all his friends, that was the real highlight of the day! Being given paddock tickets for a race is and will always be, a huge thing for me, but when it came to watching racing Isabelle made another observation. “why can’t we sit in the Stadium [grandstand]?” my reply “We don’t have tickets for the grandstand, we’ve got a good view of the track here” to which she replied “but there are so many empty seats, why can’t we just go and sit there?” Again she made a valid point. Why do fans simply accept empty grandstands and find a hill to watch the racing on. Sure I could have paid for a grandstand seat, but to be honest I wasn’t sure they would sit through an entire race. If circuits have empty seats, and fans sitting around the circuit, why not just open up the grandstands. Create a positive atmosphere and people will be more encouraged to come again, and pay for other activities at the circuit.

On to the racing itself, DTM worked fantastically for kids, well for my kids at least. During qualifying we each picked our favourite car, by colour of course, Isabelle went for the Pink Mercedes (Mücke Motorsport, Chrisitan Vietoris, & Lucas Auer) I went for the Red & White Shell BMW of Augusto Farfus, and Ben went for the Yellow BMW post van driven by Timo Glock. Each car has a digital read out on the side window displaying the drivers position in the race. Each lap Isabelle and Ben had to tell me what position their car was in and if they had move up or down from the last lap. As the race progressed this developed into telling me the position of the Red Bull cars, or the make of the car in first. The race flew by and despite our drivers not winning both Ben and Isabelle were able to explain the race to an impressive level of detail.

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Supporting the F3 and DTM was the Porsche Supercup, it was impressive to see that in addition to huge hospitality areas, Porsche had invested in creating a road safety area for young children. Children were given a tutorial on crossing roads safely and watching out for traffic lights and other simple road signs, then given 20 minutes to roam around a specially laid out circuit in peddle powered go karts and scooters. Whilst for an adult it might not sound overly riveting, my kids loved it. Plus, it gave me a chance to sit down for a few minutes!

Overall my first experience of Motorsport with children was positive, The DTM set up feels far more family friendly than my experiences of Formula One, there are activities for all ages, teams and drivers are happy to make time for you and the racing is easy to follow and not too long.  Leaving the circuit Isabelle talked about what she had enjoyed during the day and what our next racing experience would be, casually mentioning informing me I’d be taking her to a Formula One race to meet Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. No pressure then!

Formula One: Iceman becomes Fireman – Kimi’s Job Swap

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In the build up to this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix, Scuderia Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen took time away from the circuit to try his hand as a fire fighter in the latest project in the  the Shell V-Power Job Swap campaign.

Job Swap, as the name suggests, takes Scuderia Ferrari drivers away from the familiarity of an F1 cockpit and gives them an opportunity to experience other roles in which vehicle and fuel performance are critical for a very different reason. Following Sebastian Vettel’s job swap with a Paramedic earlier this year, Kimi set out to go one better working Mohd Uzair bin Abdullah – a veteran with Malaysia’s Fire and Rescue Department.

Unsurprisingly when commenting on his experience tackling a purpose build obstacle course in an 18 tonne fire truck Kimi remarked “The fire truck is such a different vehicle to my Ferrari car, and it was a new experience to drive it.”

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Uzair mentioned, “getting the opportunity to work with Kimi to understand how he safeguards himself, helped me realise how similar we are in our jobs. Although we face different challenges, ultimately we both strive to protect ourselves so we can perform better at our jobs.”

“Initially, we were unsure what to expect from this unique activity. In the end, both drivers discovered the importance of preparation, and the vital role played by protection in the performance of both roles. Shell is committed to motorsports as an integral part of our Research & Development programme. Our innovations developed for the track help us make better fuels for our customers, enabling them to perform on the road with engines protected by Shell V-Power” said Shairan Huzani Husain, General Manager of Shell Retail Malaysia/Brunei.

With a strong performance from Scuderia Ferrari in the opening practice sessions for the Malaysian Grand Prix. Kimi and Sebastian look to be in a position to challenge for the top step of the podium this weekend. The team will be working closely with Shell to ensure the perfect balance between performance and efficiency as they seek to bring secure the best possible position in the 2016 Formula One World Constructors Championship.

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Formula One: Racing from the reprofiled Sepang

Sepang, home of the Malaysian Grand Prix, has seen extensive redevelopment since the 2015 F1 race last March. The circuit first joined the F1 calender in 1999, this redevelopment represents this first significant upgrade since its construction.

Thankfully, rather than focusing exclusively  developing the pit and paddock area, the upgrades are largely focused on the circuit itself. Making racing and fans the main benefactors. The entire circuit has been resurfaced, and many corners have been re-profiled. Whilst the layout is unchanged, Italian Circuit design house Dromo have set out to maintain the essence of the circuit and create a new challenge in races.

Earlier this year, a round of the SHELL Advance Asia Talent Cup Championship took place at the venue. This race highlights the impact of the changes, in particular the increase in racing lines into the final corner.

Dromo are the same design house tasked with the upgrades of the Monza circuit, which following the F1 contract extension now appear to have been postponed.

 

 

Formula One: Seb’s Summer Job Swap

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As the Formula One circus heads into the traditional summer break Scuderia Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel took some time to try his hand at a very different kind of high speed performance vehicle.

In the first of  series of Job Swap Challenges developed by the Shell V-Power team, Sebastian Vettel handed over the keys of a Ferrari 488 GTB to Alex Knapton, a South Central Ambulance Service paramedic with more than 1300 call emergency call outs to his name, who in return gave Vettel the keys to his florescent pride and joy! The challenge; which driver could set the fastest lap time in vehicles somewhat different to those used in their day job! Although with Alex behind the wheel of a Ferrari 488 GTB with a top speed of over 200 mph, and Sebastian trying his hand in a 3 tonne Ambulance with a top speed of only 88 mph, the advantage going into the challenge was clear.

After a morning of mutual tutoring the two went head to head against the clock, check out the results here:

Speaking about the challenge Sebastian commented: “Paramedics play an essential role in motorsport around the world and not just in Formula 1. They need to perform to such high standards every day because people’s lives depends on them”

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Alex went on to add “Getting the opportunity to swap the ambulance for the Ferrari 488 GTB was a dream come true! It was an unbelievable experience to get that close to one of the stars of Formula 1. Sebastian was on great form coaching on high performance driving tips and joking about the lack of a radio in the ambulance.”

The continually novel approach from Shell to bring the virtues of Shell V-Power Nitro + to life are incredibly impressive. The innovations Shell bring to the track through the long standing partnership with Scuderia Ferrari, whilst focused on bringing performance to the racing team, are ultimately developed with the forecourt and the customer in mind. 99% of the compounds used in fuel used to go racing is seen in V-Power fuels for the road.

Hopefully Alex’s experience will have convinced him and the South Central Ambulance Service to use Shell V-Power in future… … maybe that will help him find that missing 7 seconds!

Follow the Shell Motorsport team on Twitter here

Formula One: 2017 technical regulations an opportunity for Shell

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The impact of  2017 changes in Formula One technical regulations have received significant media attention in recent months. With wider tyres and increased front and rear wings coming our way, the visual impact of a 2017 F1 challenger is set to be quite dramatic. An area which has been explored in less detail has been the impact the regulations may or may not have on fuel performance.

Speaking to select media at a Shell V-Power event at the Bruntingthorpe proving ground in Leicestershire following the British Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel and Guy Lovett, Shell Motorsport Innovation Manger, spoke about the regulations and the possible implications.

Guy Lovett: ” It [the regulation changes] gives us a little more opportunity, the token system is abolished so the engine development side of things is more open and its the same on the fuel side. The important thing is for us to exploit our close relationship with Ferrari and ultimately develop the best package. From a fuel perspective, that doesn’t necessarily  change how we work, it just gives us more opportunity”

Sebastian Vettel  “from a driving point of view, next year we will have more grip, more downforce, but that means also more drag down the straight which might slow us down a bit. And the fuel consumption might go up because you have more drag. Equally we go faster through the corners, so it will be interesting to see from that front what we need to do in the car. will we be saving fuel or can we be flat out?”

You can view the interview in full through the Shell Motorsport Periscope Channel Here:

Questions around the impact of 2017 regulations from JWGP can be seen at around 10 minutes into the broadcast.

Over the course of 2015, Shell V-Power introduced five fuel compound upgrades to Scuderia Ferrari, these upgrades delivered a performance improvement of around 0.5 seconds per lap. Such a rate of development and performance gain is a testament to the strength of the partnership. The development race continues into 2016 with Shell set to introduce a new fuel compound for Scuderia Ferrari in the coming races. With such a significant regulation change coming in 2017 Shell have already begun to divert resources towards the 2017 programme. After the summer break the resource split between seasons will be around 50/50, with a complete shift to 2017 planning coming soon after.

A key defining factor in 2017 compound development will be final conclusion of the technical regulations. At this time it has not been confirmed if Fuel tank capacity will increase from 100kg to 105kg or if the current regulation will be maintained. As mentioned earlier in the interview with increased drag through the aero regulations likely to increase fuel consumption, if fuel tanks remain at 100kg Shell will focus their efforts seeking efficiency gains. If the fuel tank capacity increases a greater focus on performance from fuel can be expected.

For more from Shell Motorport, you can follow them on Twitter here

Formula One: Goodwood – The Glastonbury of Motorsport

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Those who know me know of my obsession with motorsport and my love for Glastonbury. In 2016 for one reason and another it has not been possible for my family and I to head to Worthy Farm, so for the first time in a long time I found myself free over the last weekend in June. That was until I saw an email come through with the subject line: Invitation to the Goodwood Festival of Speed!

I was invited to Goodwood by my friends at Shell & BMW. Shell are the fuels and lubricants partner of the festival, BMW this year take centre stage (quite literally! As you will see in the above image of the huge sculpture presented by BMW featuring iconic cars through the ages of the brand) at the festival, celebrating their 100th year of operation.

To do the event justice I would say you say need to give yourself at least two days, there really is something for everyone. I would break down the Festival of Speed in the same way I think of Glastonbury. The Hillclimb which runs through the centre of the grounds is like the Pyramid stage, the key feature, a must see element of the day will run up the hill and you could easily spend a day solely focus on the hill climb and go home satisfied. Adjacent to the hill climb are the manufacturers stands, similar to those you might expect to see at an indoor motor show but turned up to 11. Each stand is trying to out do the other, and the only real winners are the fans. Honda turned up this year with a life size recreation of the iconic Fisher Price garage that many of us born in the 70s, 80s or 90s may have played with us as children. Heading away from here you begin to unearth some of the other manufacturers at the event, supercars you thought you had discovered that it turns out everyone is excited to see, then stumbling on a gem like the FIA stand where you could see, touch and experience the 2017 F1 designed halo system. Everyone involved with the automotive industry it seems, has a presence of some sort at the festival.

Heading over to the other opposite side of the festival you have the excellent collection of classic BMW’s through the ages, and Goodwood house itself. Spending time here felt as exclusive as the moment you stumble upon the Eavis family farm whilst touring the Glastonbury site. Getting to the nitty gritty of the festival you see the temporary garages of every car taking part in the Hillclimb, every car you can imagine is represented, it’s almost too much to take in.  Short of time I made my way to the Toyota LMP1 area, to give homage to the rightful winner of the 2016 running of the Le Mans 24hr, and check out some of the iconic touring cars of my childhood. With more than 140,000 in attendance over 3 days one thing the festival is not, is quiet. The crowds can be substantial but never overbearing, you find yourself with groups of like minded people respectful of the environment they are in and the machinery they are bearing witness to. There must be 100’s of millions of pounds’ worth of cars on display over the weekend, and yet rarely do you find an owner unwilling to let you get up close and personal with the car of your dreams. There is a sense of openness and sharing to the event; a true appreciation of motorsports.

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Returning to my hosts, to celebrate the Shell BMW partnership and 100 years of BMW we were tasked to complete a set number of challenges within 100 minutes. Progress against these challenges was to be reported on Twitter. The challenges included speaking to Shell technicians around the virtues of using Shell V-Power Nitro+, something which despite my initial reservations a number of months I fully subscribed too, not only in terms of performance improvement, but in vehicle maintenance. Checking out the Shell Eco-marathon cars, challenging yourself to drive in the most efficient way possible, which at Festival of Speed did feel a little counter intuitive, engage my followers on Twitter in competitions to win Shell V-Power vouchers, through questions on BMW’s successes in Motorsport, I should say at this point; congratulations to those submitting correct answers to the challenges, I’ll be in touch soon to arrange your prizes! Finally heading over to the BMW stands (of which there were at least five!) to reward a random member of public with a £30 Shell V-Power fuel voucher and a very cool BMW cap.

Following the challenges, our attentions were turned to a somewhat exclusive experience. Under the mindful eye of driver instructors from Palmer Motorsport, we were given the opportunity to try out the very latest BMW M models and be taken for a lap around the Goodwood circuit with Eric van de Poele. I took the opportunity to try out the BMW i8 and M4. The i8 is a car I have adored since concept, but until today never even sat in. The experience did not disappoint; the car is nothing short of spectacular. The acceleration is incredible and vehicle dynamics similar to those I have experienced in other performance cars. Stepping into the M4 was something else entirely, having turned a few laps in the i8 my confidence possibly exceeding skill I set off on my first lap. A BMW driver myself, the car felt instantly familiar. I felt I could push much harder than in the i8. Attempting the Ford Water corner flat out on my first lap was in retrospect a little too ambitious though, with the instructor calmly informing me on the cool down lap the only thing saving us from a rather expensive moment was the active traction control. The car is nothing short of a beast.

As if all this hadn’t been enough, we were then taken back to the festival to interview an idol of mine, Alex Zanardi, if you’ve read my review of No Limits you’ll know what a big deal this was for me! The interview taught me a few things, the first of which being I desperately need to go on a media training course! Zanardi plans to return to the Paralympics in Rio this year, taking part in 3 separate events, determined to secure Gold in each. His motorsport ambition too, remains undiminished. He plans to head back to the Spa 24hr in 2017 regarding the race very much as unfinished business.

So what makes Goodwood the Glastonbury of Motorsport? Is it the; mud? 😉 the sheer magnitude of things to see, do, touch, and feel? The atmosphere? Or the people? The answer is simple. Its all of it! I’m not sure what I expected from the Festival but I know I will be back!

You can see highlights from the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed here.

Follow Shell UK here and BMW UK here.

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