Tag Archives: Total

Formula One: Total selects Formula E over Formula 1

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As part of an overarching agreement between PSA (Parent Company of Citroen DS) and Total, recently extended until 2021, from this weekend’s Buenos Aires ePrix Total will join the DS Virgin Formula E Racing Team.

The Partnership will see Total focuses on the development of dedicated products, lubricants and fluids allowing to improve the car’s efficiency in terms of power, as well as reducing the quantity of energy it consumes.

The announcement of Total’s partnership within Formula E follows the conclusion of the brand’s involvement in Formula One as fuel and lubricant supplier to Renault powered works and customer teams.

Speaking on the partnership Xavier Mestelan Pinon, Director, DS Performance, remarked:

“DS Performance is in Formula E because the series offers a scope for research that no other form of motorsport can currently match. At this stage in the DSV-02’s development, we are exploring solutions to the different constraints we face. Total needs no introduction and our association with them has already harvested valuable efficiency-related gains. The lubricants, fluids and greases Total’s engineers have developed will bring a real plus in terms of performance and are also allowing us to push our own research work even further.”

“Formula E embodies the sporting expression of the evolution of the automotive industry with regard to the energy mix,” said Pierre-Gautier Caloni, Director of Total Competition & Sponsoring. The values of this championship are shared by Total. This partnership with DS Performance will enable our engineers to design, develop and test specific lubricants, fluids and greases under extreme stress conditions. Ultimately, technology transfer will enable electric vehicle owners to benefit from these products. Indeed, at Total, the same researchers formulate the competition products and those for the general public. A real “best-practice” laboratory, Formula E brings real added value to the mobility of all.”

For a comprehensive overview of the Fuel and Lubricant situation within motorsport, check out the following report I posted in Paddock Magazine earlier this week.

Total transitioning towards Formula E could mark the beginning of a new era in motorsport sponsorship from the fuel and lubricant sector.

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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.

Formula One – Letter of Intent Signed between Group Renault & Gravity Motorsports – Lotus F1 Team

Press Release

Renault have this morning confirmed signature on a letter of intent regarding the potential acquisition of the Lotus F1 team. At this time there has been no formal public response from the Lotus F1 Team of Gravity Motorsport, but it is likely this notification will lead to the sale of the team which should serve to resolve the immediate cash flow issues faced by the team.

In the short press release from Group Renault, a keen emphasis is placed on the long association Renault have with Formula One, it can be expected this history will place a significant role in the rebranding of the Enstone based team.

The announcement makes no reference to the relationship between Red Bull Racing and Renault, with the latter formally under supply agreement for 2016. Further news on this should be expected in the coming days and weeks.  No mention has been made around the Power Unit the team will use in 2016, logically it can be assumed the team will run the Renault unit, despite agreements in place with Mercedes Benz. Renault have elected to focus power unit developments on the 2016 program rather than introducing upgrades through the token system in 2015, no doubt significant strides will be made in 2016 regarding performance and reliability.

Sponsors and Driver Line up developments will be of particular interest, with Renault likely to transfer Infiniti and Total Agreements from Red Bull Racing to the Renault team.

Pastor Maldonardo has been announced as a 2016 driver for the Lotus F1 team, the Venezuelan brings substantial national backing to team in the form of PDVSA branding. It will be interesting to see if the team which will act under a new legal entity maintain this contracted commitment.

Romain Grosjean is expected to announce his departure from the team on tomorrow moving to the newly formed Haas F1 team. Possible replacements include Esteban Ocon & Jolyon Palmer. It should also be noted with the possible departure of Red Bull Racing from the sport Daniel Riccardo, Daniil Kvyat, Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz may also be seeking a seat in 2016.