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Your questions answered: F1 fuels
Your questions answered: F1 fuels
Posted By: James Allen  |  05 Jun 2011   |  11:51 am GMT  |  34 comments

A month ago I posted a video based on a visit I made to the Shell F1 fuels laboratory in Cheshire, England, where I got the chance to mix some F1 fuel and see what went into it.

This post prompted many questions from readers about F1 fuels and while I was at Maranello this week with Ferrari, I took the opportunity to put some of these questions to the experts; Cara Tredget and Mike Evans, who are responsible for Shell’s F1 activities with Ferrari. Here are their answers.

By the way, if you are wondering what the setting is for this Q&A, it’s the Ferrari museum.

Wherever possible if I have a bunch of questions on a theme from readers, when I get a chance at an event like this, I will put them to the experts, whatever the subject matter may be.

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Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

it is one fact that baffles me; shell promotes so called v-power; i understood it is gasoline with more nitrogen in it; now we know the turbo gives more power/torque, better mileage,.. forcing more oxygen into the cylinder and everybody looks for more oxygen there;

why shell promotes something that will burn less completely?

ps please don’t give me the answer concerning the “cleanliness” of internal engine parts..people nowadays change cars (engines) every 5 yrs around and they really don’t care about the “what and how clean it’s there inside the engine”

anybody can give an explanation ?!?!?


i saw a crash pre 1986 i think involving 2 car s 1 ended up i water one in a tree a driver died put me off f1 . but i love it now my partner said this never happend ??? did it and where



I am fan to Alonoso. In Italy and Beligian races Alonoso car is very slow in final laps. Hence following cars are overtaking him easily in final laps. Is there any problem raising in his car after cerian laps?




In recent years, race often interrupted by rain. Really don’t understand why the race should be stopped until the rain is over or until the water is being cleared off the track. Ain’t F1 cars are designed to race in various weather conditions? If it is considered dangerous to continue, ain’t that this is when the skills and talents of the drivers come in play? Should they slow down if they think the track is not in ideal condition? Is this not fair for the smaller teams? I still remember the “most expensive car park in the world” which happened in a wet Brazil race at turn 2 (Senna S) exit number of years back. If it happen now, the race would have been red flagged. Is it the F1 cars now is much more fragile than it was before? Even MotoGP often continue to race after they pitted for wet tyre bike, peculiarly, F1 cars have 2 extra wheels…


Well you’ve done it again James, given your followers & the true F1 fans additional info and the chance to listen to the people inside the teams.

Thank you.


Really great James…..another aspect of the sport that you are shedding light on…..Thanks!


James. Thanks for putting those questions to the “techsperts”. Also, very high regard for your behind the scenes preview on race day here on OneHD Australia, many thanks for your insights. I reckon Shell are missing a trick if they only tailor a fuel to the high rev range. In my view, as well as this, they should be ensuring the engines give great acceleration from lower revs. Anyway, their V-Power makes my car run better and gives more MPG so well done Shell.


good choice having her as the thumbnail for the video! made me watch wow what a stunner! loving the slightly geeky look


Ha ha, yeah she got me too ! Great clip James you really are here trying to give everybody an insight and or better understanding of what F1 is and how it works, with what is a very limited amount of time you get to do it with Thank you.

Would still be very interested to know about the HP the engines are currently making. Obviously they don’t have little stickers on the side of the cowling that you could just jot them down as you stroll along the grid, 810hp,798hp etc. When the turbo era is back upon us you may find out for us how much driveability could offset absolute HP.

Great site James thanks again.


On the subject of fuel and Ferrari, does any one else remember the article about Ferrari having special light weight fuel, which produced the same power but weighed less per litre? Was it true? This was back when Schumacher drove for them.


James on the fuel, I would love to know how the resource agreement has restricted them in any ways?


Very interesting piece James thanks, it would be good to do further pieces like this about the seemingly insignificant things in F1 that actually have a big influence on the sport. For example how carbon fibre is constructed and the new materials they are using that like to flex.

I’d also like to see interviews with the safety team and marshals and the training and preparation they undertake in the run up to a race weekend.


Ooh nice stuff James 🙂 didn’t realise different teams have different fuel supplier! Do you know which other suppliers are used by other teams? Maybe it’ll be interesting to know how much performance difference a fuel supplier can bring to the car!

Thanks! 🙂


Some of the fuel “suppliers” are buying their fuel from a outfit in the UK that specialises in blending racing fuel and just paying for sticker space on the cars.Anyone using a Ferrari engine is using unbranded Shell fuel and lubricants (Except Ferrari of course)


Hi James,

Don’t suppose there’s any chance that you could also post a transcript of the interview as not everyone can watch videos…


Just the one question, James.

Can you get me her number?


Yes, James, sorry to be so off-topic, but…there is something so attractive about this woman, I hope you manage to have her picture up somewhere on the page for years more to come. I would love to take her to dinner. A couple hundred times. 🙂

Daniel Shires

Wish i’d known you were coming up James, I live around the corner and would’ve put the kettle on!

Great video and insight.


Many thanks James. How does one pose questions like this to you? Thanks


Here in the comments section. I get hundreds so can’t always promise to answer, but if there are a few on same subject after a post, like the fuels one, I’ll try to get together with experts for answers


Thanks James.


I just want to say a big THANK YOU for this article James! Especially as the ‘middle question’ that YOU were also interested to know the answer to, came from me! Cool Follow-up, many thanks!


Thank you James. Fascinating.

When you have something like this, i.e., meeting folks in such very unique jobs, I think it would be interesting to hear a bit of their story, of the path that brought them to such a position.


Interesting spot. Thanks for getting the answers.

But shoot the camera-person! They were obviously standing too close, which prevented them from consistently framing the speaker.


Why does it seem all the boffins at Ferrari are Brits?


I think the Cara girl had her eye on you James 😀


I agree, she was smiling a lot LOL


From the couple of interviews I’ve seen with her, she’s always like that – full of enthusiasm. Which is always nice to see.


She was in Singapore 2011 for some Shell PR event where Massa was to appear. Felipe was late by a couple of hours, but all the technical questions she fielded from the audience and replied sensibly to… my, oh my, best PR event ever!


Thanks James. It’s really great to have this extra layer of interaction with your followers! Keep it up mate!

Michael Grievson

thats quite interesting.

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