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  • Interview: Ian Albiston, Project Manager-Ferrari, Shell

    Ever since 1947 Shell Helix has been developing racing fuel and lubricants in technical partnership with Scuderia Ferrari. This 60 year dream partnership has had a direct impact on the performance of the Ferrari Formula One Team. In a candid discussion with Ian Albiston, Vikram Gour got a chance to gain an insight on the Shell-Ferrari partnership as well as understand the world of Formula One through the oil filled eyes of Shell.






    Shell Helix Ferrari 2011 Formula One







    ZW: Firstly, with the Indian inaugural GP just around the corner, has there been any need to fine tune the fuel and lubricant mixture for Indian conditions? The Indian environment is rather dusty when compared to European circuits.

    Ian: Actually we don’t need to do any special development for Indian conditions. Our lubricants are developed for extreme conditions and are put through simulations of the track well in advance. Having said that, we technically could work out separate mixtures for various circuits, however each fuel mix would have to be approved by the FIA beforehand. Also, coping with separate mixes could lead to other complications, namely the creation of a third mixture! You see, if I have two fuels approved by the FIA, however I end up finishing the first drum and then I use some from the second drum and it’s a different mix, the fuel in the car will be a combination of the first and second mixture which wouldn’t be FIA approved and this could lead to the team suffering a heavy penalty in terms of a fine or even worse, they could be disqualified from the race.

    To avoid such situations, and since the fuel is regulated by the FIA, where they test the fuel before and after a race, we take no chances and use a well developed fuel for an entire season.

    ZW: What are the logistics involved in transporting the fuel and lubricants to various races?

    Ian: Discussions for the races happen at least three months prior to the event. Each country has its own lead time and since timing is critical we have a dedicated team to handle product logistics. In the case of India, all the products for the Ferrari Team left the United Kingdom on the 30th of August due to India’s custom regulations; we had to ensure we get the fuels out ahead of time and passed through customs in order to be well in time for the race.
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