The importance of engine oilEngine lubricant is critical. The very lifeblood of the engine, the reliable running of the Formula One car would not be possible without this oil. The tailored blend of Shell Helix gives exactly the right level of cleansing and protection whilst maximising the power output of the engine.
The first job of Shell Helix is to protect all the moving parts that rub together from mechanical wear. The oil is fed to the bearings of the camshafts to lubricate, minimising friction and wear, thereby enhancing the engine’s reliability. The enormous forces required to open the valves quickly enough at 19,000 rev/min must also be transmitted through a lubricant effectively and without failure.
The engine is exposed to extreme conditions and high temperatures as it turns. The ‘multi-tasking’ lubricant is designed to take away the heat, controlling the engine temperature and preventing the heat from having a detrimental affect. The ability of an engine oil to cool as well as lubricate is often overlooked. Pistons can exceed temperatures of 300°C; engine oil is sprayed on the underside of the pistons to keep them cool - without this extra protection they would undoubtedly fail in a race.
However it takes a very good engine lubricant to find the right balance of these characteristics whilst also ensuring the car’s performance is fully optimised. As the Shell Helix travels through the engine the formulation is designed to maximise the power delivered to the engine so that no energy is wasted.
Lisa Lilley, Shell Technology Manager for Ferrari: "When you consider that the oil flow rates around the engine are faster than the speed of the Ferrari Formula One car, this gives you an idea of the extreme conditions in a Formula One engine. At Shell we have a team dedicated to tailoring Shell Helix engine oil for the Ferrari so that we can ensure reliability and protection but we can also guarantee the car is receiving the most horsepower possible."