Mercedes fuel supplier Petronas brings extrenal help into F1

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The Malaysian company Petronas which has been involved in the sport as Mercedes fuel and oil supplier for a number of years seeks now for external help in a bid to improve the team’s hopes in this year’s cutthroat battle between the German team and its arch rival Ferrari.

Both Mercedes and Ferrari introduced their third-specification engine at Spa, during the Belgian Grand Prix. Ferrari suggested that 20 per cent of its engine gains were down to new lubricants and fuel developed by its long-time partner Shell.

As both title aspirants Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have already used up all their fresh engines, further engine gains can be achieved through new fuel solutions and fine-tuning via electronics.

In a bid to find answers to its rival’s significant engine developments through the summer races, Mercedes turns to its fuel supplier Petronas. Andy Holmes, head of research of the Malaysian oil company said that his group will chase more radical concepts as traditional avenues of fuel development have already been exhausted.

"For us, what is critical at the moment is a pipeline of new ideas, new chemistries, and tuning the fuel properties to meet the challenges that are coming," he told Autosport in an exclusive interview at Petronas' Turin research facility ahead of the Italian Grand Prix,” he is quoted as sysing by autosport.com.

"So, the pressure is on us. That increasingly takes us in the direction of new chemistries. We are increasing our investment and innovation, looking to develop new components and new fluids that can keep giving us incremental gains.We think it is tough, but the reason we are in it is because we think those gains can be made."

Eric Holthusen, Petronas' chief technology officer added that the firm which has its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur might launch cooperations with universities where research is being done without any external pressure.

"Andy and I are constantly under pressure and whatever we do we are asked: 'What is the value to the business?' - if you are at university you have a lot more freedom and you can play with new chemistries.

"We need to make sure we understand what is happening in universities. And if we see something that is promising, ensure that we are part of the gang," he is quoted as saying by motorsport.com