Despite saying in the press recently, that Red Bull might well be a challenger for the 2018 Championships, he also can’t help but poke one to the Milton Keynes outfit Red Bull Racing.
Red Bull Racing is the only Formula 1 customer team that works with a different fuel partner to the factory team. Renault and their customer McLaren use BP / Castrol (McLaren will be looking to move over to Petrobras). Red Bull Racing, on the other hand, works with ExxonMobil.
Ferrari and customer teams Sauber and Haas use Shell whilst Mercedes and their customers of Force India and Williams are on Petronas.
Wolff explains: “ExxonMobil is capable of producing first-class lubricants, as good as any other Formula 1 engaged company. But I consider it a strategic mistake to work with a different fuel partner for commercial reasons than with the company the engine manufacturer works with at the factory. Almost all of our clients have always worked with Petronas, except McLaren.”
McLaren indeed did go against their engine suppliers recommendation and use Esso back in 2014, the beginning of the hybrid engine formula we have today. It’s generally considered in the paddock that despite the poor form following the season opening podiums, numbers indicated that McLaren had a chassis only 2nd best to the dominant Mercedes WO5 that went on to win both drivers and manufacturers Championships.
Wolff continues: “It’s clear to me – if you want to achieve the same performance as the factory team, you have to work with the same company. We all need the same fuel because our engines are calibrated to this particular fuel specification. If you use other gasoline, you have to fine tune the engines differently. I think that unnecessarily complicates life. And you learn more together when everyone needs the same fuel. “