January 28, 2016 @ 06:11 PM

Interview: Petronas’ supreme synergy for the road and track, Part 2.

Part Two of our interview with the unsung heroes behind the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS FORMULA ONE team, Mr Chan Ming Yau and Dr. Andrea Dolfi.

1: In your opinion, what was the biggest hurdle in creating your revolutionary fuel formulation? The Formula 1 fuel in this case.
 
Mr. Chan: At PETRONAS, we see many opportunities to continuously improve on what we have delivered. In 2014 fuel efficiency was a focus in Formula One. That was the year we introduced PETRONAS PRIMAX 95 with Improved Advanced Energy Formula developed for superior fuel efficiency. Then in 2015, engine reliability became a focus. It was also the year we introduced PETRONAS PRIMAX 97 with improved Advanced Energy Formula for superior acceleration. As you can see, we evolve alongside Formula One™, pushing ourselves further and further to break boundaries in fuel technology. 
 
Having engineers work close to the Mercedes AMG team in Brixworth and Brackley also helps us to be right at the heart of technical innovation. The same goes for our lubricants. 
 
Dr Andrea: Earlier this year, PETRONAS launched its flagship PETRONAS Syntium with °CoolTech™. We centred our efforts to study the Power Unit together with the automotive engineers and then applied our findings to develop superior lubricants for modern-day driving conditions and its challenges. It was fascinating to discover that many of the problems faced by the Power Unit are similar in nature to those you might face when you are on the road. For example, start-stop, acceleration, maintaining consistent speed, slipstreaming in high gear and dropping to low gear on highways, etc). All these put stress on the engine, which can cause excessive engine heat, ie ‘invisible heat’ that is a common problem underestimated by drivers. 
2: Tell us more about PETRONAS Syntium’s °CoolTech™ formulation and how it helps protect the engine further?
 
Dr. Andrea: The recent technical developments in Formula One have resulted in smaller, turbo-charged engines. This trend is commonly known as ‘down-sizing’, where equivalent power is delivered by much smaller engines is now state of technology in road cars. The result is that a lot more heat inside the engine needs to be managed by the cooling system. Modern lubricants play a vital role in that and PETRONAS has developed PETRONAS Syntium with °CoolTech™ for that purpose. 
 
The uniquely formulated PETRONAS Syntium with °CoolTech™ is an innovative solution to fight excessive engine heat. Excessive engine heat is a common problem widely underestimated by drivers. The reason for this is that many drivers are not aware of the excessive heat produced inside the car’s engine. In fact, modern-day driving conditions, including traffic congestions, driving up steep inclines and acceleration on highways aggravate excessive heat in the engine regardless of the external weather conditions.
 
Consequently and over time, excessive engine heat can damage critical components of the engine, compromising performance. This is why a lubricant formulated to withstand high temperatures plays an important role to absorb and transfer excessive heat effectively from the engine. 
 
Therefore, PETRONAS Syntium with °CoolTech™ has been expertly engineered by PETRONAS and tested by the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One™ Team to deliver three key benefits through its outstanding heat dissipation: 
 
First, the strong oil chains prevent engine failure by protecting engine components from detrimental wear and tear caused by thermal oil breakdown in high temperature conditions. 
 
Second, it delays oil thickening by protecting the oil from oxidising at high temperatures to ensure optimal lubrication of engine parts. 
 
Third, PETRONAS Syntium with °CoolTech™ maintains optimum engine performance by fighting harmful deposits build-up caused by excessive engine heat commonly experienced in modern day driving conditions.
 
By fighting excessive engine heat at its source, the PETRONAS Syntium with °CoolTech™ delivers optimum engine performance for a trouble-free drive, on the race tracks and on the roads.
3: In the near future, where do you see the research and development of fuel (racing and or road going) progressing towards? 
 
Mr Chan: The FIA regulates Formula One™ fuel to ensure “the use of fuels that are composed of compounds normally found in commercial fuels and to prohibit the use of specific power-boosting chemical compounds.” If you look back in 2014 and 2015, we saw changes to the Power Unit. Coupled with FIA’s regulations, signalled a trend that points to the design and development of F1™ cars to be closer to that of regular road going cars. But R&D work for better fuels, lubricants, and functional fluids does not stop at the tracks, nor can automotive engineers work in isolation from fluids engineers. It is a co-dependent relationship.
 
In the new efficiency era in Formula One™, our fuels deliver over 30% efficiency, so the goal is to look at the engine, continue to closely study and understand the relationship between the engine and fluids and push boundaries and set benchmarks for the evolution of fuel technology. PETRONAS is now in a unique position through our involvement in Formula One, as well as the collaboration with the MERCEDES AMG team in Brixworth and Brackley to really be at the forefront of engine, fuel, lubricants and functional fluids development.
 

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