From Max Verstappen’s Red Bull to your everyday car

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

It is unlikely that most would ever get the full experience of sitting in the cockpit of a Formula 1 car, reaching speeds of over 300 kilometres per hour while negotiating the curves and bends of one of the 21 grands prix.

However, enjoying F1-levels of performance on a daily basis – similar to what Aston Martin Red Bull Racing (AMRBR) star Max Verstappen experiences each race weekend – is increasingly becoming a common occurrence.

FOX Sports Asia was recently invited to the AMRBR facility in Milton Keynes, at a visit organised by ExxonMobil – the F1 team’s official fuel, lubricant and motor oil partner.

As part of the partnership, ExxonMobil is constantly looking to give Red Bull Racing an edge through its products but, ever so often, a breakthrough discovered at Milton Keynes is deemed suitable for consumers and makes its way into the Esso fuel that is available to customers all across the globe.

“The F1 program is about F1 – it’s about developing performance for the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team and pushing the limits of technology in that area,” Mark Humphries, ExxonMobil’s global sponsorship and motorsport advisor, told FOX Sports Asia.

“But as we’re doing that, every now and again we find something interesting that could work in a consumer product.

Mark Humphries is one of several who play a key role behind the scenes.

“I guess [it’s like] an exciting laboratory. A lot of what we’re doing in Formula 1 is very exotic and pushing those limits.

“Like I said, every now and again you find that one molecule which works in a way that would be really beneficial for a customer’s car.

“We then need to look at this more closely as to whether we can commercialise it, put it in our premium fuels and then benefit our customers around the world.”

F1 Austrian Grand Prix – Max Verstappen takes the checkered flag

In the most recent F1 race, Verstappen and Red Bull – fuelled by ExxonMobil, literally – claimed their first victory by winning the Austrian Grand Prix.

Nonetheless, just how similar is that F1 standard fuel compared to those that normal cars run on?

“The fuel in the F1 car is actually very similar,” Humphries explained. “It’s just a very tailored version.

“The fuel that we use for road cars is a processed fuel that has a lot of hydrocarbons with different molecules.

“In the F1 fuel, every molecule has a specific purpose whereby everything does something.”

An aerial view of the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing facility in Milton Keynes.

The visit to the AMRBR facility was also graced by Red Bull Racing team principal team principal Christian Horner, who – expectedly – did not hesitate when asked by FOX Sports Asia what his go-to fuel was when his own car is running low.

“Always ExxonMobil,” Horner said with a grin, eliciting chuckles from around the table. “I have one at the end of my road [so] my nearest garage is an ExxonMobil – I only put their products in my car.

“But, seriously, it’s a great partnership. We [Red Bull Racing] have been working with them now since 2017 and it really has demonstrated how much performance there is in fuel and lubricants, and the effort and dedication that goes in from these guys behind the scenes.

“They are the unsung heroes of what’s been achieved on track.

“The pressure we put them under with the temperatures we run at, the viscosity that we want, the performance that we want… it’s never-ending and a key part to our performance is the fuel and lubricants.”