ONLY FUELS AND HORSEPOWER
There was an unusually high number of breakdowns in the opening round of the World F1 Championship in Portimao, Portugal. While a few engines broke because of natural causes, there was also a high percentage of motors suffered as a result of the effects of lead free ‘green’ fuel supplied by H20, the series promoter.
Last year the opening round of the 2016 series experienced similar problems when lead free fuel came from a different supplier.
Quite simply, without modifications made to the engines, the unleaded fuel does not suit the Mercury 2.5. We understand, Alex Hledin, who looks after the welfare of Team CITC China engines, including those of world champion Philippe Chiappe, is familiar with the behaviour of engines using unleaded fuel, and he proved it in Portimao when almost every engine he prepared finished the race without any troubles. In Alex’s own words, “I reduce the compression ratio and retard the ignition. Although the overall performance is reduced slightly, the reliability is enhanced.”
A few years ago F1 could use AV-GAS and 98 octane petrol, but with the environment becoming the by-word in motorsports, engineers are having to adopt new methods to enjoy reliability.