As part of an effort it has made for Honda’s home race at Suzuka, ExxonMobil has made use of cutting edge molecular science to perfect the blend of fuel that has been specifically designed for the Japanese car manufacturer’s Spec 4 engine.
And although the fuel company has drawn short of predicting the exact power gain that it expects from the new fuel, it is clear that it is one of the best steps it has made since it joined with Red Bull in 2017.
David Tsurusaki, ExxonMobil’s Global Motorsport Technology Manager, said: “With Red Bull I think it is one of the biggest steps we have ever done. And with mature engine technology, it is harder and harder to make that adjustment.
“It [the upgrade] is something that we have been thinking about and working on for quite a long time. I think it is one of our better improvements.
“[But] I cannot comment on the performance gain. I know what it is, otherwise we wouldn’t be introducing it, but it definitely is an improvement and wouldn’t be introduced if it wasn’t.”
Tsurusaki said the development work on the new fuel can be traced back over several years, and has involved the sourcing of new ‘raw materials’ to help deliver a breakthrough.
Asked by Motorsport.com if this meant using chemicals that were new to F1, Tsurusaki said: “The FIA standard is pretty restrictive. It has to be chemicals that have been used and available in a consumer fuel in the past, so in a sense it is not brand new technology.
“But it is something that we have not used in a Formula 1 fuel, and I don’t know if anyone else has done it.
“There are two or three key adjustments we have made that give us the performance enhancement we are looking for.”