HHonors Race Reporter: McLaren & ExxonMobil – The Ultimate Proving Ground

With their partnership now in their 18th year, McLaren and ExxonMobil have a long history in developing fuels and lubricants to extract the most performance from the car.  ExxonMobil provides McLaren with their race fuel, engine oil, gearbox oil, hydraulic fluid and greases.  It comes as no surprise that in Formula1 the fuel and engine oil are developed as bespoke products for McLaren, but the other lubricants are standard industrial products available off the shelf!

Fuel and lubricants are critical in F1; their development not only makes the car go faster, even with the current engine specification freeze.  But they also provide early warning of problems to predict problems with wear or reliability.

The relationship between the two companies is very close.  The typical McLaren attention to detail extends to a Mobile Laboratory along with a Lubricant Scientist being sent to every race.  For the entire length of this partnership, this has been Dr Tony Harlow.  We spoke to Tony at the Singapore GP about the work that ExxonMobil conduct at each race weekend.

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HHonors Race Reporter: FOTA Promoting F1

The paddock at Singapore is a hive of movers and shakers in business and within the sport.  One of those people is Oliver Weingarten, the Secretary General of FOTA.  The Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) are a group of Formula1 teams, set up to promote their interests and the image of the sport to the fans.  In its short life FOTA has always been at the centre of the sport, with its members well known for debating future rules.  But it’s also FOTA who set up the Fans forums and manage the Resource Restriction Agreement (RRA).  With such a wide brief, we asked Oliver in the first year of his role about FOTA and their activities.

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HHonors Race Reporter: Mikey Collier – The Science of Preparing the Driver

At each Grand Prix we see dozens of Mechanics and Technicians looking after the car, but there’s one aspect of the car that need particular looking after, the driver.  At team Vodafone McLaren each driver has their own personal trainer, for Jenson Button this is Mikey Collier.  He looks after Jenson’s care, not just through the race weekend, but throughout the year.  We had a chance to catch up with Mikey to find out about what special preparation the heat and humidity of Singapore demands.

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HHonors Race Reporter: Perfect Host – The Conrad Centennial Singapore

Singapore, approximately 9000 miles away from the UK where many of the drivers, teams and mechanics started their journey only a few days earlier.  Being the only night race on the calendar, Singapore certainly throws almost everything into a whole new perspective when it comes to staying on European time. Everything is turned almost upside down as breakfast is served at lunchtime, dinner happens at 3am and lunch? I’m not even sure when lunch happens, at dinner time? Either way, things here are a world apart from other races and it is vital that not only the drivers, but the whole team can adapt to the race schedule and remain on top form.

Today I met one such man who aims to do just this.  Heinrich Grafe is the General Manager of the Conrad Centennial Singapore Hotel (part of Hilton Worldwide), set in the heart of the Marina Bay street circuit. Heinrich has spent the last 14 years managing the hotel and his passion for Formula One shines through when you ask him what he thought when he found out 5 years ago that Singapore would be hosting the sport.

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HHonors Race Reporter: Friday F1 Practice Report

Team Vodafone McLaren Mercedes have won the last three races.  With Hamilton winning in Hungary and Monza, Button taking the win in Belgium.  The team last won three back to back races in 2008, when the British, German and again, Hungarian GPs were won.  Their pace over this latter part of the season was In part due to technical developments on the car.  But as the last races were high speed low downforce tracks, there was a question if the cars new pace would translate to a street circuit on high downforce.  McLaren are confident the car will ride the kerbs around the street circuit here in Marina bay.  So with a new set of front and rear wings developed for greater downforce, the team are confident for a good result this weekend.

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