Shell House Montreal 2019
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Shell House Montreal 2019

Promoted: Montreal fuel-saving circuit guide

Technical Editor Jake Boxall-Legge explains the importance of fuel saving at the Canadian Grand Prix.

Promoted: Montreal fuel-saving circuit guide

One of the key secrets to success in Formula 1 is in the continual technological advancements in the race fuels and oils. In partnership with Scuderia Ferrari, Shell is relentlessly pursuing these developments withtheir race fuels and oils to help make the differenceon track - and at an event like the Canadian Grand Prix, it’s an important path to take.

With numerous straights punctuated by slow corners, fuel management is absolutely vital at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve as the driver is hard on the accelerator throughout the race. Although the maximum fuel allowance has been raised to 110kg for this season, teams have to decide on which strategy is best - running the race on full tanks from the start, or whether employing “lift and coast” tactics with less fuel is a better strategy.

Lifting and coasting has become a subtle art of modern Formula 1, and doing it effectively can yield dividends in the race. Coming off the accelerator sooner, drivers minimise the amount of time they’re at full throttle. Over the course of a race, that can all add up; if a driver lifts for one corner 50 metres early every lap at Canada, this translates to almost a full lap saved on the throttle over the full 70-lap distance.

Of course, it’s situational too - and drivers need to be able to react to weather and safety cars to ensure the smallest fuel load possible makes it to the end of the race. Rain, safety cars and tailwinds along the main straights will aid fuel consumption, but headwinds will create problems for those in a fuel-mileage bind.

 

 

As Montreal’s 4.3km circuit is somewhat power-dependent, Shell’s Track Lab scientistsaim to extract the maximum performance from each drop of fuel within the bounds of the regulations.  That’s another vital characteristic on the straights, and being able to reach a higher top speed than the rest of the field is crucial in both qualifying and the race.

On a qualifying lap, the drivers should be at eighth gear before slowing it down for turn 1, and it’s here where the drivers remain at relatively low revs going into the tight, right-hand second corner - so fuel consumption isn’t too high here. It’s coming out of that corner where the fuel meter begins to drop, as the accelerating and braking becomes significantly more stop-start.

After the winding section where speeds approach 270km/h, the cars are next into consecutive straights broken up by short, slow corners - meaning that a good level of lifting and coasting is vital during a race distance.

Since there’s a lot of heat and pressure produced within the powertrain system during the course of a race distance - especially with such long straights and heavy engine-braking zone, temperatures can approach 1000-degrees Celsius. Shell has designed its race fuels and oilsto cope with that extensive working range.

Turn 10 is the hairpin, which is the slowest corner on the circuit. Cars drop down from eighth gear into second, and then get on the gas immediately - which takes its toll on the fuel consumption. The following straight is the longest, and the driver spends around 14 seconds at full throttle before braking for the final chicane.

During race trim, drivers will have to be delicate with the throttle to save a little more fuel. As gear ratios are fixed for the full season, these have to be versatile to cover all circuits. One of the considerations will be that straight, and drivers might have to indulge in some short-shifting to also fuel save.

After the chicane, where entry and exit are again vital, it’s over to the start-finish straight to begin another lap of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

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