Lewis Hamilton’s claim that the Red Bull Formula 1 team has introduced an upgrade to its power unit has been denied by Christian Horner, Red Bull’s Team Principal. He said the observed difference in power could be attributed to a combination of the introduction of a new lubricant and the Mercedes power units experiencing declining performance.
Under Formula 1 rules, engine manufacturers are only allowed to revise their power units to address any reliability issues. Hamilton has claimed the new engines that were brought by Honda to the recent race in France had been upgraded.
Horner disputed this, however, pointing that the engines are the same specification because they are homologated. He instead attributed the superior performance to a new engine oil from Mobil that they recently started using. He also speculated that the early replacement of power units in their cars may mean the Mercedes team is experiencing faster degradation in their power units than they usually do, saying:
“They seem to have, perhaps higher degradation this year than in previous years. But as I say, all we can do is focus on our own job. And another great performance by Honda, our 10th victory with Honda now in under three years. So it’s so far so good.”
Lubricant manufacturers like Mobil often collaborate with racing teams to develop new lubricant technology and test it under extreme conditions. Much of them knowledge that is gained through this often makes its way into the next generation of passenger car engine oil.