Aston Martin Red Bull Racing hails new power unit, fuel & oil combination

Aston Martin Red Bull Racing hails new power unit, fuel & oil combination

09.04.2019: Q&A with ROB MARSHALL Chief Engineering Officer, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing The new Aston Martin Red Bull Racing-Honda era has got off to a positive start and with ExxonMobil providing technical support on both sides, the trio are already en

Q&A with ROB MARSHALL
Chief Engineering Officer,  Aston Martin Red Bull Racing

 
 
 
The new Aston Martin Red Bull Racing-Honda era has got off to a positive start and with ExxonMobil providing technical support on both sides, the trio are already enjoying a close relationship that is beginning to yield results on track. What’s behind the smooth transition? Let’s meet Rob Marshall, who plays a key role in Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’s technical department…
 
 


After 12 seasons with Renault, it’s all change for Aston Martin Red Bull Racing this season with Honda joining the team as their works power unit partner. How are things going?


 
It’s going really well. It’s very easy to say that at the moment, the honeymoon period is still fully in swing, but I think it’s fair to say. Honda are really professional, they are really prepared and they are pushing really hard. They understand what we need and we understand what we need so it’s going well.
 


How important is it for Aston Martin Red Bull Racing to have a power unit supplier that is fully focused on them in your bid to win the Formula One World Championships once more?

 


Our relationship with Renault, it’s well known, went up and down. There were times when they were frankly brilliant and were fully focused on helping us get to the front. Then they got their own team and understandably the focus was on that. There were a few things we couldn’t do. With Honda, it’s quite different. We sit down together and decide what is best. When we have our meetings, we don’t talk about what makes the power unit fastest or the car fastest, we talk about what development collects the most championship points, so you take the risk of reliability into it as well. That’s how we decide whether to do something or not. So it’s quite a different approach.
 



This is the third year of Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’s partnership with ExxonMobil, running their Esso Synergy race fuel and Mobil 1 engine oil. How is that relationship developing, particularly given you now have a works partner that is focused on you?



On the fuel and oil side, those conversations happen between ExxonMobil and Honda directly. We’re aware of the developments that are coming in terms of the Esso Synergy race fuel and the performance increments that come with those. We have good communication so we’re across the hardware updates on the power unit and when there are significant introductions of performance through fuel, which coincide with these mechanical updates. On the Mobil 1 lubricant side, that’s quite different as we use a lot of lubricants ourselves. Knowledge of that is important so understanding the ins and outs of the lubricants is very important.
 




This is a long-term arrangement between Aston Martin Red Bull Racing and Honda. How does that stability allow you to plan for the future?


 
We can see areas around the power unit to focus on packaging-wise. They aren’t necessarily big bits but there are probably four or five areas where we think, if we could change that, that would be better. You add five of those five things up or even three of those five things and you make a tangible gain. It’s almost like free gains, if you know what I mean, as in no real performance cost on Honda’s side. It’s just making different bits and moving a few things around. They are very open to our suggestions and equally, we understand when they say that’s a bit tricky or we don’t want to do that because there’s a reliability risk associated with that.
 



We understand you used to tinker with old motorbikes with your father when you were younger. Do you get any time to continue that hobby these days?

 

I tinker with cars now rather than motorcycles. I get told off for spending too much time in the garage! At the moment, I’m working on a Porsche 912 (1966). It was completely knackered, it hadn’t run since 1997 in the States somewhere. The interiors were all ripped out. It was a knackered old rusty car. So I put new floors on it, some new panels, suspension brackets and nut and bolt restoration. It’s almost finished. I find it is a good release. I’m not a big reader, but just locking yourself away and smashing something with a hammer does cool you out a little bit!
 



 
- Red Bull Racing also photo

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09.04.2019 / MaP

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