F1 – F1 2026, the technical challenge of Mobil 1

there F1 2026 is approaching. On the occasion of 24 Hours of Le Mans we had the opportunity to interview Tomek Young, Motorsport Technology Manager Of Exxon Mobilengaged in WEC in supporting the 4 team Branded hypercars Mobile 1 (Porsche Penske, Hertz Jota Team, Toyota Gazoo Racing, Cadillac Racing) but also to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Engine 1. We asked them a series of questions to better understand their contribution Formula 1 and in general throughout the motorsportsin what turned out to be an extremely “technical” interview with a lot of background on the working methods of the racing world.

The logo of Mobile 1 it is in fact certainly recognizable to all enthusiasts, for example on Red Bull Of Max Verstappen, but not many know in detail what the company does on the track. In fact, it is perhaps one of the least visible roles, which has to do primarily with the supply of lubricants, engine oil and fuel. There are many challenges to face, especially in a Formula 1 made up of 24 seasonal races, as Tomek Young explained to us: “Each series requires rather complex logistics that allows the supply of products to all the races.

And it’s not just about the logistics of formulation Mobile 1, but also of some components that we use to produce the products. We have therefore developed the ability to produce products globally and distribute them where needed. Once on track we have a series of activities to carry out, it mainly involves receiving and analyzing the products. Starting with the analysis of used oils, the analysis of which takes place directly on the track, in a dedicated laboratory that we manage. But we want to partially understand what happens in the race by analyzing the oil samples.”

Checo Perez (Red Bull) aboard his RB20 – 2024 season

The study of oils can in fact be fundamental for teams: “Oil samples are similar to blood tests and tell us how your engine is doing. This information is then passed on to the team who can make decisions about further use of the engine or gearbox. In general, we have a lot of technical discussions and a lot of ideas are born during the race weekends. Often on Thursdays or Fridays we have the opportunity to sit down with the engineers, in person or remotely, and discuss what comes next.”

The biggest challenge concerns the high level of competitiveness of the most important world motorsport formulas, in which everything is measurable, which requires rapid evolution and a constant search for maximum performance:

One fact about motorsports is that you can only be in the car if you are better than the competition and your product from the previous season. Every team has the ability to measure performance very precisely. Continuous improvement is a huge challenge, it is not something to be taken for granted. In formulating Mobile 1we always try to find new innovations and a range of innovations to choose from.

In recent weeks, many discussions have concerned the new technical regulations Formula 1 which will revolutionize the scenario starting from 2026. Team partners must therefore adapt their work to be ready from day one: “We started working on the new fuel F1as required by the specifications FIAalready two years ago. Let’s work together at Red Bull Ford Power Trains to the development of the engine, fuel and engine oil that power it.

The collaborative approach requires many iterations: we go through many different candidates trying to understand not only what works and what doesn’t work, but also to understand what the appetite of the new engine is. And because you spend a lot of time understanding the fundamentals, you can respond much more quickly to changes in the landscape. If you were faced with a similar challenge, without having this experience, I believe the job would be much more difficult. It’s almost like learning about the system, you learn every day.”

Tomek Young, Motorsport Technology Manager at Exxon Mobil

The importance therefore of having a team working collaboratively with partners comes through careful feedback. Mobile 1 is currently engaged in F1 with Red Bull Racing and therefore with the three-time world champion Max Verstappen. The Dutchman is currently among the best riders in the world, with a very ambitious but also critical character when things don’t work. Working with Verstappen however, it turns out to be an advantage rather than a disadvantage for Mobile 1:

“We like demanding drivers. In the end it is the driver who truly benefits from your product. I believe it is the team that predominantly receives feedback from the driver and the performance of the car and it is the team that shares it with us. Ultimately we want the team to understand the role we play, because if they understand that they can benefit from our capabilities, we can develop products together. We like that the teams understand that motorsports is something that we also love very much: motorsport is something we want to be an integral part of.”

Mobil 1 not just F1: world endurance championship

Mobile 1 is in F1 but also in the WEC, in MotoGP and in the WRC, with the working methodology that must be adapted to the various contexts: “We try to adapt the racing product to the specific application, collaborating with the team and the engine supplier , the engine manufacturer. This approach is successful, because different mechanical designs have different requirements. For example, the Porsche engine in Le Mans has very different requirements than a KTM engine in MotoGP. It is interesting from a technical point of view to see that the combustion system is different, the protection required has a different approach.”

“Maybe in one championship you need a product with resistance to very high temperatures, while in another it’s about protecting the big end bearing, for example. And these products may require slightly different or completely different chemistry.”

We know that motorsport is the greatest laboratory of all for development and innovation. But the ultimate goal remains to bring that innovation to the cars we drive every day, as those who are celebrating 50 years of this activity know well. We often hear about “from the track to the road”, but how does it actually happen? Is the product developed in motorsport the same as the one present on our cars? Here’s what he thinks about it Tomek Young

“Often the same product can be used for both racing and the normal car. Today we have various solutions with which you can go to work and then race at the weekend: the experience gained is put to good use. We develop a recipe from the individual components, so we learn a lot about specific chemicals that can then be used in a version of Mobil 1 that is distributed.”

This applies in the development of future products, but also applies to products already available: “At Le Mans we are using several commercial products that are used by the racing teams. These products, which are normally on sale to the public, are capable of completing the most grueling 24 hours of a car race. For example, the products used by the Cadillac team and the Porsche team are commercially available. On the other hand, drivers also want to be able to use the same engine oil when they race occasionally and when they go to work.

Author and photo: Marco Santini – @marcosantini91

Images: @mobil1racing

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