Scuderia Ferrari driver Felipe Massa helped kick off this weekend’s Formula 1 United States Grand Prix by treating a group of guests to virtual laps of the Circuit Of The Americas (COTA) in Shell’s state-of-the-art simulator.
The 2012 season sees Formula 1 racing return to the United States for the first time since 2007 with an all-new venue in Austin, Texas.
To help launch this very special weekend, Massa joined invited media guests from around the world to give them a first glimpse of the 5.5-kilometre (3.4-mile) Grand Prix circuit.
Having worked together since the birth of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, the pair have encountered many races at unfamiliar tracks and Shell scientists have worked closely with Ferrari engineers to develop innovative products and deliver a premium fuel, which meets one of the most tightly controlled and specific fuel requirements in the racing world.
With the knowledge gained from testing on the track with Ferrari, Shell scientists developed Shell V-Power Premium Gasoline for cars on the road to deliver maximum protection for optimum performance.
Cara Tredget, Shell Ferrari Technology Manager: “We already have a good understanding of the challenge the COTA will give us and have undertaken several virtual long runs in Italy.
We actually run programs to replicate the entire race weekend so, although there is no real substitute for being here, we already know which products are going to give Scuderia Ferrari the best advantage in Texas.”
Driving virtual laps of Austin’s COTA in Shell’s Professional Simulator Experience, Massa brought to life the extreme challenges he, Scuderia Ferrari and Shell will face this weekend around the 20-turn counter-clockwise track.
The new track will join the ranks of some of the most technical on the Formula 1 calendar and his laps proved that the drivers and fans have much to look forward to this weekend.
Felipe Massa, Scuderia Ferrari driver: “The Shell Professional Simulator Experience is one of the most realistic simulators available in the world, so it is fantastic to be able to give people a sneak preview of the new Circuit Of The Americas.
The track is extremely technical with lots of passing opportunities when it widens out, and I think all of the drivers will find this weekend particularly challenging.
We have already driven hundreds of simulated laps of the track in Maranello and the engineers have been working hard to optimize the F2012 for the track.
“Understanding the nature of a new track is always complicated, especially as we have no previous data to study, so we won’t know until Sunday exactly what the race has in store.
That is why working with long-standing partners like Shell is so important for our team to try and gain that all important competitive edge.”