Shell and Ferrari made history yesterday by becoming the first fuel and lubricant supplier to record 100 wins with one team.
Michael Schumacher's win at Spa-Francorchamps yesterday afternoon is that latest in a long line of Shell-powered Ferrari wins, begun by José Froilán González at Silverstone in 1951. But aside from Michael Schumacher and José Froilán González, Ferrari drivers to have won with Shell fuels and oils in their car include Alberto Ascari, Mike Hawthorn, Juan Manuel Fangio, John Surtees and of course Rubens Barrichello.
For Shell, the 100th victory is a ringing endorsement of the hard work the company has done over the past fifty-one years." When we re-joined Ferrari in 1996, we knew that we had a big job to do," explained Shell's Global Motorsport Business Manger, David Barnes, "but from the outset, we made terrific progress as a team."
"Today we are an integral part of Ferrari. We analyse fuels and lubricants here at the track, we research the next developments in fuel and lubricants at our base in Chester (UK) and we work with the Ferrari design or test team at Ferrari's factory in Maranello (Italy). For example, the design of next year's Ferrari Formula One car is well underway, and Shell is already consulting the Ferrari design team, on how best to optimise the fuel and lubricants for the new machine."
Ferrari's Team Principle, Jean Todt, refers to the Shell engineers as "the best fuel development team in the pit lane."
As well as helping Ferrari to clean up on the track, Shell is also helping to clean up the environment. By working closely with Ferrari, Shell is able to lead the fuel industry in producing fuels that burn more efficiently and are thus more environmentally friendly, drastically reducing world-wide emissions.
In fact, thanks to the relationship with Ferrari, the fuels that Shell sell worldwide reduce emissions by such an extent that it is like creating a rainforest 100 times the size of Manhattan every year.
Ferrari holds its technical partnerships very close its heart. "There are huge benefits and gains you make by having a totally open relationship with a company like Shell," explains Ferrari's Technical Director Ross Brawn. "They have total access to our engine, total access to our transmission, total access to any part of the car they are involved in."
"They have total access to our designs, they work with our designers and vice versa, our people work with Shell to find the best solutions, There's three or four partners we have where we have this sort of relationship and in the long term, it's the only was I believe we should operate."
The intimacy of the relationship is endorsed by non other than Luca di Montezemolo, Chairman and Managing Director of Ferrari; "Shell is part of our life. Ferrari began racing with Shell and is a fundamental technical partner to us. The battle to develop lubricants is key over the next few years and we are very proud to be in such a fortunate position with Shell."
Founder of Ferrari, Enzo Ferrari also enjoyed the full support of the technical partner: "Shell has always acknowledged the paramount importance of racing experience and this has enabled it to achieve remarkable results." His views are echoed by his first driver ever to win a round of the Formula One World Championship, José Froilán González who fittingly should have the last word:
"When we won at Silverstone in 1951, it was with Shell fuel. Now Ferrari is still winning over fifty years later, that must mean that their fuel is still the best."