The ‘secret’ cosmetic product that gives Red Bull Racing its wings

Following Red Bull Racing‘s landslide victory in Styria, Mercedes has not hidden its incredulity about the sudden performance leap of the RB16B. 

The Germans were initially intrigued by the flexible rear wing of the Austrian car but when this one was replaced, they set their eyes on the updated Austrian engine which was first released in France. 

The squad of the star are still puzzled by the greater speed and overall superiority on the straights of the blue racing car compared to their W12. Well, this improvement in performance has been partly due to their car’s lower downforce. 

This translates into considerably less drag. Their highly aerodynamic chassis also allows for the car to perform well in the corners and so voilà, those are most of your problems solved.

On top of that and to round things off nicely, in Styria, Red Bull released some additional improvements to the flat bottom and extra slots in the diffuser that would further help in the most twisty sectors. 

But there is another crucial element that has contributed to giving wings to the Milton Keyne´s vehicle and it has come by the hand of Red Bull’s official fuel and lubricant supplier.

‘Magic’ oil: Lower friction & a more powerfull engine 

Apparently, ExxonMobil had started providing the brand with a new revolutionary oil back at the Azerbaijan GP. In theory, this product has the ability to increase the mechanical reliability of the car while improving the way the vehicle manages its energy.

That alone is supposed to be the key to the RB16B’s increase in power, which some sources quantify at around 10-15 hp. 

The petroleum multinational has been particularly opaque regarding the composition of the new Mobil 1 oil, but it is now known that it went to great lengths in the research of various chemical compounds not normally used in the motor world. 

The resulting oil is so special because it includes products typically used in the cosmetic industry in its formulation. These would have specific properties that improve the protective film of the oil that lodges in the metallic parts of the engine, which in turn can help prevent engine damage caused by extreme heat and wear. 

ExxonMobil Global Motorsport Technology Manager Tomek Young told “The cosmetics industry offers many unique naturally-derived components and we had to evaluate a range of similar products before selecting the best.

“These new components were incorporated as they were found to offer many benefits, including stronger interactions with metal surfaces and lower friction, helping deliver maximum power while offering protection and fuel efficiency.

“These benefits also translate into an ability to run the engine across a wider range of operating conditions.”

Young has revealed that the initial idea to use such chemicals first came up around eight years ago, and they have been tested in ExxonMobil’s laboratories since then.

Young adds: “Some elements of the chemical composition of our new engine oil are a departure from what we would normally formulate a product with.

“What was a long shot a few years ago – a vision of a low ash, high temperature, low friction engine oil that incorporates bio-based components became a reality this year, thanks to the efforts of our whole team, in collaboration with Honda and Red Bull. We believe that this new platform will offer us opportunities into the future.”


Images: Red Bull Racing.

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