Petronas to be Mercedes GP title sponsor

Mercedes GP announced this morning that Petronas, the Malaysian oil giant, will take title sponsorship of the team from 2010 onwards.

Team principal Ross Brawn said:

Everyone at Mercedes GP is delighted to confirm our long-term agreement with Petronas and we look forward to working closely with our new partner in the future. The collaboration of the premium automotive brand Mercedes-Benz and a company as prestigious as Petronas gives our team a fantastic base from which to achieve our ambitions of competing at the top level of Formula One and building on the success of 2009 which saw the team achieve the Constructors’ and Drivers’ Championships. Our plans for the new season are progressing well, as is the development of our 2010 challenger, and we look forward to seeing the car run in the new Silver Arrows and Petronas livery at the Valencia test in February.

There had been much speculation in recent weeks that Mobil 1 would either leave McLaren or split its involvement between the two, but it appears that Mercedes were looking for more than just a technical partner. Mobil 1′s financial input into McLaren is relatively modest but the arrangement has been mutually beneficial, so it saw no need to spend more on a title sponsorship. Neither did it wish to transfer its allegiance from a team with which it has enjoyed considerable success.

When synthetic oil was introduced to the market in the 1970s, in the wake of the first oil shock, it was viewed with suspicion by many customers. Mobil 1 conquered this and established itself as a market leader by getting involved in motor sports and demonstrating its product there. It has been involved in over 100 Formula 1 wins, over half of which have come through its relationship with McLaren.

In recent years oil has become an increasingly important development path. The freeze on R&D, and the move to multi-race engines, has increased the demands on the lubricant in two ways: it must protect the engine over a longer duty cycle, but it can also liberate more power if blended to exactly the right viscocity.

It will be interesting to see what effect the move has on Mobil 1′s relationship with Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines in Brixworth.

  • Trackback are closed
  • Comments (6)
  1. Thanks Stuart. It made me think though… if and when McLaren decides to make its own engines, it now has a dedicated lubricant partner who can free themselves from the shackles of Mercedes.

    • Stuart C
    • December 21st, 2009

    Quite so. There may be a benefit in the short term as well. The right lubricant can have a significant impact on fuel economy; now that refuelling has been banned this will be very important. The estimates at the moment are that the difference between the most efficient and least efficient cars on the grid could be 15kg of fuel at the start of the race. That means around half a second a lap.

  2. True, but that is a VERY short-term benefit you point out. Merc will do whatever it can to help Petronas over Mobil from here on out, so McLaren’s advantage in this aspect can fade very quickly.

  3. Hmm, funny that some f1-related websites announced the end of Petronas F1 programme:

    “Petronas has revealed that it will not be associated with any Formula 1 team during the 2010 season.”

    Never used Mobil oil in my cars: since Renault recommends Elf (for my baby Twingo and grandma Clio) I always request Elf or whatever parent company oil is available – Total or Cepsa. Although tried Shell and Esso, both were quite good, especially Esso. If Mobil is not associated with Mercedes then I might try it out one day. Not sure I ever saw anything Petronas-related in Portugal or Spain.

    • Steven Roy
    • December 21st, 2009

    This could end up costing Mobil a lot of money. I thought all Mercedes road cars were supplied with Mobil products and those were recommended to their customers. Surely Mercedes can’t use and recommend Mobil while having Petronas as a title sponsor in F1.

    Like many people I thought Petronas would either be involved with Lotus since that is the Malaysian national team or Sauber who they had a long association with.

    • Stuart C
    • December 22nd, 2009

    @Le FOFA Chairman
    Isn’t GP Update one of those ghastly sites that just barfs GMM noise into the infosphere? If you’ve been misinformed, blame that goon in Adelaide…

Comment are closed.