McLaren unsure on fuel and lubricants supplier for 2019

McLaren remains unsure of what fuel and lubricants supplier it will use heading into the new Formula 1 season, despite its new agreement with Petrobras.

McLaren confirmed early last year that it had signed a technical partnership which would result in the Brazilian firm supplying fuel and lubricants from 2019.

At the launch of McLaren’s MCL34 its Chief Executive Zak Brown confirmed that it is its “intention” to use Petrobras for 2019.

The doubt comes off the back of questions surrounding the state-owned firm’s involvement in Formula 1 following last year’s general election in Brazil.

“We have a great relationship with Petrobras,” asserted Brown.

“We are developing fuels with them as we speak. It is a very technical relationship that ultimately if you look at the different fuels in lube companies that are in F1 they all use it as an R&D development to build their brand.

“We are in Brazil often with them, very confident that we are developing a lot of good value to them and anticipate it to go from strength to strength.”

Sporting Director Gil de Ferran added: “I think we are still working on the development together with Petrobras, it would be difficult to put a timescale on it right now.”

McLaren has used BP/Castrol since 2017 – its final year with Honda – and remained with the company for 2018 as it switched to Renault power, which also uses the company’s products.

There has been a greater focus on the role of fuel and lubricants in Formula 1 since the switch to V6 turbo hybrids in 2014.

Mercedes has forged a partnership with Petronas while Ferrari uses Shell – and both have played a key role in the development race.

McLaren’s use of Petrobras – compared to aligning with the works Renault team on BP/Castrol – could give it an advantage, so long as the company’s products are up-to-scratch.

A mid-season switch of fuel and lubricants supplier is not out of the regulations but would provide a further complication for the team.