Red Bull and Mercedes have had a fruitful winter testing until now with both teams not facing any issues with their respective machines and the drivers looking seemingly satisfied with the way the car has behaved on the track.
And while Mercedes has dominated the constructor’s championship for the last 4 years, Toto believes that Red Bull and Ferrari are not far behind this time round.
However, Toto believes that one strategic decision might have already cost them the F1 title.
Red Bull is not using the same fuel and oil supplier as the Renault works team, something that Toto feels is bound to affect the performance of that Red Bull car.
Red Bull is the only team that does not use the same fuel and oil supplier as its engine partner, as it uses Exxon Mobil rather than the BP/Castrol that Renault uses.
Teams that depend on engine suppliers for engines traditonally have the same oil and fuel supplier as all development and dyno running is carried out around the same fuel and oil.
Red Bull now has to pay for its own dyno time whenever it wants to sign off a new spec from fuel and oil supplier ExxonMobil.
“ExxonMobil is capable of making a state of the art fuel, or BP/Castrol, or any of the top players,” Wolff said in an interview with Autosport.
“The strategic mistake is to opt for the commercial deal rather than making sure you are on the same specification of fuel and oil as the works team.
“Our teams have always used Petronas, apart from McLaren. It was never a question, because strategically you need to make sure that you are on the same performance levels, and therefore have the same fluids, as the works team.
“We’re all using the same fuels, because we’re calibrating our engines on one spec of fuel.” he added.
McLaren had made the same mistake in 2014, opting for ExxonMobil along with the Mercedes hybrid V6 package that traditionally used Petronas as its oil and fuel supplier.
“If you have a different spec of fuel, you need a completely different engine calibration.
“You’re running different calibrations on track, which doesn’t give you any learning.
“You’re making your life complicated if you’re having different specs. It’s a philosophy.” Wolff said.
“The net number [spent] will be much lower than the value of the overall commercial deal
“Nevertheless you need to balance up whether the financial benefit outweighs the strategic deficit of never having a close cooperation between a fuel/oil supplier and the works team.
“What I’m saying is that the relationship between a works team and a works team supplier of fuel and oil is always going to be more intense.
“You need to allocate dyno capacity and balance the interests.” he concluded.