Shell has announced it will extend its partnership with Formula One racing team Ferrari, despite a continuing slide in oil prices and a title-drought that's likely to continue for at least one more year. Ivor Bennett reports.
As the roar suggests, the stresses and strains of Formula 1 are unique. A driver will change gear up to 4000 times in any one race. Remarkably though, the fuel inside these cars is all but identical to that sold on forecourts around the world. Sharing 99 percent of the compounds. But even so, a lot can be done with the other one percent, says Shell Retail Vice President Istvan Kapitany. SOUNDBITE (English) ISTVAN KAPITANY, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, SHELL RETAIL, SAYING: "Every 0.1 second per lap is making a difference between winning and losing. Even less. So this is really a cut-throat testing circuit for our products. That's the reason why we like it." Shell's been working with Ferrari since 1950. Developing a different fuel for every circuit, boosting horsepower and consumption. Despite a sinking oil price, Shell's now extending that partnership even further, committing 50 dedicated staff. A strange time to do so? Apparently not. SOUNDBITE (English) ISTVAN KAPITANY, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, SHELL RETAIL, SAYING: "We believe in long term partnership so that kind of thing, external factors like oil price, economic crisis will not be playing a decisive role in these kind of business relationships." The only thing missing though is the title. Ferrari last won the championship back in 2004. With lead driver Sebastian Vettel currently third in the standings, the wait for another is likely to continue.