Ahead of the 2014 FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX, Scuderia Ferrari drivers Fernando Alonso and Kimi Räikkönen took to a different kind of track to learn how to drive student-built concept vehicles, including one that gets 488 miles per gallon.
With this year’s Formula OneTM regulation changes representing one of the biggest challenges faced in the sport since the Shell partnership with Scuderia Ferrari began in the 1930s, including a shift to smaller engines with less fuel, the focus on greater efficiency requires Formula One drivers explore smarter driving strategies to get best performance from their engines and their fuel.

The Scuderia Ferrari duo took to the demo track, only miles away from the Circuit of the Americas, following a briefing led by students from Louisiana Tech to showcase the initiative that challenges students from around the world to design, build and test ultra-energy efficient vehicles.

After jumping behind the wheel of the concept vehicles, Alonso and Räikkönen spent time with the students discussing Shell’s commitment to promoting the teaching of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), the similarities between Shell Eco-marathon and Formula One racing, and how it inspires young engineers to push the boundaries of vehicle efficiency.

The Shell Eco-marathon team from Louisiana Tech will be tackling their own energy efficiency challenges when they take to the streets of Detroit where they hope to break another Shell Eco-marathon Americas record in the Motor City in April 2015.

The event showcased how Shell invests in the development of engineering for road cars and our energy future, just as it continues to invest in its Technical Partnership with Scuderia Ferrari to tackle the changing technical regulations in Formula One racing. This is particularly true in 2014, as teams and their technical partners work together to meet greater energy efficiency demands of the new sporting regulations.

It was a unique chance to drive a student-built concept car – I had fun. This is the future of racing. We have to make the sport of Formula One a laboratory for normal cars and improve technology and have better cars for the future so I think Formula One needs one to move in the direction of Shell Eco-marathon. When you have students with fresh ideas, very clever ideas, and then you add the passion of motorsport, they create this beautiful concept that shows us what we can achieve in the future.

Scuderia Ferrari Driver Fernando Alonso

The Eco-marathon is an excellent project for students. I met students earlier this year, and drove an Urban Concept car in Spa, but this is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to drive a student designed and built car. It’s impressive to see what they have achieved. The cars are definitely not as simple as they look.

Scuderia Ferrari driver Kimi Räikkönen

Shell Eco-marathon is the perfect way for young engineers and scientists to learn how to work together to co-engineer new technologies to achieve the best energy efficiencies possible. This atmosphere of team work is critical for solving transport challenges and mirrors the way that we work hand-in-hand with Ferrari to formulate fuels and lubricants for the track and the road.

Guy Lovett, Shell's Technology Manager for Ferrari

What a great event. The education and challenge that our students get by designing and building highly efficient vehicles was joined with the thrill and excitement of Formula 1 racing. Seeing elite Formula 1 drivers driving our Eco-marathon vehicles is an experience we will remember for a lifetime.

Michael Swanbom, College of Engineering and Science, Louisiana Tech University

Notes to editors

About Shell’s Technical Partnership with Scuderia Ferrari

Shell shares one of the most successful technical partnerships in Formula 1® history with Scuderia Ferrari. They have contested, in partnership, more than half of all the Formula 1® races ever run and amassed 12 Drivers’ Championships and 10 Constructors’ Championships. This strong historical footing provides the basis for what is also one of the most forward-looking partnerships in contemporary motorsport.

Shell’s relationship with Enzo Ferrari began in the 1930s. Shell became one of Scuderia Ferrari’s first ever technical partners and powered the team to its first Formula 1® win in a Ferrari 375 at Silverstone in 1951.

Shell’s Technical Partnership with Scuderia Ferrari provides an environment to test Shell V-Power Nitro+ Unleaded technology in extreme conditions. This provides Shell with a better understanding of what will deliver improved power and performance.

Shell invests more than 50 technical staff and 21,000 hours a year in research and development to give Scuderia Ferrari a competitive edge in Formula 1® racing and transfers technology from the track to the road.

About Shell Eco-marathon

Shell Eco-marathon is one of the world’s most challenging student innovation competitions and takes place annually in Asia, the Americas, and Europe.

The competition brings together current and future leaders, along with a broader public passionate about energy issues. It encourages debate around sustainable solutions to the challenge of rising global energy demand.

At Shell Eco-marathon a future generation of engineers and scientists from Universities and High schools in over 50 countries compete in cars they design and build. Success is measured on who can drive the furthest on the equivalent of 1 kWh or 1 gallon of fuel, thanks to their creative designs and technical know-how.

Shell Eco-marathon aims to involve citizens globally in challenges related to energy and mobility, while inspiring them to consider innovative solutions.

Shell Eco-marathon is a visible demonstration of Shell’s commitment with helping the world to meet its growing energy needs in a responsible way and demonstrates its collaborative approach, bringing together students, partners and the public.

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