You might think that I will be writing about music this week with my column’s title, but sorry it will not happen this time. I know F4 is a popular Korean dance and singing pop group but EURO 5? It is not in the music category and it’s all about motor sports with Petron’s Blaze 100 Euro 5 fuel and the Formula 4 South East Asian Championship.
Last week, I introduced the F4 SEA Championship as being the first international formula to come to our shores after a long time. Luckily for us Filipinos, there was a venue that cancelled in the 2017 F4 schedule and this paved the way for the formula series to come over to the Philippines. The short preparation time gave the organizers a lot of gray hairs but I believe it was all for a worthy cause, especially with Petron coming in to save the day.
Recently, a big group of media peeps, including Lindy Pellicer and I, were invited by Petron to grace the launching of Petron’s Blaze 100 Euro 5 Fuel as the Official Fuel of the F4 SEA Championship at Clark International Speedway.
For racing diehards like I, it is much easier to understand how this tie up benefits both parties and the sport in general. Let us trace what the Petron Blaze 100 Euro 5 fuel and the F4 Championship are all about so all will appreciate why I am so excited.
Euro 5 standards
The European Union recognized that the cars running around contribute a lot of harmful emissions, which affect people’s health and destroy the environment. As early as 1993, they have come up with emission standards that cars sold in the continent will have to comply with. By September 2009, the stricter Euro 5 standards were introduced and were mandated for all new cars to follow by January 2011.
The Euro 5 standards reduced emissions of particulates in diesel engines by 80% compared to the Euro 4 standards. There are required reductions in Oxides of Nitrogen for diesel and petrol engines as well. In 2005, Philippines along with Nepal, Bangladesh and Indonesia were still in Euro 1levels and had to play catch up with the world.
Petron Blaze 100 first to Euro 5 standards
Even though there was much friction between other fuel companies and the government when it required Euro 4 standards to be implemented in 2016, Petron chose to go ahead and supply the environment friendly fuels as early as of September 2015.
A year later, Petron has again beaten the competition by introducing the Euro 5 standard for its Petron Blaze 100 gasoline and it is available nationwide today! Any time that you buy Blaze 100, you are assured that it is a cleaner burning fuel that will save mother earth and your health when you use it.
Blaze 100 Euro 5 has significantly less sulfur with 10 parts per million (ppm) compared to other Euro 4 fuels with 50 ppm. It also has less benzene – a known carcinogen –with less than 1% of its volume, compared to the Philippine standard, which allows up to 2% by volume in gasoline.
Power and reliability
High sulfur levels in fuel, when combined with water vapor, can cause corrosive wear on valve guides and cylinder liners, which will lead to premature engine failure. With Petron Blaze 100 fuel’s significantly low sulfur content and advanced additives technology, the consumer can expect longer engine life, exceptional engine cleanliness, lower emissions and longer catalytic converter life.
There will also be an increase in performance also due to Blaze 100’s extremely high octane and performance additives. There will be less pre-ignition and harmful detonation with Blaze 100 especially in today’s’ turbocharged and naturally aspirated, high compression engines.
While Blaze 100 Euro 5 is recommended for high-end, high-performance vehicles, other vehicles will get the same power and improved fuel economy because of its special formulation. Better fuel economy is expected due to its friction modifier additive and combustion improver additives.
“Petron is proud to introduce another revolutionary fuel specially formulated for Philippine driving conditions,” Petron President and CEO Ramon S. Ang said. “With the highest octane rating but the lowest sulfur content, Petron Blaze 100 Euro 5 is the best gasoline in the market by far in terms of power, efficiency, and reduced emissions. We will continue to innovate and lead in fuels technology so we can put more savings in our customers’ pockets while improving air quality across the nation.”
F4 SEA Championship
The path to Formula 1 is very expensive and hard to traverse, as the proving grounds are usually located in Europe. Even the internationally acknowledged grade one level of racing, karting, has now become very expensive and very competitive. The only good thing is that our Asian stature, compact and strong, is still the right fit for racing.
The multiple racing champion team of Meritus GP has been racing in our region for the longest time. In fact, my 1996 Formula Asia 2000 rookie year was managed by the Meritus team under Team Manager Peter Thompson. Meritus’ lead driver was Narain Karthikeyan and he eventually won the FA2000 series and climbed up to F1 in 2005. I made it a double victory for the team when I got the Rookie Championship and 5th overall. This was very memorable for me and was also never forgotten by Peter as he kept repeating my name in the F4 Petron launch held recently at Clark.
This year, Peter had embarked on a bigger and more ambitious series that will bring the Asian drivers into the forefront of formula racing. With the blessings of FIA, the international body in charge of Motorsports’ events worldwide, the Formula 4 South East Championship was born to create a viable, stepladder approach to F1 in the region.
What’s new in F4
F4 SEA is a one-make championship, which means that all cars have the same chassis, engine, tires and team that services them. To make it better, the data that is collected from logging systems are open for all drivers to see and learn from. This is crucial as the team has driving instructors that will interpret the data and show each driver at what point in the track they are losing or gaining.
This makes for a faster and cheaper learning process as you don’t have to employ other people to get the formula set up right and for the driver to know how to improve his or her time. The chassis is the Mygale full carbon Monocoque, with a Renault 160 hp, 4-cylinder, 2000cc, FIA engine, 6 speed, paddle-shift pneumatic system, and Hankook slick tires for dry and proper wet tires for bad weather.
The best thing is Peter was able to find a way to bring down the cost to 100,000 Euros for 36 races, which is now cheaper than international karting standards. With 6 races scheduled in the Philippines and other races, it will also bring down the costs for travel, hotel and basic race preparation.
The series will also travel to different countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand for the drivers to really experience racing against international drivers on FIA approved tracks. This is a big plus since it is important for a driver to be flexible and adaptable when they come to higher forms of racing.
Next week, we will write about the F4 SEA Philippine leg and the inside stories on how our drivers Gabe Tayao, Angie Mead King and Paolo Rodriguez fared against the young drivers from the region. Till then, Godspeed!