Petrobras and McLaren:
A technological partnership

We are stepping on the gas with McLaren in a partnership that involves a lot of research and exchange of information.

Formula 1 demands extreme performance of the cars that race for the best times, second by second. Much of the innovation and progress in research made by engineers and researchers can be seen on the race track before it hits the market.

And to us, this partnership with McLaren is strategic to developing and improving our products.

So you can get to know our laboratory on wheels, we will explain a few details about how it works. Check it out:

McLaren MCL33

This season’s car brings back the colors the team used in its F1 debut, 50 years ago. Its weight is 733 kg, including the driver and excluding the fuel. F1 car aerodynamics aim to increase its grip on the track and minimize air pressure against its acceleration.


The current F1 regulations require that the fuel used in F1 be very similar to what is marketed for ordinary cars. The components’ volatility limit is controlled and limited to hydrocarbons. Before each race, teams must submit fuel samples for analysis, which are tested again on the race day.

Pit Stop

Since 2009, the teams have been prohibited from fueling during the race, and the maximum weight of the fuel per car has been 105kg – in auto racing, fuel is measured by weight, not volume.  This demands increasingly lighter and more efficient fuels. Each kg can be determining for an advantage or disadvantage at race time.

Power Unit

When it comes to F1 cars, we do not talk about combustion engines in isolation. The term we use is power unit, which associates the engine and other power generation and storage components.  In the case of the MCL33, the power unit is from Renault.

Motor Oil

You must be able to imagine the wear and tear an F1 race is likely to generate on the cars, right? And the current rules limit the number of times teams can change their power units throughout the season. That is why the lubricating oil is so important, as it protects the engine. After each race, the oil is tested for trace metal, thus monitoring the cars’ wear rate.

Gear Changes

F1 cars have 8 gears, plus the reverse gear. There are thousands of gear changes every race, in some circuits an amazing average of 1 change every 2 seconds. Like engine oil, the technology involved in gearbox oil is essential to minimize part wear and tear.


Our Petrobras Research Center (Cenpes) technicians and engineers and the professionals at the McLaren Technology Center are working together to find the best solutions for fuel and lubricant development.

Gasoline, engine oil, and gear oil samples are sent periodically to the McLaren Technology Center for testing. Based on the results, our researchers have the challenge of adjusting the products to reach the perfect characteristics to make McLaren’s car even faster in the upcoming F1 seasons.

Product development at Cenpes

Joint analysis at the McLaren Technology Center

Submission for testing and feedback from McLaren’s engine supplier

Technology Centers

Get to know a little more about the places where all this technology that is involved in our partnership comes from:

The Petrobras Research Center (Cenpes) is one of the leading research centers in the energy industry in the world. Located on the Fundão Island, in Rio de Janeiro, it has laboratories and simulation and immersion rooms designed to provide and anticipate technological solutions for our products and processes.

Located in Woking, England, the McLaren Technology Center (MTC) is the company’s headquarters and symbolizes the brand’s innovative philosophy. It is at that space, designed with impactful and sustainable architecture, that the entire McLaren team is assembled in a fully integrated manner, working on researching and developing the most advanced motoring technologies.