Malaysian duo speeding to success as F1 fluid engineers

Wan Mohd Saifullah (wearing glasses) and Emil are tasked with analysing fuel and lubricant oils for Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 racing cars before and after each race. — Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: Two Malaysians will be present at 24 Formula One (F1) races worldwide starting in Bahrain on March 2.

Wan Mohd Saifullah Wan Saudi and Emil Johan Bernstein have a job to do during these races throughout the year.

Their task would be to analyse fuel and lubricants within a tight time frame for use in Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 racing cars to guarantee peak engine performance.

This will be among the challenges faced by Petronas Trackside Fluid Engineers (PTFE).

Wan Mohd Saifullah, 36, assumed his role as PTFE for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team in May last year, while Emil, 26, started his career in May 2022.

Wan Mohd Saifullah told Bernama that he and Emil are generally tasked with providing technical support and conducting chemical analysis of around 150 samples of fuel and lubricant used in the team’s racing cars before and after each race.

He said these analyses are crucial to ensure compliance with regulations set by the International Automobile Federation, as well as to secure accurate results that contribute to the optimal performance of F1 car engines, thereby reducing the occurrence of errors during practice sessions, qualifying and race days.

“For example, during engine warm-up, I will take samples of lubricant used, and from there, I can determine the presence of certain metals.

“If there is a delay in analysis results and damage is detected, other engineering teams cannot replace the damaged parts promptly. Such setbacks compromise the car’s peak performance potential on race day,” he said.

Wan Mohd Saifullah said that for each race, he needs to carry out primary analyses involving Petronas’ Primax fuel, Syntium lubricant, Tutela transmission oil, and Tutela hydraulic oil.

The former student of SMK Agama Falahiah, Kelantan, also analyses and manages oils and fuel for other F1 teams using Mercedes engines such as the McLaren, Aston Martin and Williams F1 teams.

“Although quick and accurate analysis results are required, with teamwork discipline and meticulous planning, any challenges encountered can be successfully handled, resulting in positive outcomes for the team,” he said.

Emil said that being part of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team and collaborating with them is an extraordinary experience and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“It is truly an exciting opportunity for me to work in the world of F1. Not only am I gaining technical knowledge through on-site experiences, but I am also thrilled to witness how the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team operates.

“They always strive for excellence in everything they do,” he said.

Petronas Lubricants International managing director and group chief executive officer Hezlinn Idris said the company has been engaged in technical collaboration with Mercedes-AMG F1 team since 2010 and has successfully clinched the constructors’ titles for eight consecutive years.

She said that before Wan Mohd Saifullah and Emil, three Malaysians had been part of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team, starting with Ahmad Nasri Shafie in 2018, En De Liow in 2020, and Dr Safwan Hanis in 2022.

“The Petronas talent development programme has brought tangible benefits to the automotive world, enabling PTFEs to gain invaluable experience through exposure to the rapidly evolving and fast-paced world of F1.

“These PTFEs have operated compact labs for fluid-related activities at races around the world alongside the best engineers and scientists in the field. This collective experience has enabled us to produce high-quality products for use by road users,” she said.
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