Petronas has been a Mercedes’ technical partner, but also its title sponsor since the manufacturer’s return to Formula 1 as a works team in 2010. Motorsport.com asked Malaysian oil and gas giant what the partnership means to them.
“Well, the answer is two-fold,” said Dergent.
“Of course the relevance for road cars, but also a bit of brand awareness. Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas also have a fairly clean reputation, that also makes a difference.
“It also really depends on how you want to market a brand. If you go to Red Bull, then they have a completely different identity than Mercedes, one that Max Verstappen fits perfectly with.
“That image would perhaps fit a little less well with Mercedes.
“Our program started in 2010, when we entered into a partnership for so-called ‘fluid technology solutions’. Since 2014, this has really paid off with the success of Mercedes.
“The exact contribution of a fuel supplier is always difficult to measure, but Mercedes definitely benefits from far-reaching integration.”
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Dergent goes on to explain what Petronas contributes to Mercedes.
“Formula 1 is all about marginal gains, especially this year, to be that one millisecond faster.
“For such details, the most important thing is to share knowledge, because that is where everything starts. A lot of trust is needed from both parties.
“Because we are both title sponsor of Mercedes and the technical partner, everyone is more willing to share confidential information. That information is needed to coordinate everything.
“In concrete terms, it means that we have our own engineers on-site at Mercedes, people who work on the fluids together with the manufacturer of the power unit and the racing team.
“These are fuels but also ‘functional fluids’ as we call them, the engine oil and lubricants.
“Everything is made in collaboration and that is quite special,” concluded Dergent.