In a year when grand prix teams are increasingly looking to their fuels to deliver competitive advantage, McLaren Mercedes' new and unique fuel - developed by ExxonMobil - has been exceeding expectations throughout testing and the early races.

Along with Mobil1 lubricants, gear oil, greases and hydraulic oils, ExxonMobil has supplied high-performance race formulation fuel and trackside expertise to the McLaren Mercedes race team during the course of their 20-year collaboration.

For 2014, more so perhaps than at any other time in their technical partnership, the partners have worked hand-in-hand to ensure that the new 1.6-litre V6 turbo hybrid power units are as powerful and efficient as possible.

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With fuel consumption the subject of intense debate now that loads have been restricted to 100kg per race - a decrease of around 35 per cent compared to last year's average consumption - ExxonMobil's team of scientists developed a completely new fuel for the MP4-29, engineered at molecular level to ensure full conformity with FIA specifications and mitigate for the issue of 'knock' (detonation) common in turbocharged engines.

Minimising engine knock is critical for two reasons: first and foremost, because it can potentially lead to catastrophic engine failure which, in a season where teams are restricted to five power units, is of vital importance. The second major reason relates to the team's ability to improve engine performance and ensure that by minimising knock, they gain as much power as possible from their fuel load.

In preparation for the 2014 season, a team from ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company formulated a brand new fuel that would minimise the risk of engine knock to help extract maximum power from the available fuel.

"Our race fuels development programme is extremely challenging, given the strict FIA regulations governing composition," Bruce Crawley, global motorsport technology manager, explained, "This new fuel is the result of twelve months' work, from mathematical fuel modelling to thousands of kilometres of testing, and has proven our ability to innovate within these confines."

The 2014 season sees ExxonMobil and the McLaren Mercedes F1 team celebrate 20 years of technology partnership - a period in which they have clocked-up an impressive 334 races and 78 victories. The Bahrain race weekend will see the final appearance of the special Esso-branded MP4-29 livery to mark the long standing fuels technology partnership.

"Just as passionate about winning as we are, ExxonMobil's team of specialists are 100 per cent committed to delivering performance advantage on track," McLaren COO Jonathan Neale commented, "With fuels a key focus of the 2014 regulation changes, we have been delighted to recognise ExxonMobil's technology contributions over the last two decades by placing the Esso logo on the MP4-29 during the Malaysian and Bahrain Grand Prix."

McLaren heads to Bahrain second in the constructors' standings after taking a brace of podiums in Australia and two further points finishes in Malaysia.