I write a blog on Formula One history and I'm currently researching the Maserati 250F. During its first race at the 1954 Argentine Grand Prix, they were having difficulties with the oil overheating and frothing due to the hot weather and the placement of the oil reservoir in the engine bay. I found an interview with their chief engineer in Motor Sport Magazine about how they used castor oil to try to remedy this. He said he needed 30 litres that he obtained from going around all the local pharmacies and buying half litre bottles.
Now, the fuel makeup of the Maserati 250F is listed as having 1% castor oil...my first assumption is that the collected castor oil was added to the fuel to improve lubrication in the engine.
Another thought is that they added it to the oil...though castor oil and mineral oil don't mix particularly well - a bit like trying to combine oil and water...one hydrophobic and one hydrophillic. It might take more than just stirring them together and hoping for the best.
I did find that Castrol-R is oil with 0.7% castor oil. Interestingly Mercedes Benz used this oil in the W196 at the 1954 French Grand Prix.
Or, did they replace all of the oil with castor oil...the 30 litres would be about right for this, but it doesn't seem like it would necessarily work as a straightforward swap...
Is this much simpler than it looks? It might just be that I don't know enough about oils and engines, though I know a lot more now than when I started to try to find the answer to this question! I have three different books about the Maserati 250F and none of them go into any details about this...though maybe they are all assuming basic engine knowledge which I don't have!
Thanks for any information anyone might have,
Edited by taflach, 16 July 2020 - 02:42.