Formula 1 must prepare for the future. A central message: The highest class of motorsport is working on becoming climate neutral.
This article appeared on leading German automobile magazine Auto Bild. The original article is available here; this a translation...
Formula 1 and climate protection don't go together? Are you kidding me? Are you serious when you say that! At the beginning of 2020, the premier class joined the United Nations climate protection movement. The ambitious plan: to make Formula 1 climate-neutral by 2030 - with sustainable fuels and factories that only use electricity from renewable energies.
It is also a fact that other sports are already much more harmful to the climate. In 2019, the Formula 1 World Championship produced a total of 256,551 tons of CO2. The engines only contributed 0.7 percent. Most of the emissions come from logistics. And here, too, the comparison is positive: the soccer World Cup only takes place every four years - but it still generates almost ten times as many CO2 emissions as a single Formula 1 season. The premier class is therefore greener than its reputation.
One reason: the 1.6-litre V6 hybrid engines with around 1000 hp and only 48 kilos of fuel per 100 kilometres are among the most efficient drives in the world. 50 percent of the energy is converted into propulsion. In a normal internal combustion engine, it's only round 30 percent.
The next step will come in 2022. Then the fuel should be mixed with 20 percent CO2-neutral fuel. Just a year later, FIA engine boss Gilles Simon wants to increase the amount to 100 percent. Both biofuel and synthetic e-fuels are possible. New engines are planned from 2026. They should be more relevant for the series - so that Porsche and Co. get back on the road.
However: after Honda withdrew, there were efforts to bring forward the new engine format. An engine summit between teams, FIA and Formula 1 is planned for this week on the sidelines of the GP Portugal in Portimao. 2023 would be the logical goal due to the introduction of e-fuels, but according to Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko that would come too early.
Red Bull's proposal for a period of transition: The Austrians would use the Honda engine on their own from 2022 but demand a development stop. Mercedes is supposedly not averse; Renault would agree if the power is adjusted to a difference of 10 hp beforehand. Only Ferrari doesn't want to. Scuderia insists that the engine has to make a difference.
The discussions will nevertheless fuel the change in Formula 1 engines.