F1’s next rules revolution in 2025

Revealed: Radical changes on the drawing board for F1’s next rules revolution in 2025

RacingLines

Posted on

| Written by

In July last year, as Formula 1 started its postponed 2021 season, we suggested the sport could prove to be the internal combustion engine’s saviour by mandating synthetic and/or biofuels. These could in turn be ‘dropped’ into the billions of such engines currently in use worldwide – on the road, in the air, on water or industrially – thereby prolonging their working lives without adding significantly (if at all) to global CO2 levels.

“On that basis F1 does not need a new engine formula in 2025,” we concluded, “it simply needs a new fuel formula.”

F1’s ‘new era’ regulations – which made provisions for increasing levels of non-fossil fuels – were originally intended to span the five years from 2021-25. These specify a 5.75% biofuel component, with a 10% ethanol element prevailing from 2022.

Then came Covid, which in turn delayed much of what was planned by a year to 2022 on cost and uncertainty grounds. Meanwhile the world increasingly embraced electrification, which shone uncomfortable spotlights on IC engines.

Matters progressed swiftly: In December the governing body delivered the first barrels of specifically-commissioned 100%-sustainable fuel – blended from biowaste ethanol produced from second-generation (non-edible) plants and wood-based toluene (to increase its octane rating) – to F1’s engine suppliers for evaluation purposes.

“By developing sustainable fuels made from biowaste that can power Formula 1, we are taking a new step forward,” said FIA president Jean Todt at the time. “With the support of the world’s leading energy companies, we can combine the best technological and environmental performance.”

Todt wants F1 to have “the best technological and environmental performance”
His comments were echoed by F1 managing director Ross Brawn. “Formula 1 has long served as platform for introducing next generation advancements in the automotive world,” he said. “Our top sustainability priority now is building a roadmap for hybrid engines that reduce emissions and offer real-world benefits in road cars.”

However Pat Symonds, F1’s chief technical officer and thus the man charged by Liberty with ensuring it has the right technologies to deliver a sustainable, world-class spectacle, says the early concoction did not tick all the boxes.

“That fuel didn’t perform as well as we might have hoped,” he told RaceFans. “When I say that, we weren’t expecting the same performance from it because the Formula 1 fuels we have at the moment have been tailored for energy density. So I think there’s still some work to do.

“We initially set ourselves an objective to try and get sustainable fuels by 2023,” he adds, “but the problem of the moment is a supply problem, not just a technical problem. As we couldn’t put sustainable fuel into 2023’s regulations, we said ‘Let’s move the whole project forward to 2025’.”

Thus, in February the F1 Commission meeting voted unanimously to expedite the introduction of a revised engine formula by a year. Five goals were set for these next-generation power units: incorporate relevant and sustainable technologies; be attractive to motor manufacturers; be compatible with sustainable fuels; be “powerful and emotive” albeit at lower costs to attract incoming suppliers; and be carbon neutral.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Crucially, this revised date provides a sufficiently long runway for newcomers while offering exiting suppliers a four-year window to defray costs, with savings accruing through development ‘freezes’ on current units. This window also provides two years to frame the regulations and sufficient cushion to comply with the FIA’s statutory two-year notice for changes which influence the balance of performance between automobiles.

Mercedes F1 power units
F1’s V6 hybrid power units have been in use since 2014
“From the technology side we face a lot of challenges because we need to ensure better efficiency and reduce pollutants,” said Gilles Simon, the FIA’s technical director responsible for engines, in an exclusive interview. “So, we need to evolve.

“We need to switch to sustainable fuels and promote new technologies, but we also have to consider costs. This is an important factor because we want to attract new manufacturers, and to do that we need to keep investment within reasonable limits.”

The internal timeline is for the first power unit concepts to be presented to suppliers by June, with the following six months devoted to evaluation and refining the various proposals ahead of drafting the regulations during 2022, ready for FIA ratification possibly as early as July next year. Thus, suppliers would have over two years to develop their engines, resolve issues and clarify grey areas before introduction in 2025.

Crucially, pulling the regulation changes forward by a year means the changes fall under the current 2021-2025 Concorde Agreement. This means the FIA and F1 combined hold a total of 20 (of 30) votes, provided decisions are taken ahead of that two-year window.

“What we have given ourselves as a target is to have a good idea of the power unit specification by this summer, and a reasonably full definition of the rest of the car during 2022,” Nikolas Tombazis, the FIA’s single-seater technical director, told RaceFans.

F1 must limit costs while becoming more efficient, says Tombazis
“It is our belief that fuel is going to remain at the core of mobility for the foreseeable future and, of course, in its fully sustainable form. The world is going to a more hybrid situation and that should be reflected in Formula 1, which will continue to lead the way in this technology, and we plan to make a big step forward with the next generation power unit.

“Our main objectives for the next generation of Formula 1 cars are to ensure the racing stays exciting whilst making a great step forward in sustainability. We want to go fully carbon neutral, and as a result of that we want to move to fully sustainable fuel.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Simon projects hybridised units based on architectures largely similar to the current turbocharged 1.6-litre V6 engines, also fitted with heat recovery units. These would be capable of producing around 800kw, derived roughly 50-50 between the internal combustion engine and electrical power, so roughly 400kW per power source. Saudi’s Aramco oil company, which became a major sponsor of the world championship last year, has made its considerable resources available to F1 for sustainable fuels research.

“We could probably maintain similar [15,000] rpm as we have today, so probably noise levels would be similar, or slightly better,” Tombazis believes. This would satisfy the ‘emotive’ requirement – current power units produce 550kw via the ICE, with 120kw provided by hybrid energy stores, so 670kw total.

Already these fuels have a catchy name, ‘e-fuel’, on account being both arguably cleaner overall than battery power, if the pollution created in the production of cells is factored into the equation, and due to the renewable electrical energy, mainly solar, used in the conversion of biomass and synthetics to combustible fuel.

Members of the Formula 1 Fuel Advisory Panel – comprising all major oil companies, not only existing team partners – are eagerly formulating brews that can be ‘dropped into’ existing engines with little or no modification. Such fuels are, of course, in the best interests of oil companies given the number of fossil-fuelled cars currently roaming the planet, which cannot be scrapped overnight.

Symonds says F1 considered bespoke fuels to maximise performance before deciding on ‘drop-in’ fuels, which replace existing fuels with minimal modifications to power units.

New 2025 engine rules will include emissions limits
“We will take advantage of the fact that we’re blending some pretty pure chemicals together. ‘Drop-in’ fuel will be a nice clean fuel,” explains Symonds. “The idea of these synthetic fuels is that they will be low CO2 [or even] CO2 neutral.

“But we also want to tackle the emissions problem. What we’re looking at for 2025 is to bring in for the first time some emission regulations into Formula 1, and we’ll be looking at particulates; particularly the oxides in nitrogen.”

The target is the same performance as with current F1 cars, but using one-third less fuel. “When I define ‘same performance’ I want the same speed, I want roughly the same lap time, roughly the same acceleration, and roughly the same braking capability, and I want roughly the same cornering capability,” he says.

Will that entail completely new chassis designs to complement the super-frugal powertrains and increased hybrid energy density? Indeed, does this not point to all-wheel kinetic energy recovery to double harvesting, in turn opening the door to a form of all-wheel-drive?

“Obviously, a four-wheel drive car is very efficient in terms of recovery, in terms of performance, in terms of cornering. But it’s an added complexity,” says Simon, adding that all options are on the table before stressing that no final decisions have yet been taken. “It is still early in the programme, and we are looking far and wide. Together [with F1 and power unit suppliers] we will define the direction.”

Stirling Moss, Goodwood Festival of Speed, 2011
Feature: How Moss scored the only win for a four-wheel-drive F1 car
Symonds is of a similar opinion: “If you have energy recovery on the front wheels it makes sense to drive [them]. But we have to remember we’re a sport, and I don’t want cornering on absolute rails. At the beginning of the project our simulations started with front drive, but only using it when lateral acceleration drops to certain levels.” He draws parallels with the WEC, which allows all-wheel-drive only above certain speeds.

All-wheel-drive and recovery chimes with F1’s plans to move away from carbon brakes to carbon ceramic brakes to reduce carbon brake particulates. These would be unlikely to cope with projected rear-wheel energy recovery duty cycles, thus making all-wheel-drive systems inevitable. A spokesperson for Brembo, F1’s primary brake system supplier, confirmed that they are aiming to phase out carbon friction materials.

“Based on Brembo’s strategy and new vision, we are already working on new materials and evolutionary processes in terms of consumption and emissions,” he said. “This is our philosophy, not only because Formula 1 is asking all suppliers to adapt to this new sustainable approach, but because our corporate strategy is to produce materials that are sustainable for the environment. In F1 this process has started.”

According to Symonds active aerodynamics, too, on the table: “You don’t have to be an engineer to realise that one of the reasons we use quite a lot of fuel on these cars is because they’re high drag. So, the first thing you’ve got to do, apart from the fact that you’re moving into much more hybridisation, is get some drag out of it. That leads you to active aerodynamics on the car.”

Whatever direction is finally agreed upon there are no doubts that the world is increasingly embracing electrification, yet battery power is not suitable for all applications. Developing countries require transportation yet seldom have the infrastructure required by electric cars.

Current DRS could be swapped for ‘active aero’
“We want to make the cars more efficient in every way, meaning we must keep the costs down at the same time, making it sustainable financially in terms of business models for the teams, whilst at all times keeping racing exciting, and maintaining the passion in the sport,” stresses Tombazis.

“When you lay out all of these objectives there’s no golden ticket solution to satisfy them all easily, so what we are discussing now is where the best compromise is – we’re not excluding any technologies, and equally we have not settled on the specific direction we will go towards.

“We feel now is the right time to be having these constructive discussions between the FIA, F1, the teams, power unit manufacturers and fuel suppliers. By having these discussions now, we’ll be in a much stronger, [more] cohesive position when these regulations are firmed up and the power units and cars begin to be developed for 2025,” concludes Tombazis.

All this points to a seismic shift from the ‘new-era’ planned for 2022-24, which in turn marks a sea-change away from F1’s current formula. Nothing is currently off the table, with a raft of technical innovations under consideration: drop-in e-fuels, all-wheel-drive, active aerodynamics, carbon ceramic brakes and a 50/50 ICE/hybrid split – all aimed at making F1 sustainable and relevant in the face of a rapidly changing world.

Go ad-free for just £1 per month

>> Find out more and sign up

RacingLines

Browse all RacingLines columns

Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

63 comments on “Revealed: Radical changes on the drawing board for F1’s next rules revolution in 2025”

  1. “Synthetic” fuels are designed for one thing and one thing only: To keep oil-burning ICE infrastructure in place and preserve the valuation of crude oil reserves.

    Cause that’s what these people will gladly sell you, and at a discount to the economically unviable “synthetic” stuff too, at their earliest convenience.

    1. Jack (@jackisthestig)
      7th April 2021, 12:58

      What’s wrong with that?

    2. “Synthetic” fuels are designed for one thing and one thing only: To keep oil-burning ICE infrastructure in place and preserve the valuation of crude oil reserves.

      I doubt it, @proesterchen. That is, for the valuation of the crude oil reserves it will be quite the opposite)
      1) adding a liquid fuel to the mix will do nothing to defend against the competition of electric cars (which are quickly becoming competitive life-cycle cost wise).
      2) It will bite fossil fuels when synthetic fuels come on board. Governments will carbon tax fossil fuels (even more) and support true net-zero-emision synthetic fuels (which already exist based on carbon caption and solar).

      Especially 2) will make sure that rapid synthetic fuel development will pull the rug from underneath the fossil fuel industry. The billion ICU’s of cars/etc now have an alternative.

      And it it helps to keep (part of) the infrastructure in place, then so be it.
      Many car owners still prefer to go to a petrol station rather than plug in at home.

    3. Sorry, but while that might be true, to an extent, one does have to questions whether that is actually an issue @proesterchern.

      Thing is, do we have the target to fight the “evil” fossile fuel companies? Or do we “just” need them to start working towards having a less polluting, CO2 neutral and far less wastefull way of fuelling our efforts.

      When thinking about sustainability, we also have to consider the immense waste from just throwing away all the current ICE infrastructure and vehicles in the world before they have reached the end of their lifetime. Remember, building a vehicle as such is a significant part of the waste/investment/pollution caused, so using it for longer will also help be more sustainable.

    4. At first I was ready to scoff at “e-fuel” which sounds suspiciously like “clean coal”. But then I thought about it for a second, and also thought about the introduction of the MGU-H. I think, essentially F1 is developing the technology, which can then be sold, or applied to other things.

      Even if “e-fuel” doesn’t become introduced into daily drivers, it will still increase the longevity of the ICU and could have use across other industries. What so many teams, and drivers, and fans have all said is that the internal combustion, that noise, that feeling, is integral to the sport. So F1 is going to develop technology towards that end.

      This is the best technology they could come up with to keep the sport moving forward and relevant, whilst being applicable to internal combustion engines.

  2. With food scarcity being one of the main threats of the Climate Crisis, one would think that the land should be used to feed the people, not to fuel your cars?

    Why not use Hydrogen, as Extreme E has done successfully in extreme conditions last weekend?

    1. Hydrogen is extremely inefficient when used in Internal Combustion Engine.

      I am a massive supporter of hydrogen (heck, planning on doing something related with hydrogen for my uni thesis), but it simply won’t work on combustion engines

      The future will be a combination of biofuels, hydrogen fuel cells and batteries. There isn’t a universal solution

    2. The synthetic fuel I’m thinking about (and truly net zero-emision) is carbon capture based on solar.

      Here a link I shared earlier to a working prototype in Switzerland.
      Carbon-neutral fuel made from sunlight and air (ETH Zürich)
      The solar mini-​refinery on the roof of ETH Zurich proves that the technology is feasible, even under the climate conditions prevalent in Zurich. It produces around one decilitre of fuel per day.

      1. Decilitre per day, that is what I need during lockdow. Perfect.

      2. @coldfly and yet, as is pointed out in the article, what they’re doing here is just a slightly different way of producing raw products that is then fed into the Fischer–Tropsch process – and the energy requirements for the actual synthesis of the fuels is skipped over, even though the Fischer–Tropsch process is itself quite energy intensive.

        If anything, that article also highlights the problems with the inefficiency of the e-fuel production cycle. In that article, they indicate that you would need a solar plant the size of Switzerland – which is more than 41,000 square kilometres – to satisfy the demand for aviation fuel.

        The article leaves it ambiguous as to whether that would actually be producing the fuel itself, or just what is required to produce the raw materials to then be synthesised in the Fischer–Tropsch process to produce a liquid fuel – although it suggest it is potentially just the latter, given the pilot plant here is only producing the raw materials.

        Either way, the aviation sector is one of the smaller consumers of liquid fuels – if you were to take that indicated figure of over 41,000 square kilometres to just satisfy the aviation sector and then try scaling that up for the transport sector as a whole, you’re looking at hundreds of thousands of kilometres that would have to be converted to e-fuel synthesis.

        That also assumes that you can scale up the production process from this demonstrator scale, which is producing just 0.1 litres per day, to something which can supply fuel on an industrial scale (i.e. in the order of tens, or even hundreds of thousands, of litres per day) without either suffering from a reduction in the efficiency of the process or without the capital and running costs being impractically high.

        Yes, for F1 it might work because, as a niche industry that is a minor consumer, the energy consumption requirements are manageable. However, as a mass production technique? People seem to like it because it offers the beguiling option of not having to change our current lifestyle and basically wishing the problem away, but the viability on a large scale seems questionable when you look at what would be required to start scaling it up to even fairly modest industrial scale.

    3. Oliver, You are mistaking e-Fuel with BioFuel. BioFuel is made from “food” while e-Fuel is not.

      1. Really?
        Where does the sustainable e-Fuel then come from? Can’t be pumped out of the ground, because they is not sustainable, it will end someday.

        From the article: ”
        used in the conversion of biomass and synthetics to combustible fuel.

        Biomass… seems related to ground where does could be grown instead of the source of the biomass used in e-Fuel.

    4. As a far as I know hydrogen is beins used the feul the charging generators, not the cars themselves.

      When they do, THAT will be the game changer.

  3. I can see the logic of e fuels and active aero, and cars could be amazing.

    I hope however 4WD is not required. Cars would become even heavier and easier to drive, the opposite of what we currently need.

    I also don’t think it’s very wise to keep MGU-H technology given it has been the biggest entry barrier for new manufacturers

    1. @ofitus21 I agree with you on MGU-H, but don’t quite get how 4WD would necessarily make cars heavier.

      1. I would guess that additional components create additional weight.

      2. but don’t quite get how 4WD would necessarily make cars heavier.

        I guess the drive axle/shaft to the front wheels, @jerejj.

        Of course a pair of in-hub MGU-K’s would be super sexy, but that would kill the unsprung weight (and race-ability).

        1. I thought the front brakes on an F1 car were already MGU-K, meaning the “motor” bit could be used as well as the “generator” bit.

      3. I agree with you there on the weight thing @jerejj. I think that having 4 in hub motors might turn out to be even more efficient.

        It would probably mean having motors that work as generators for the MGU-K system right away and if done well, it could actually mean lower weight, because it would probably be done by eliminating that driveshaft to the front wheels – they would be electric driven only imo @Coldfly, @ferrox-glideh, @ofitus21 (see the remark about the reason for going 4WD being about the available capacity to actually regain enough K energy that is mentioned in the article).

    2. …..well without MGU-H how are you going to recover the heat? That is a big part of recharging the batteries and that will be more important given the proposed 50-50 split between ICE and electric.

  4. If the car concept for next year proves successful in improving racing, hopefully, 2025 wouldn’t feature considerable changes in this regard.

  5. A bit of a low number given for the current engine power thought we were closer to the 730Kw mark

  6. Almost all of these things sound unappealing to me.
    Ah well, I’m fine without F1 in my life – it hasn’t really been ‘F1’ for a long time already anyway. Basically just a glorified spec series, with more business and politics thrown in.

    1. Ah well, I’m fine without F1 in my life

      I think you post even more than I do, @S ;)

      1. I find it kinda satisfying to question and poke fun at F1, even though I haven’t really enjoyed it for many years – not nearly as much as I should or used to, anyway. It never stops being educational, finding out what people find so great about it.
        It’s a bit like arguing about religion in a church – it’s just a bit of a laugh. Bit of a stir never hurt anyone.

        Honestly, the thing that drew me to F1 was its potential to be epic.
        But it’s how supremely effective it is as squandering that potential that has become most fascinating.

        1. Indeed, Mr. @S.

          Although ever since Bernie took 50% of the money and 90% of machinations, F1 has been the pinnacle of motorsport politics.

          Unfortunately, F1 has been leveraged into mealy-mouthed corporate feudalism – with the token billionaire vanity project tossed in to maintain the illusion of independent teams.

          Not surprising the current gen of heavy, stretch limo aero-wagons was adopted so readily – stretch limos is the key application of F1 tech. ;-)

    2. For a “spec series” people sure complain a lot about Hamilton winning only cos of the car…..

      1. Even spec series have dominant teams…

        @yaru Compared with, say, 30 years ago, F1 does look a lot like a spec series now – wouldn’t you agree?
        Not just the bits we can see – the technical regs are riddled with defined specifications rather than limits or boundaries that allow teams to come to their own design conclusions.

  7. this is like when a local council issue a load of new rules and regulations without anything more than a brief ‘consultation period’ and then expect everyone to happily pay for all the mess it generates

    1. Eh most stakeholders gets a say in this. They need a 26 out of 30 majority to pass any of this since it falls under current Concorde. Even if FIA and FOM support each other with their combined 20 votes, they need 6 teams to get a majority.

      The manufacturers will be represented within those teams and they have extra power in being able to withdraw anytime so they need to be catered to also.

  8. Like the innovative lead role F1 needs to regain. But lets not lose sight on the racing. When I read:

    ” the first thing you’ve got to do, apart from the fact that you’re moving into much more hybridisation, is get some drag out of it. That leads you to active aerodynamics on the car.”

    It gave me a scare.. I hope it is clear that aero makes cars unable to closely follow each other. Drag is good. Drag is fantastic (except for fuel consumption yes, so make the fuel harmless and then who cares how much is consumed)

    1. Drag is good. Drag is fantastic

      Never tried it, but some look amazing indeed ;)

      Also aerodynamic drag is not a bad word in F1, as it creates the ‘tow’ on the straights.

    1. @Sergey Martyn Nice one. I remember that car and episode, LOL.

  9. These plans sound utterly redundant to any scalable near future sustainable development efforts.

    Internal combustion engines seem extremely unlikely to be still powering anything smaller than a van or a truck (save for historic vehicles) in the time frame discussed here. What possible reason would meaningfully large manufacturers have to remain in the series? (This is partly a rhetorical question as I worry about their motivations for doing so currently.) Even regional aircraft are slated to start making a transition into full electric soon enough.

    It has been clear for a good twenty years now that F1, apart from being a plaything for the very rich, has been a vehicle for finding ways to extract as much value from an utterly destructive energy infrastructure by finding convenient technological dead ends to follow. The full electric series should really just split from all organizations that sustain the status quo and this flawed beyond repair apparatus and establish their own.

    Beyond this there are crises aplenty for motor sport which these plans do not address. One is autonomous vehicles and driver assistance systems that will completely bifurcate everyday mobility from motor sports’ adversarial and by rules largely unassisted driving. In a sense the rationale for competing in motor vehicles vanished already when speeds of land based travel exceeded everyday needs but it seems only now to come to a head.

    Fiddling with active aerodynamics also seems decidedly underwhelming. Of course these vehicles are draggy, optimizing a form around a tub for performance between wide open wheels has always been if not completely crazy then at least something of a fools errand, a carryover from the cigar shaped narrow wheels format of the 60’s. My solution would be to standardize maximum allowed downforce per given speed and let teams worry about reducing drag thereafter.

    What we’ve got today in F1 is mainly a reality show format, amply demonstrated by its appeal to a very particular breed of national leaders. I’m not out to decry this form of escapism altogether but cannot overlook how pervasive its loss of raison d’être in this postmodern, and to some neoreactionary, era has become. Perhaps, as far as striving for sustainability goes, informed and ethically sound irrelevancy is the standard we should seek to attain.

    Reply moderated
    1. The time frame discussed here from what I can see is 2022-2025….and I doubt we go majority full electric by then.

      Certainly not in my country, we would be sticking to ICE for a long long time.

      1. Hi Yaru,

        the time frame is 2025 and onward. Many countries have in effect banned selling new internal combustion engine automobiles thereabouts or soon thereafter. Most manufacturers are reacting by shifting production to all electric as soon as possible, i.e. even before than required. At this point in the changing of energy and mobility infrastructure it is hard to see what the FIA, F1 and their sponsors gain by these designs apart from deploying yet another diversionary and delaying tactic. I’m fairly sure, though, that this time they won’t get their money’s worth anymore.

        Reply moderated
  10. Sheesh, another rules upheaval so soon after the 2022 is ridiculous. It will hinder any hope of performance convergence that comes after a stable regs period.

    I thought things would change with the new management, but this is almost worse than before. I believe Brawn said he would ensure stable regs -convergence after the necessary big 2022 change, but seems he’d rather go ‘green’ than get the field together for more close racing.

    1. I don’t particular care for the green stuff but I understand why they want to do so. They have done a poor job of marketing how good the 50% thermal efficiency of the current engines, eselcailly given the performance it can do.

  11. …..well without MGU-H how are you going to recover the heat? That is a big part of recharging the batteries and that will be more important given the proposed 50-50 split between ICE and electric.

    1. Sorry wrong section.

  12. Another Elephant in the room scenarios.
    The true cost in human & environmental misery is never publicised.
    Go search for Child miners in Congo DRC lithium mining for the batteries.
    Go search for environmental disaster in Chile mining for tungsten.
    The bs of CO2 emissions is blown apart here.
    Also focuses on China’s wretchedly polluting Aluminium production
    for the so called environmentally friendly e cars.
    https://www.businessinsider.com/electric-cars-have-a-hidden-cost-2017-11

    1. @wildbiker that is a flawed article though, as the author of that piece hasn’t been entirely honest about the articles they’ve cited as sources.

      One of the articles that they cite is an article from the Financial Times – however, he happens to have left out the fact that the Financial Times subsequently published an apology for misrepresenting the contents of the paper produced by those researchers at MIT.

  13. If we want active aero let’s test it first. Choose a race and give drivers discretional use of DRS – any straight or corner, any time. Let’s see how that goes.

    1. @mr-neese I’d like to see that but it could be unsafe. Still, the only way to find out is to find out. This is why non-championship races are needed – we’d be able to experiment without affecting the title race. The races themselves would still carry prestige (look at the one day classics in cycling).

  14. As I always said about the so called ‘green and sustainable fuel’ in F1 was just a PR stunt. 10% ethanol? Brazil already using 25% plant based ethanol fuel. Indonesia already using 30% plant based methanol fuel. Both by destroying millions hectares tropical rain forest.

    1. Gasoline (petrol) here is the U.S. has had a 10% ethanol content for decades. The ethanol is produced from corn (Indian corn). Unfortunately, it takes more energy to grow the corn, harvest it, and ferment and distill it to ethanol than is produced by the ethanol in the fuel. The production is subsidized by the Federal government and costs us tax payers quite a chunk of change; farmers in states like Iowa and Indiana et al where the corn is grown love it though. It’s become a political process here…….

      Reply moderated
    2. Most deforestation is for cattle raising and oil palm plantationa in brazil and Indonesia respectively. It’s not about fuel, it’s about your kit-kat and your big mac.

  15. It seems rather naive to think that F1 could develop some amazing new fuel that would improve road cars. Car manufacturers are not going to ignore such a possibility if it has any real chance of working out. And then I’m not talking about a 90% chance, but more like 1%.

  16. Legacy-F1-Fan
    7th April 2021, 19:46

    Not keen on “e-fuel” as a marketing gimmick.

    Personally, I do not think F1 is going down the right route with electrification. They have overengineered a solution for the PU. There is no need for such an expensive and complex engine.

    I understand the need to start moving new vehicles over to electrification or hydrogen fuel cell, but we still have a huge amount of room to further develop petrol based engines. In doing so, we could better develop fuels for the millions of vehicles on the road post 2030 that run on petroleum. Studies have shown that hybrids are often not as environmentally friendly or efficient as single fuel cars….

    So, I would propose a small capacity twin-charged (supercharged and turbocharged) V12 petrol engine that has a small electrification system used only on main and back straights to enhance maximum power.

    I agree with the desire to move back towards moveable aero. I’ve advocated this since the 2000s.

    Reply moderated
  17. At this point hybrids have been given a slight reprieve from obsolescences by governments in allowing them to continue into the second half of this decade. With a new US government in place I would expect some big decisions about the future of ICE in the US and in turn an effect on the rest of the world. Manufacturers are happy to switch to full electric because despite the huge investment costs the manufacturing costs per vehicle will plummet plus the opportunity to become partners to energy suppliers massively boosting profits.

    we suggested the sport could prove to be the internal combustion engine’s saviour by mandating synthetic and/or biofuels.

    I personally feel that’s a bit of a stretch :) but as long as the big players keep the hybrids F1 should be OK. The really good news is F1s proven ability to adapt to change quickly. So if and when the ICE is phased out F1 are in a good position to move with the times.

    1. What surprises me a lot is why hybrids have been discarded so quickly in favour of full EV.

      Surely there would be a faster uptake for countries that don’t have the infrastructure for full EV, whether it be for technical or distance treasons, if there was more of a focus on reducing the size/fuel consumption of the ICE in current hybrids & increasing the efficiency of the harvesting of energy.

      I certainly can’t see EV becoming the norm in Australia for at least the next 10 years because of the distances involved for travel over here, let alone the fact that there just isn’t yet the infrastructure to support it. I would hazard a guess that this would be the same in quite a number of countries (Canada, US, Russia, India) with large populations.

      The other is cost – full EV vehicles are way beyond the average car buyer’s budget, and for that matter hybrids are right on the margin and I don’t see their costs coming down sufficiently by 2025.

      To me – F1 is probably working down a reasonable path – reduce the size/increase the efficiency of the ICE component and increase the energy from the hybrid components. Along the way, I suspect that there might end up being quite a bit of relevance to some or all vehicle manufacturers, even if its only for the large vehicle/SUV market.

      Yes ultimately F1 will have to go full electric or cease, but not in 2025.

      As for the other ideas being thrown around (moveable aero etc.) they should have been available as development options for years because surely the dangers/safety reasons of the past should be irrelevant in these days of massive run offs and far more evolved technology. For me, some of the ideas are probably 5 – 10 years too late.

      1. @dbradock

        For me, some of the ideas are probably 5 – 10 years too late.

        Some of this is banned tech from decades ago, I am a bit concerned about the increase in weight.
        I think what we have to get used to in Australia is the fact that we are a small market and we have no industry of our own. The car industry are going to design and built for the EU, US, China, Asian and Indian markets. We are not going to be left with any real say in it. Prices per unit will come down once the big players get up to speed.
        Your right about the charging infrastructure in Aus it’s pretty terrible atm.

        1. @johnrkh absolutely agree about cars for Aus. We’ll get what we’re given, but other than the EU, I still think that the other countries you mention are either too large in distances or nowhere near having the infrastructure to fully embrace EV.
          Also not convinced prices are going to come down far enough – battery production is still way expensive, the mineral expenses are too high and not likely to drop. It’s improving but even the cheapest ones are ridiculously priced.
          Noticed today Victorians calling on a ban for new petrol engine cars being sold which gave me a laugh over breakfast. Vic distances compared to WA where I live 😀😀

  18. If they are to add 4WD they need to balance that with weight savings. This will push the weight to over 800kg and beyond. Prepare for 1000kg cars -_-“

    1. An mpu-k at the the front is needed to get enough braking energy recovery while keeping breaks and balance. So,weight is there already (but no need for powered axle from ICE, and hopefully then in hub motor to avoid drive axle) @cplchanb, and given that, it is only a regulation question whether to allow just charging or also discharging.

  19. I think I have a different interpretation of the word “Radical”…

    I see a four wheeled, ICE+whatever, single seater with restrictive aero rules and rubbish tires.

    Did I miss something ?

  20. “But we also want to tackle the emissions problem. What we’re looking at for 2025 is to bring in for the first time some emission regulations into Formula 1, and we’ll be looking at particulates; particularly the oxides in nitrogen.”

    That will mean no more engine sound you think the current cars are not loud enough with these rules it’s completly gone.

    1. Nahh they’ll stick a speaker where the exhaust used to be and drive a v12 motor sound through a 2000 watt amplifier.

  21. Many thanks, Dieter, for this article.

    Bring on a big suction fan, four-wheel drive, active suspension and free choice of engine configurations!

  22. I like the 50/50 ICE and electricity idea.

    My wacky idea for the future of F1:

    Because electric motors are so responsive they could use a standardised ECU to equalise the torque levels of the power units in the race. You could have performance differences in qualifying, but then no (or less) difference in the race. Party mode+ for qualifying. Equalisation mode for the race.

    A rich team would have more power for qualifying and start on pole, and so have a high chance of winning. The race though would be more competitive and entertaining because the performance gap would lessen in the race.

    To achieve this you have to run the electric motors at a lower level in the race with a software limited output. You also have to have a large top battery buffer.

    Reply moderated
    1. Full BoP in F1?
      Good luck with that.

  23. Thank you for this quality offering, Mr. Rencken!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.
If the person you're replying to is a registered user you can notify them of your reply using '@username'.