Sebastian Vettel, 1922 Aston Martin 'Green Pea', Paul Ricard, 2022

F1 “slow” to adopt sustainable fuel says Vettel after latest demo run

2022 French Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel believes his demonstration runs in cars using sustainable fuel show Formula 1 is being too slow to adopt a technology which is ready for introduction.

The Aston Martin driver demonstrated the company first grand prix car, 100 years after their debut in the French Grand Prix, at the Paul Ricard before this year’s event began.

“It was good,” said Vettel. “I think nowadays cars are fun but I think it would be nice to do a time travel and race in that era when you had to do so much co-ordination with your hands and with your feet and not just your driving.”

The 100-year-old ‘Green Pea’ ran on sustainable fuel. Vettel used the same for his previous demonstration run in Nigel Mansell’s 1992 championship-winning Williams-Renault FW14B at Silverstone earlier this month.

“It was great to have the same partner, the same company that was helping us a lot in Silverstone with Nigel’s car, with the Williams to buy the fuel,” he said. “And this time we had even less time to prepare.”

Formula 1 is due to introduce sustainable fuels in 2026, coinciding with the introduction of a new engine formula. It will trial the new fuels in Formula 2 and Formula 3 beforehand. However Vettel believes F1 could be more ambitious with its timetable for adopting the technology.

“It goes to show that it can be done, it is ready,” he said. “So you’re also asking yourself why, in Formula 1, we are so slow? If we always claim to be the best at everything, we are more than four years behind.”

Vettel has become increasingly vocal in recent years about his desire to see F1 cut its emissions. He said political factors are slowing the adoption of sustainable technologies in the sport and beyond.

“There’s still a lot of problems in this world and still money and politics prevent us from doing what often makes sense,” he reflected. “Formula 1 is no different.”

F1’s technical director Pat Symonds, who began looking into sustainable fuels in 2018, previously said the sport had to overcome “some reluctance” among “some of the oil companies” to embrace the technology.

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Pictures: Vettel’s 1922 Aston Martin ‘Green Pea’ demonstration run

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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8 comments on “F1 “slow” to adopt sustainable fuel says Vettel after latest demo run”

  1. He’s right, especially compared to rallying’s highest level.
    They might’ve been slow at adopting hybrid technology (some eight years later than F1), but at least they immediately switched to a fully sustainable fuel type.

  2. I think F1 are looking for road relevant fuel. And while biofuel is technically sustainable we could never produce enough to powered every car when the land is needed for food/forestry so they’re probably holding out looking for a permanent solution..

    1. I think F1 is only trying not to scare away their biggest oil-plundering financial partner/s….

    2. Maybe the main problem is the lack of an European partner to push for this suistainable fuel.
      Indycar has been using ethanol for years – while racing in ethanol producing states.
      And ethanol is “road relevant” in the US and in Brazil.
      Meanwhile F1 partners/sponsors mostly focus in oil-based fuels with no “road relevant” alternative.
      And I even doubt that some people would consider ethanol sustainable.
      Ans as hydrogen based fuel might be decades away, I am not even sure what is this sustainable ful they are talking about.

  3. Vettel’s point is spot on.
    Anyone who wants to see motoring and motorsport history live on forever in good conscience should really be supporting such fuels.
    F1 is so slow with this, and the only reason is money.

    It matters not if these fuels can’t yet be purchased for mass road use. Nobody runs 105 octane race fuel in the road car either.
    F1 is a racing series – a high visibility marketing show. This is exactly the place these new, cleaner fuels should be exploited to the fullest. Sooner rather than later. At least 10 years ago would have been sensible, when other series were moving to greener fuels…

    But this is F1. The pinnacle of…. something…. apparently. :/

    1. It’s the pinnacle of motorsport, they have no technical reason to use sustainable fuel other than make social media activists and companies that want to look ‘green’ happy. How is it a good thing that F1 regulations are manipulated for marketing reasons that have nothing to do with the racing? It’s even more absurd in this case because it’s not even road relevant.

      1. True Mark, but most people want things that sound good in their mind, actual numbers are less relevant. Those 20 cars really make a difference for the planet as well… As for sending a message, I’m not the one who needs to be convinced of something, but regulators and industry. I don’t think they make their decisions based on what F1 does… I think it’s more relevant what kind of fuel they use for those trucks hauling the caravan around the globe, as well as the airplanes they (and fans too) use to travel etc.

  4. I have to question whether the use of ethanol or similar plant based fuels is really sustainable in the present climate conditions. The crops grown require significant volumes of water, and we can see in many places, like the U.S. west where the Colorado river is one of the main sources of water, it is at historic lows.

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