Sebastian Vettel, Williams-Renault FW14B, Silverstone, 2022

Vettel to drive sustainably-fuelled F1 cars at Goodwood Festival of Speed

Formula 1

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Four-times Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel will drive classic grand prix machines powered by sustainable fuel at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Vettel retired from racing at the end of last season. The former Red Bull, Ferrari and Aston Martin driver has become increasingly passionate about and advocated for causes that can limit the impact of climate change in recent years.

Last year he launched a sustainable fuels initiative, and he can now run several of the F1 cars he owns on such fuels. This includes the Renault V10-powered William FW14B which Nigel Mansell drove on the way to the 1992 F1 title and the McLaren MP4/8 with a Ford V8 engine that Ayrton Senna raced during the 1993 season. He will drive each up Goodwood’s iconic hillclimb on the 15th and 16th of July.

The other cars he will pilot are yet to be revealed, but all will be driven using sustainable fuels.

Vettel will also drive a McLaren MP4/8, as raced by Senna
The last time Vettel attended the Festival of Speed was in 2012, when he drove the previous year’s Red Bull RB7 along with team mate Mark Webber. That car, like the 1992 Williams, was designed by Adrian Newey.

“It’s great to be coming back to Goodwood after all these years,” said Vettel.

“I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of some of my most memorable cars which will be running on sustainable fuel over the weekend. I’m a passionate racer and it’s important to me that we continue to enjoy driving iconic racing cars today and in the future, but that we do so in a responsible way.”

The Duke of Richmond, who owns the estate on which the Festival of Speed is held, said he is “enormously excited to welcome Sebastian back to Goodwood this summer.”

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“I know our fans will be delighted to have an opportunity to celebrate his incredible career and to see him in action on the hill.

“His attitude towards sourcing alternative fuels absolutely aligns with our plans across the event and the wider estate to ensure we are shining a light on this important topic and protect motorsport for the next generation.”

Pictures: Vettel in his FW14B at Silverstone

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching Photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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10 comments on “Vettel to drive sustainably-fuelled F1 cars at Goodwood Festival of Speed”

  1. Can’t fault the man’s taste in cars.

  2. Good. Have fun Seb.

    While these fuels aren’t really all that sustainable currently, if they can make them more or less carbon neutral to at least be able to do these kind of events and some niche uses where it actually makes more sense to burn e-fuel made through processing a lot of steps making it rather energy inefficient, why not.

    1. sustainablefuelsquestionman
      3rd May 2023, 11:10

      Assuming they are made with renewables (which we have to trust Sebastian not to be lying about) I was under the impression they were as sustainable as electric cars produced with renewables ie any unsustainability comes through manufacturing of the infrastructure. Please do correct me if I’m wrong I find there is a lack of specific information easily accesible about these fuels. I know hydrodgen fuels have issues with nitrogen and oxygen reacting to form nitrates, is it the same issue with biofuels or something else

      1. Two points on the sustainability of these synthetic fuels:

        (1) While boosters will point to production processes that only use renewably collected energy, the reality is that these fuels are currently – and for the foreseeable future – made from “natural” gas.

        (2) Even if production was eventually moved to processes only using renewably collected energy and atmospheric carbon, the inefficiency of using that energy first to create hydrocarbons, then refine them, transport them and ultimately burn them in ICEs means that very little of the initially collected energy ends up getting used for locomotion, while (conservatively) 80+% are wasted.

        Basically, synthetic fuels only have very niche, high-price applications in the area of personal mobility, which some, unfortunately, use in efforts to postpone the phase-out of ICEs in that field.

          1. Here’S a couple of articles from @hazelsouthwell about synthetic fuel and about their use in racing.

            Basically she explains why they will always be expensive, will be rather wasting energy (due to all the losses involved to make them from captured carbon and hyrdogen we both also have to create using a lot of energy) and also, given constraints on energy available, they are unlikely to be at hand in large quantities enough to use to fuel most cars out there.

            Motorsport is probably one of the niches where it will be used yeah.

        1. “Basically, synthetic fuels only have very niche, high-price applications in the area of personal mobility, which some, unfortunately, use in efforts to postpone the phase-out of ICEs in that field.”

          They’ll keep the show on the road for a lot of motorsport for participants and spectators. Take way ICE from racing and good luck selling out Silverstone.

          1. I would argue that motorsport doesn’t even qualify for being part of personal mobility as a sector.

            When I was referencing the use of synthetic fuels I was thinking more about owners of ICE-powered sports- and supercars that want to continue using them in the 2040s while the rest of the world is going to slowly phase out ICEs in cars.

            I’m sure that’s going to be a market, however tiny. But instead of acknowledging the limitations inherent in the technology and how the inevitably extremely high cost of these synthetic fuels will make them uneconomical for most personal applications, proponents are using them to keep infrastructure for the production and distribution of combustible hydrocarbons in place, likely on behalf of the owners of the rights to exploiting existing hydrocarbon deposits.

  3. CD (@clipperdael)
    3rd May 2023, 11:21

    The yellow/blue/white-liveried Williams cars of the mid-80’s to the early 90’s are some of my favourite F1 cars of all time. I pretty much love the entire run from the FW10 to the FW15C – if I had to pick one I’d probably choose the FW11 but that ex-Mansell machine above is a nice one, too.

    1. Seriously. Iconic and the definition of beauty

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