Classic F1 car runs “even more fun” using sustainable fuels – Vettel

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In the round-up: Four-times Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel says running F1 cars on sustainable fuel is “maybe even more fun” than running on conventional fuels.

In brief

Classic car runs “even more fun” on sustainable fuels – Vettel

Vettel drove his 2011 title-winning Red Bull RB7 at Red Bull’s Formula Nurburgring event at the weekend using carbon dioxide neutral fuels, something he has done for other demonstration runs of classic F1 cars as part of his ‘race without trace’ initiative.

Mathias Lauda drove his father Niki’s Ferrari
“‘Race without trace’ is having the car filled with synthetic fuels rather than conventional fuel – so we had no extra oil that needed to get pumped out of the ground,” Vettel explained.

“As you could hear and see, the car is working and performing and we all had the same amount of fun, maybe even more fun. So it’s great to start telling a story with taking the responsibility as well and that’s what I would like to inspire to people.

“I’m not telling people what to do. I’m just showing that it can be done in a better way, in a good way. And we have to take steps towards the future – I have kids, I do care about them and I care about their future. So I think it’s up to all of us, small and big steps to take them collectively.”

Horner sure Aston Martin won’t sacrifice end of season for 2024

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says he does not expect rivals Aston Martin to accept a lower finishing position in 2023 to gain a benefit in wind tunnel and CFD testing time under F1’s Aerodynamic Testing Restriction.

Aston Martin dropped from third to fourth behind Ferrari in the standings after the Italian Grand Prix. Teams that finish lower in the championship gain more testing time that those who finish ahead.

Asked if he thinks Aston Martin and team owner Lawrence Stroll could settle for fourth for the benefit of extra test time, Horner said “I don’t think so.”

“I think everybody at this time of year is now fully focussed on next year’s car anyway,” he continued. “It’s quite a lot of money attached to that as well, so I’m not sure that would be in Lawrence’s game plan.”

Winning Indy 500 the “big goal” for Palou

Two-times IndyCar champion Alex Palou is targeting next season’s Indianapolis 500 race win as his next big goal.

Palou will remain with Ganassi next season after claiming his second IndyCar crown in three seasons. He says winning his first Indy 500 is his next target.

“That would be a big, big goal,” Palou said. “If we could get the Indy 500 next year, that would be already a really good year obviously.

“We just need to continue working like we’ve been doing. I think we have chances if we put ourselves again during the Indy 500 to be up there in the top four, top five for the last restarts, we’re going to be in a good place.”

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Social media

Notable posts from Twitter, Instagram and more:


All of the healthy mature established trees in front of Bellagio Las Vegas were chopped down so ticket holders can get a better view of the upcoming Formula One F1 race in November. They did this during the night and have tried to draw as little attention to it as possible, but a barren shadeless landscape is all that remains. #vegas #lasvegas #vegasstarfish #formula1 #f1vegas #formulaonevegas #bellagiolasvegas #bellagiofountain #vegasstrip #savethetrees #vegasscam #vegaslocal #vegastiktok

♬ Spooky music box bell horror BGM – Notzan ACT

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Comment of the day

With Fernando Alonso claiming that Red Bull are better than all their rivals in every area, Edvaldo struggles to disagree with him…

That’s the truth.

Red Bull has been the best managed team for quite some time, some good 10 or 12 years already.
They probably made some mistakes here and there that cost some wins (Monaco 2016 comes to mind) but compared to other teams, that’s nothing.

Coupled with one of the best cars ever produced and already one of the best drivers, that’s what we get.

Others have a lot of catch up to do.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Mark, Striay, Gex and Frieda!

On this day in motorsport

  • 30 years ago today an engine failure at Monza meant Alain Prost had to wait one more race to clinch his fourth championship, and handed Damon Hill a third consecutive victory

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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27 comments on “Classic F1 car runs “even more fun” using sustainable fuels – Vettel”

  1. Not a good look for F1 sustainability having all those trees cut down. Granted, it realistically and statistically likely makes very little difference in Las Vegas, but “perception is reality” and it’s going to warrant some answers.

    1. The status of some of those trees weren’t good (the non palm ones) if they remove those i have no problem with that BUT healthy palm trees is a other case.

      1. The status of some of those trees weren’t good (the non palm ones)

        Fun fact: ‘Palm trees’ aren’t trees.
        Probably family of the Killer Whales and F1 Racing ;)

      2. For what it’s worth they can move those large palm trees. A company was going around buying them up awhile back and my grandfather sold his giant palm trees to them. They came out and moved them and they probably ended up at these resorts in Vegas already fully grown.

  2. Ah yes, fighting with climate change by promoting a brand that encourages you to travel all around the world and pollute it. Sir Lewis Hamilton, everyone. Eat the rich.

    1. I wish they would actually say what these fuels are. Seems impossible to have a sustainable fuel that isn’t the sun. Must be using offsets or some garbage like that to call it sustainable.

  3. Mercedes are incorrect. The World Championship nomenclature is reserved for the KZ and Junior & Senior OK classes only. Technically Alex is Vice-World Cup Winner. Minor detail, but I guess Mercedes don’t care about wikipedia type stuff. They previously tweeted De Vries was the first Dutch World FIA Champion, and that was categorically wrong too.

    It is odd that Toto Wolff makes comments about karting being too expensive while Mercedes are putting F1 money into the gearbox categories. These categories have traditionally been sanctuary for those trying to avoid F1 money in the direct drive classes. It’s worth noting that Paulo Ippolito who won in KZ is older than Max Verstappen. Max kicked the trend off, but it was him, his dad and CRG. He wasn’t an ‘F1 Junior’. Despite what some may think F1’s presence within karting isn’t particularly welcome unless you’re a team owner who wants to make a quick fortune. I think going forward the FIA needs to make some decisions.

    Nothing against Alex’s success, but the FIA and F1 have make the direct drive classes horrifically unattractive and have really destroyed them. Partly bad technically decisions and partly F1 money making it exclusive. Karting isn’t F3 or F4, it isn’t a ‘ladder’ class, especially not the shifter categories. But now some fear the F1inificaiton of karting will infect those classes too.

    1. Alan Dove,
      Thanks for the insights you bring with regard to everything surrounding Karting !

  4. Sigh, Vettels argumentation is another false one and it’s sad and pathetic that this is the level of rhetoric they drop down to.
    There is literally no difference between the “fun” experienced of driving on sustainable or unsustainable fuel.
    And if you consider that the containerships and tankers that transport the sustainable fuel are significantly more polluting than the few toycars that drive on sustainable fuel. It would have been far less harmful to drive those F1 cars on the Nordschleife on fuel from guaranteed North Sea oil, than on sustainable fuel produced in South America.

    1. The fuel Vettel used was produced by German company P1 Racing Fuels in Belgium, just a few hundred kilometres from the Nordschleife. Their 100% fossil-free fuel reduces Well-to-Wheel (WtW) emissions by 71% compared to 100% fossil fuel (up to 92% are possible when using 100% renewable power). WtW emissions include everything that happens from gathering the raw materials to the burnt fuel exiting the tailpipe.

      1. Yet these fuels have similar emissions in the end. Apart from the circus to get an F1 car at a track and serviced (that’s all done by fairies and dwarfs that are carbon neutral in their travel of course). Vettel is stuck in a weird green washing loop.

        1. When the synthetic fuels are based on carbon capture, and its production ‘fuelled’ by wind or solar, then it is just as clean as Solar/Wind electricity.
          Actually, it is even cleaner* as the carbon is temporarily ‘withdrawn’ from the atmosphere.

          * for simplicity sake I leave out the impact of producing the Combustion vs Electric powertrain, and the transportation of the fuel/ions.

          1. The fuel still gets burned, it still emits CO2. Sure it was captured from already burned greenwash blabla. Its just an accounting scheme to fool people. Lets drive with normal fuel and plant a few trees… now i have a green hobby.. nope…

            Green would be towards fully electric charged with solar or something. Fully electric wouldn’t be as fun to drive as a V8 F1 from sound perspective.

            It all feels a bit hypocritical. Just drive it with the normal fuel and enjoy it. Whats the impact of a run like that..

          2. Its just an accounting scheme to fool people.

            Sorry @maxv, but you clearly misunderstand what synthetic fuel based on carbon capture is.

            (I simplified this a lot just to show the basic workings; esp. ignored impact of N2O).
            To produce ‘carbon capture synthetic fuel’ the carbon atoms in the fuel are taken from the air (carbon capture). When the fuel is burnt the same carbon atoms are ‘released’ back into the atmosphere as CO2. net-net there is no increase of CO2 (see note above), and no offsetting through plants/etc. as it is a single/simple cycle. This is not an accounting trick, but ‘reusing’ the same Carbon atoms.
            If the ‘carbon capture synthetic fuel’ is produced/transported using green energy, then the eventual burning of this fuel does not increase CO2 in the atmosphere. The upside is that as long as the fuel is produced and not burnt, there is an overall reduction!

            Solar/Wind don’t take CO2 from the atmosphere, nor do they add to it. Thus overall the same effect on the atmosphere as ‘carbon capture synthetic fuel’.

            Of course an even better solution is to produce the ‘carbon capture synthetic fuel’, ‘de-refine’ it into oil, and pump it back to where it originally came from. But I cannot see how that ever can become economically viable.
            But maybe some smart Einstein can one day use the atmospheric CO2 molecules, extract the Carbon, and produce light racecars from graphene from this.

          3. It causes pollution when you burn stuff. I’m more worried about breathing garbage than CO2 emissions.

      2. I don’t necessarily doubt you but after reading most of their white paper, I have questions about the figures. And in that same whitepaper, it says that F1 will be using the P1fuels in 2026.

  5. Alessandro Alunni Bravi: ”In Formula 1, we are at the pinnacle not only of motorsport, but also of technology, especially for the future of mobility. Since 2014, we’ve used the most efficient hybrid fuels in the world. Now we are using 10% bio fuel and soon our cars will run on 100% sustainable fuels.”

    Hybrid fuels?

    Anyway, there is only one area where F1 is at the pinnacle of technology; the MGU-H. And that is relatively useless outside of high performance competitive environments because the gains, while meaningful, are marginal in normal road use while requiring a very complex and expensive system to achieve. Even F1’s aerodynamics, while certainly clever, are very inefficient because the series thinks open wheels is the only way to have a proper F1 car.

    It’s no surprise to see F1 double down on fuel as a big selling point for the 2026 rules because there’s very little else that makes it interesting. And that’s fine – to a degree – because fuels obviously extremely important. What it’s not, however, is a particularly interesting topic for manufacturers to market their products on. It’ll be interesting to see how many of them stick around long term.

    1. Coventry Climax
      12th September 2023, 15:54

      MichaelN, allow me please:

      Anyway, there is only one area where F1 is at the pinnacle of technology; the MGU-H. And that is relatively useless outside of high performance competitive environments because the gains, while meaningful, are marginal in normal road use while requiring a very complex and expensive system to achieve.

      Given the fact that the maximum efficiency of a car running a combustion engine can not exceed 20 to 25%, (* see below), there’s an 80 to 75% of the input energy that’s lost, meaning not converted into motion. The majority of the loss is heat, and then there’s the vehicle’s air resistance.
      The MGU-H, which is scrapped again with the new rules, is about the only part that could have still been developed to reach higher efficiencies. Nope, not even batteries really qualify for that; their efficiency is already high, it’s their charging/discharging speed and capacity that are -relatively- low.

      So, the MGU-H is not ‘useless because of low gains’, it is still in it’s early stages of development, with the potential to achieve (much) higher efficiencies, higher gains, than it does now.
      Thanks to the FiA, it won’t reach these new levels of efficiency, at least not in F1.

      Those still saying F1 is the pinnacle of automotive technology should wake up from the lullaby fairy the FiA keeps singing.
      Same with respect to ‘road relevance’.

      Most efficient would be to not have the need to recover lost energy in the first place. That’s where the electro motor comes in: Theoretically; power in = power out, with an efficiency of about 99%, due to frictional losses.
      Saves a lot of weight for the recovery devices, starter motor, etc. too.
      Yes, electric drive is heavy (due to the batteries) but the comparison to combustion is unfair when it doesn’t factor in the levels of efficiency.

      Don’t get me wrong: I love the sound of a good V12.

      *) The theoretical, maximum achievable thermodynamic efficiency of the otto cycle (the engine type used in gasoline ICE’s) is around 40%.
      (Interesting discussion to back that up here:

      As energy can never get ‘lost’ but is only converted into another type (First Thermodynamic Law), the other 60% of the fuel’s energy is tranformed into heat. That’s due to the process itself (exhaust gasses, the vast majority of that 60%) as well as to friction of the pistons and the other, rotating, engine parts.

      For an entire car, there’s further efficiency losses due to (1, but no particular order) friction between tyres and road surface, which is needed in order to be able to drive and steer at all, instead of just uncontrollably slide, (2) friction within the tyres, due to deformation (to create the contact patch) as they roll, (3) further frictional losses in rotational parts such as wheel bearings, gearbox, driveshafts and differential, and (4) air resistance.
      Air resistance is proportional to the frontal area of the vehicle (the projected surface = the surface of the car in a 1:1 picture taken straight from the front) as well as the square of the vehicle’s speed. So in a graph, the relation between speed and air resistance is not linear, but parabolic. And then there’s also an air resistance coefficient (Cd or Cw for the dutch speaking), for the aerodynamic drag, determined by type (smoothness) and shape of the car’s surface. Obviously, the density of the air itself is a factor as well.

      1. An apt summary, and a good reminder why the current PU reaching 50% efficiency was touted as a big win by Mercedes a few years ago.

        So, the MGU-H is not ‘useless because of low gains’, it is still in it’s early stages of development, with the potential to achieve (much) higher efficiencies, higher gains, than it does now.

        Maybe, but it seems best suited to cases like racing where there are frequent applications of full power from the ICE, so a highly active turbo, a lot of heat, and an artificial limit on both the size of the on-board battery and on the output of the electric motor to make the gains worthwhile.

        While there may be applications where an MGU-H is useful, given the downward trend of EV prices (although margins are notoriously small) there doesn’t seem to be much incentive for manufacturers to bring to market highly complex, likely expensive, and probably maintenance intensive hybrids that work best with a pretty beefy ICE and turbo setup.

        1. Coventry Climax
          12th September 2023, 22:57

          The essence of efficiency for the combustion engine is not ‘there may be cases where’, but: ‘There is a big case for, under all circumstances’. That’s both in F1 and in daily global commution.
          But that, obviously, is when you wan’t to persevere with combustion engines, a route that F1 seems to have taken. Now that we have parallel initiatives like FE, the FiA needs to keep the rules sets separated, and that puts them in the awkward situation of having to lie about F1 being the pinnacle and the achievability of going fully green, while limiting development.
          I also said that efficiency wise, it would be best to start out with the highest efficiency available, which is the electric motor. Unless there’s a way to really create green fuel in abundance and without sacrificing other area’s regarding the environment, meaning it’s fully harmless to use that fuel to any extent you desire without impact -get the impossibility of that?-, it’s quite logical why the automotive industry, so global daily transport, goes for and should go for, electric. The hybrid stuff are just stopgap measures.

    2. Michael: “because the series thinks open wheels is the only way to have a proper F1 car”

      As a kid, I remember seeing an old photo of the Auto Union streamliner racing car, and it looked fantastic. I’ve never really understood why people think open-wheels represents the spirit of F1. To me, it is the single-seater open cockpit which is most important, so you can see there is a driver, an identity, and the machine is built around them. I think that is why there is less appeal for sports car classes, because they are just closed metal boxes, less about the human element, not really that much different to what you see on the road every day. I suppose the open wheels also help the F1 car look different and special, but I still feel it is the visibility of the driver which is the biggest factor.

  6. It always strikes me as a weird argument to make – that unless something or someone has a 0% environmental impact on the planet, then you’re not allowed to suggest any sort of reduction in environmental impact on the planet.

    1. Actions speak louder than words. I suspect his carbon footprint is bigger in 1 year than in my entire life. I’ve never been on an airplane and I also use public transport. People like me see hypocrites who aren’t doing what they say.

      Less pollution the better but to champion zero emissions on a racing vehicle while flying around the world.. It rubs me the wrong way.

      1. It kind of does rub the wrong way a bit.
        Seb is a likeable guy and I get that he’s kind of signed up to the environmental movement now so he has to say these things. I don’t have a problem with Seb per se, he’s not a bad guy. I rooted for him, especially at Ferrari. :)

        But I had to dump my car in 2020 when covid hit. Three years later and prices of decent second hand cars are now inflated beyond my reach. I don’t even want one anymore. So… as for cars… well, I would say my environmental footprint is very close to zero.

        Silver lining: no more road tax to pay. I’ll keep that money myself.

    2. Absolutely, there’s plenty to gain without expecting everyone to adopt extreme positions. Some people use more energy than others, and there are tons of reasons for this, many of them good and logical, some less so.

      There is no one single solution to all challenges. And like it or not, modern technology is not possible without energy. A lot of it.

  7. Race without Trace“, well I can’t argue with him on that (*cough*).

  8. If Mercedes hadn’t changed the rules, the world would be a better place.

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