There's a new Formula 1 race car in town. The 2022 regulations are fast approaching and we had our first look at the new car Thursday. However, during the presentation, we learned a little more about the motorsport's path to sustainability. According to F1's Chief Technical Officer Pat Symonds, the organization aims to introduce sustainable fuel for its race cars come the middle of this decade. The goal is to provide an alternative to fossil fuels into the 2030s.
Today, F1 cars must run a 5.75% blend of biofuel, and the 2022 car ups the requirement to a 10% ethanol blend called E10. This E10 must be a "second-generation" biofuel, meaning it's made from food waste and other biomass rather than crops grown for the purpose of making fuel.
By 2030, F1 wants "third-generation" biofuels in the cars and has no plans to convert into a fully electric motorsport. Instead, synthetic fuel will work to power the internal-combustion engines, which will presumably still feature some sort of hybrid component as they do now. These engines are already the most efficient units on the planet, with 50% thermal efficiency. In other words, 50% of the energy in the fuel is actually used to propel the car, rather than wasted as heat or noise. Pairing sustainable fuel to these engines is a dream come true for the sport.
F1 continues to work with its partner Aramco to study synthetic fuels, though we know there's another big name invested in this type of fuel, too: Porsche. The German marque is already running its "e-fuel" in race cars after partnering with ExxonMobil to create the synthetic gas. Perhaps there's further room for cooperation as F1 routes a path to greater sustainability in motorsport.