Formula 1 is trying to clean up its act and ensure its operations have a net-zero carbon footprint by 2030. An important part of the plan is to use 100 percent sustainable fuel in race cars, and the organization says it’s still on schedule to achieve that by 2026.
It’s currently developing a “drop-in” fully sustainable fuel for use in F1 cars — it claims most road cars would be able to use the fuel too. This season, F1 cars are using E10 fuel, which includes 10 percent ethanol that’s said to be fully renewable. While going from 10 percent renewable fuel to a fully sustainable version in just a few years is challenging, F1 leaders are confident they can reach that goal.
“We’re working on an E fuel where the carbon circle is completely neutral so the carbon utilized to produce that fuel is the same quantity as the carbon emitted from the internal combustion engine,” F1 managing director of motorsports Ross Brawn said in a statement. “It means that the engines do not add anything to the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.” Brawn noted that making the fuel available more broadly could help reduce emissions around the globe, especially in areas where switching to electric vehicles won’t be feasible for a long time.
F1’s chief technical officer Pat Symonds, who is leading the 100 percent sustainable fuel project, said the motorsport is still in good shape to meet the 2026 target. “We’ve been working with Aramco and have now tested 39 surrogate blends of fuels,” Symonds said. “This has helped us understand the effects of the different types of blends that you can use in a sustainable fuel. We’ve been testing those in a single cylinder Formula 1 power unit, so it’s representative testing — and I think that’s helped accelerate our progress.”