One wonderful thing about the world today is how we, as humans, for the most part, are making it our duty to look after what we currently have. A lot of this boils down to conserving our resources to ensure future generations can benefit as well. We are looking at things such as electric cars, reducing our meat consumption, and recycling. And certain major industries are playing their part too. If we look at Formula 1, there have been major discussions about incorporating electric cars into the sport. And if you bet on F1, you can rest assured that electric cars will change the landscape for the better. Let’s have a look at whether it’s possible to introduce electric F1 cars.
What’s happened in Formula E?
Before we look at F1, Formula E might offer some answers to what we want to know. In May this year, at the Monaco EPrix, the Gen3 Formula car was introduced to the world. This event was a historic moment and a big step toward a sustainable racing future. Additionally, the technology for electric cars is fast improving. And this is what Formula E is highly capable of and capitalizing on; they are rapidly catching up with F1 in this regard. Formula E Envision Racing Managing Director, Sylvain Filippi, says that by 2035, Formula 1 will have a major decision on its hands; to move over to electric cars entirely or become a specialized niche.
The commitment from F1
We know that there’s been a commitment from F1 in terms of a carbon-neutral future that will see engine regulations completely change by 2026. While this is a positive step in the right direction, it might not be at the same pace as the rest of the world. Major governments are quickly changing their regulations with a ban on internal combustion engines coming into the fold. This will essentially make it impossible for F1 to avoid going electric.
In a recent interview, former F1 driver Nico Rosberg who won an impressive 23 Grand Prix races, said: “They are going with synthetic fuels, which for mobility as such is not going to be the best solution.” He further added that synthetic fuels are more relevant for other sectors, such as planes, trucks, and container ships. Rosberg further stated that developing these synthetic fuels will benefit those sectors, which is great; however, it might not be enough for F1.
Electric power – the alternative fuel
Many racing and energy experts want to get in on F1’s alternative fuel strategy. And some even predict that electric vehicles will be much faster than the current ones – this we will still have to see. This was echoed by the co-founder and chairperson of the FIA’s all-electric Formula E world championship, Alejandro Agag. He believes that battery-enabled electric cars could see F1 cars perform much faster than they already are – and they are super fast currently. He has also envisioned how this could work. A motor at each wheel will increase speed, but these motors are still in development and are likely years away from production.
Will F1 make the switch?
This is a difficult one to answer, not because Formula 1 does not want to, but primarily due to the development of newer technologies and rolling them out. However, there is one challenge: Formula E has exclusive rights to race electric vehicles, as per the FIA. But this only lasts until 2039; then F1 can capitalize on this as well. But will the ship have sailed by then? We will need to wait and see.
But this isn’t all. While 2039 is a long time away, it does allow F1 teams to drill down and understand how it would work to install a battery pack to their cars and also to optimize them. During this time, teams can perfect their battery packs. It’s a lot to consider. Will the battery packs be able to withstand the sheer speed and the number of laps? These are only two considerations. But are they willing to do this? Current F1 boss Stefano Domenicali is not against the idea but recently shared his view to remain hybrid. He expressed that this was the decision taken and one they were going to stick with. Will things change in the future? Who knows? Let’s wait and see.