By 2030, it is predicted that there will be almost two billion cars on the road, with only 8% of these battery electric vehicles (BEVS). This means that other solutions are needed to reduce carbon emissions.
As part of F1’s plans to be Net Zero Carbon by 2030, the sport is pioneering a 100% sustainable fuel that can not only be used in F1 cars from 2026 but more importantly can be used by most road cars around the world. .
F1 Technical Director Pat Symonds leads the team focused on creating this game-changing fuel and has spent months doing extensive research to create the best quality product for 2026.
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“It’s a fascinating challenge,” says Symonds. “When I was first telling people about it, no one knew what I was talking about and to be honest, I’m not sure I really know, so I did a huge amount of research on it. We worked very closely with the FIA, who have some very good fuel specialists and we had a lot of help from our partner ARAMCO.
The fuel revolution has already begun, with the new generation of F1 cars running on ‘E10’ fuel – a blend of 90% gasoline and 10% renewable ethanol – this year. “The 10% ethanol we currently use is completely sustainable,” says Symonds. “There are many different types of ethanol, varying in quality, but this is true green ethanol – so fully sustainable.”
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The fuel that F1 will use in just over three years will be unique and created in the laboratory. “E-fuels offer a wonderful opportunity,” said Ross Brawn, F1 Managing Director, Motorsports. “We are working on an E-fuel where the carbon circle is completely neutral, so the carbon used to produce this fuel is the same amount as the carbon emitted by the internal combustion engine. This means the engines add nothing to the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
“The big appeal is that when we find this solution, you can use it in your road car, without making any modifications to the engine. We will have almost two billion internal combustion engines on the planet and whatever the solution whatever hydrogen solution we find, there will always be two billion cars, and there are parts of the world where those cars won’t go electric.
“If we drop a fuel that has far less impact on the environment in these cars, that’s a positive change and we’ll send a strong message that it’s an achievable path. All oil companies working in F1 It will be a fantastic achievement and a fantastic message to the world that there are other solutions too.
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Going from 10% renewable fuel in 2022 to 100% in a few years is ambitious, as it requires a rapid increase in the production of the product. But Symonds says F1 is on target.
“We have worked with ARAMCO and have now tested 39 fuel substitution blends,” says Symonds. “It helped us understand the effects of the different types of blends you can use in a sustainable fuel. We tested them in a single-cylinder Formula 1 engine, so these are representative tests – and I think that helped speed our progress.
He adds: “ARAMCO will produce fuel from two plants, one in Saudi Arabia and one in Spain. There will be a lot of people wanting to get the product out of it, but they, and the many other energy suppliers involved in Formula 1, are more than capable of producing what we need.”
For more than 70 years, F1 has been at the forefront of innovation, developing the most efficient engine and hybrid systems ever created. Now the sport is focused on helping to drive a green revolution for the entire planet.
“F1 has always pushed technology amazingly well and pioneered real technology that can be used in touring vehicles and road cars etc.,” says Brawn. “We have an incredibly efficient internal combustion engine.
“This concept that when you define the competition, if you define it with the right objectives – if the objective is the best sustainable fuel, then manufacturers will invest millions in development to try to achieve that and we will all get the benefits to the wider society.”