Will F1 eventually follow in the footsteps of Formula E?

The future of the automotive industry is electric vehicles. In a world that finds itself in a constant battle against global warming, the durability factor of these machines outweighs their cost. Even F1 is aiming to move to net zero carbon impact by 2030.


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Over the years, Formula 1 has taken significant steps towards minimizing its impact on the environment. In 2014, the sport introduced new advanced hybrid engines. These new power units used kinetic and thermal energy recovery systems to increase and boost the car’s power while simultaneously increasing efficiency and reducing carbon emissions.


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Still, some might argue that going hybrid isn’t enough of a step towards the pinnacle of motorsport. So can fully electric cars be an alternative option for the sport to continue in the future?

Will F1 ever go the Formula E route and go all-electric?

The electric vehicle landscape is changing rapidly as technology continues to evolve, and over the next few years, this will only be a bird’s-eye view. One of the biggest hurdles facing F1 is the exclusive right Formula E has with the FIA ​​to be the only electric-powered racing series. Thus, until 2039, Formula E is safe from facing any competition from F1.

Apart from this, there are many factors to be checked before installing the battery on the car. The essence of the F1 car is its lightness, which helps it find the lap time. In addition, the battery capacity is also a point to ponder. Current batteries cannot last a full race distance while delivering the performance that an F1 car can produce, i.e. speeds of up to 180 miles per hour.

Current F1 boss Stefano Domenicali has spoken out about electrifying the sport saying “We won’t, we have to stay hybrid. It’s a definitive decision we’ve made, and it’s also good for the automotive industry and OEMs, as it keeps our platform relevant for future road cars. We don’t have to think of electrification as a world religion.

In addition, current F1 engines are industry leading and set the benchmark. New regulations have pushed massively towards energy efficiency in recent years. The 2020 Mercedes engine had a thermal efficiency of over 50%, which means that more than half of the energy contained in the fuel was used to propel the car.

Formula One F1 – British Grand Prix – Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, Britain – July 3, 2022 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during the race REUTERS/Andrew Boyers

Comparing an F1 car to a normal road car that only achieves around 30% thermal efficiency helps to understand the progress of efficiency in the sport. In addition to that, the FIA ​​has pushed the bio-component ratio of the fuel by switching to an E10 fuel with the ultimate goal of using a 100% sustainable fuel in about 8 years.


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Another point of distinction for the F1 machine is the Energy Recovery System (ERS), which ensures the recovery of lost energy. The MGU-H component recovers thermal energy from the turbocharger of an F1 car. In addition, the MGU-K recovers lost kinetic energy from the braking system.

This focus on efficiency is an important part of the sport’s relevance. The limitation of fuel creates a quest to make the energy of it go further and further, causing breakthroughs that will benefit society at large.

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For the premier racing league to adapt to such changes, it must either compromise on the speed of the cars or the format of the race. However, this can lead to the sport losing its essence and potentially losing its distinguishing factor from the rest of the motorsport series, especially Formula E.

What is Formula-E?

Formula-E is a single-seater racing championship which, instead of having an internal combustion engine, uses an electric battery as the power unit. The idea was conceived in 2011 by former FIA President Jean Todt and Spanish businessman Alejandro Agag (current President). In 2020, the championship achieved FIA approved status and has been a popular achievement in the world of motorsport.

Electric car racing has a completely different set of rules and regulations. 11 grid teams with 2 cars and drivers representing their colors. The weekend format, qualifying format and circuits are very different from F1. Notably, the “fan boost” feature stands out, as it allows fans to vote for their favorite driver, who receives an overtaking boost over his rivals.

What future for Formula 1?


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Currently, the goal is to introduce a second-generation hybrid power unit by 2025. It will take a step towards carbon neutrality and feature advanced sustainable fuels.


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In 2026, the FIA ​​will introduce a massive rule change to the sport. The cars will feature completely new power units that will eliminate the MGU-H component.

Domenicali is excited about the future, he added “The 2025 power unit will be hybrid and will use 100% sustainable fuels, but we need to reduce the costs of the power unit and the platform so that it is affordable and less complex. This opens up huge potential for OEMs to use it in other applications on the road car side.

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