Formula 1 can look forward to a sustainable future in which new technology enables it to remain at the top of the sport even as engine technology becomes entirely electric, according to former world champion Nico Rosberg.
Rosberg, who retired after winning the Drivers’ Championship in 2016, has spent much of his time since then promoting the use of hybrid and electric cars in both motor racing and the wider car industry. This has included being involved in Formula E, events that involve all-electric vehicles. He has also founded the Greentech Festival to promote eco-friendly technologies.
Speaking to Reuters, he declared that the future of motor racing will be a sustainable one. He remarked that this could be achieved without Formula 1 and Formula E being rivals. “You’ve got Formula E being the pinnacle of electric motor racing and then I think you’ll have Formula One being the pinnacle of synthetic fuel motor racing,” he noted.
Expanding on this, Rosberg said: “Both are very exciting paths and both can have a very positive impact on our world. And then in terms of mobility for all of us in our everyday use, it’s going to be electric.”
None of this will remove the need for precision engineering in F1. But clearly the engineering challenges ahead for teams will focus on getting the maximum performance out of engines using very different energy sources to the past.
Once the sport was the preserve of unreconstructed petrol heads, but steps have already been taken to steer it in a green direction. The hybrid V6 turbo power units used now are just the start, with all cars set to run on 100 per cent sustainable fuels by 2025. By then, all Grand Prix events are designed to be sustainable and the aim is to reach net zero carbon by 2030.
The latter aim was adopted in November 2019, with the announcement noting that the position of the sector at the technological cutting edge “gives Formula 1 a global platform to accelerate progress and develop technologies that reduce and eliminate carbon emissions from the current internal combustion engine”.