When will F1 abandon petrol?
23rd March 2011, 0:11 at 12:11 am #129072
As F1 is technically at the forefront of automotive technology, would we see, for example, a hydrogen powered F1 car in this half of the century?
Richard Hammond noted that motorsport is the best way of improving things, and we are certainly moving towards using less fuel.
When will we abandon it altogether?23rd March 2011, 0:42 at 12:42 am #164139
not sure when we’ll abandon it..
but step 1 is: E85.. which V8Supercars is already running23rd March 2011, 3:23 at 3:23 am #164140
F1 is the perfect proving ground for designing and developing engines that run on fuels other than petrol. The problem is encouraging them to develop it in the first place.
All that needs to happen is the rules need to be changed to allow open configuration for engines running on fuels containing no fossil fuels or fossil fuel products. Those who chose to run petrol will still be able to run the standard engine, but the big teams might have a crack at something extraordinary because they could reap the rewards.
Manufacturers of road cars can’t really experiment much with new products because they have to be marketable. Who’ll buy a car based entirely on an infant technology that is liable to break down all the time. The reason why hybrids are so popular is that they still have a petrol engine as an insurance policy. Purely electric cars are only now becoming somewhat mainstream, even though the technology and the idea are pretty old.23rd March 2011, 6:49 at 6:49 am #164141
In the 1920’s, there were as many cars on the roads running with steam engines than petrol engines. Then Big Oil and Henry Ford made sure to take them out of the market. Electric engines have a lot of drawbacks (acid and other chemicals in batteries and the hidden environmental costs of producing electricity in the first place). The most serious go at a steam engine(after Saab and VW in the 70’s and the 80’s was the British Steam Car Challenge. Bring back steam !!!23rd March 2011, 7:45 at 7:45 am #164142
The only problem with hydrogen is think all the water vapour coming out of the back! Hang on, Bernie wants sprinklers…maybe this could keep everyone happy!
I don’t see F1 giving it up and it shouldn’t have to. It would be nice to have supplementary hydrogen engines to research the technology, but I wouldn’t like to see them go the whole hog.
Anyway, F1 is going to be in cost-saving mode for a long while, so I don’t see it happening.23rd March 2011, 13:36 at 1:36 pm #164143
It will happen, one day.
As far as green credentials go, it’s a well stated fact that the cars themselves contribute an almost insignifcant amount to the carbon foot-print of F1. I agree though that those in motorsport are in the best position to exploit the technology.23rd March 2011, 13:52 at 1:52 pm #164144
To be honest, I only see Formula 1 abandoning petrol when the reserves we have run out or the political/social pressure becomes to high.
On what F1 will use afterwards: I honestly doubt we will see anything else but electric engines in the future of our sport (which doubles the irony of people complaining about possible lack of “good sound” with the turbo engines for 2013 since electric engines are very quiet even at high performance). Although I honestly hope that F1 will rather turn to algae fuel.23rd March 2011, 14:09 at 2:09 pm #164145
I think we can all agree that rather than motor racing being a barrier to environmental development, they will be an important part of that development. As it stands, eco-friendly technologies like Hydrogen powering electric motors (which appears to be the best long term replacement for the Internal Combustion Engine) are not efficient or versatile enough. I think the day Ferrari starts looking into a hydro-power super-motor will be the start of the end of the ICE, because the biggest advantage ICE has objectively in the future is high performance, when that goes, ICE has nothing left for it other than nostalgia.23rd March 2011, 14:09 at 2:09 pm #164146
“Here comes Hamilton for his pitstop… Refuelling will take approximately 12 hours. So we’re back after the commercial break!”23rd March 2011, 15:34 at 3:34 pm #164147
@dennis That’s not necessarily the case if you use fuel cells.
Anyway, the move towards such sources does not necessarily have to be because of the impact of F1 on environment (since that’s minuscule anyway. Cows’ farts are far more damaging)
Rather, through competition, the rate of technological development multiplies, just as the technological advances during wars.
Though not strictly relevant to this topic, I personally think it’s a shame that FIA banned Rotary-Wankel engines. Such technological innovation should be encouraged, not banned for the sake of competition.
The cool thing about hydrogen is that while many of hydrogen powered cars use fuel cell technology to power electric motors, hydrogen can also be used, with very little modification, on conventional internal combustion engines. The only problem of hydrogen is storage. You need a tank with insane pressure to have usable range.23rd March 2011, 15:48 at 3:48 pm #164148
Actually it is cow burps which are more damaging!
Sorry, just thought I’d drop that in there!23rd March 2011, 15:51 at 3:51 pm #164149
Personally, I would love to see some new development wars and I think this has great potential to provide it. Hell, they really ought to allow more with even just KERS and let the innovators reap the rewards to pushing the boundaries of the technology. Teams that can stretch fuel farther with hybrid engines and the like will need to start races with less fuel on board. Less fuel means less weight at the start and less change in car handling from start to finish. That in itself could be a tremendous advantage.
I know that I, too, will miss the sound of ICE’s when they get replaced someday (and it will come), but I’d rather the sport be able to continue than hinge on whether or not we have the fossil fuels to provide.23rd March 2011, 18:10 at 6:10 pm #164150
Electric will be in the next 20 years.
One charge should last a race.
Goes hand in hand with KERS.
I think, given development, it would be perfect for F1 if they can make the racing fast.
It’s probably more economical to use fossil fuels in power stations to charge the F1 batteries than an F1 engine using the same fossil fuels!23rd March 2011, 20:55 at 8:55 pm #164151
If the FIA leave the regulation on the ICE but allow any outer power source to be used unregulated then in a few years teams will be running higher BHP non-ICE’s that can either be very quickly refiled/charged or can last an entire race. Give teams like Mclaren and Ferrari a possibility to go faster and they will go faster and develop the tech very quickly.24th March 2011, 7:07 at 7:07 am #164152
I think F1 will not abandon petrol any time soon, but as Joey-Poey and others write here, I think the engineers in F1 could do a lot to bring forward real innovative use of the engergies available.
With KERS they already did quite some work to get light and high capacity batteries. Unfortunately they still get replaced after only 1 race weekend.
Allow Wankel engines, petrol, hydrogen, electrical, diesel and let the engineers play around to get the best mix of power source and transmission to get it on track. Sounds great. Engery imput would have to be maxed, probably using total MW available in the race or something, but that is just about the rule making.
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