Formula 1 vs Formula E – racing towards change?
While the race to net-zero and the ‘all-electric’ future continues to be a focal point of the automotive industry, will this ‘green future’ extend to the world of Formula 1?
Back in November 2019, F1’s CTO announced not only that F1 cars would no longer be powered by fossil fuels by 2025, but also that the sport would be carbon-neutral by 2030. This was a drastic move from a sport associated with a negative contribution to the environment, and this dedication to developing new technologies to support sustainability will inevitably lead to new innovative solutions and technologies in the coming years with tight deadlines looming.
Meanwhile more sustainable racing can be found in Formula E – conceived over a decade ago and consisting of entirely electric cars – this sport balances the thrill of racing with the sustainability of electric vehicles. With Formula 1’s dedication to a greener future, will Formula E become obsolete over time? Or will it grow to rival Formula 1?
The FIA boss thinks not. In an interview with the BBC back in December last year, Jean Todt explained that utilising electric cars in Formula 1 as we know it is “not possible”. Despite the huge technological leaps in Formula E over the last eight seasons (with racers progressing from switching cars halfway through races to completing the full race on one charge), Jean Todt maintains that it will be a long while before FE can reach the heights, speeds and durability of current F1 hybrids.
Following in the footsteps laid by Formula E and the general ‘electrification’ of the industry, Formula 1 cars have utilised hybrid engines since 2014. This change has resulted in 1/3 less fuel used, and the V6 engines being provenly as powerful as the previous V8 and V10s due to the energy recovery systems. Despite this, it is evident that Formula 1 will not be catching up on the all-electric FE cars any time soon, and will likely be utilising another hybrid engine in 2025.
Ultimately, Formula E is not intended to rival F1, although many new technologies are first tested in FE before being utilised by the public. The developments in Formula E effectively accelerate the move towards zero emissions across the automotive sector and is a source of constant technological innovation, but the two sports will remain very much separate for the years to come.
What do you think of F1’s dedication to ‘going green’? Let us know in the comments.
Written by Charlie Taylor, Advanced Engineering