Site logo

Brawn: Hydrogen a potential fuel for F1 moving forwards

NEWS STORY
16/07/2021

While admitting that F1 is unlikely to move away from hybrid power units in the short term, Ross Brawn says that hydrogen is being considered as a potential alternative fuel.

The pinnacle of motorsport is at a crossroads, for as more and more cities and countries impose bans on the internal combustion engine and more manufacturers switch to hybrid and electric vehicles, Formula One risks becoming an unwelcome dinosaur.

Unwilling - indeed legally unable - to go all-electric, the sport is considering its options, and having committed to be carbon neutral by 2030, Ross Brawn admits that a switch to hydrogen is one of the options being considered.

"Maybe hydrogen is the route that Formula 1 can have where we keep the noise, we keep the emotion but we move into a different solution," he tells the BBC.

With discussions already underway in terms of the next generation power unit, due to be introduced in 2025, Brawn rules out a move away from hybrid anytime soon.

"If you're lecturing to an empty chamber you're not getting any message across," says Brawn. "You have to engage the fans and the reason they come is they want to see great cars, great drivers doing battle.

"We have a one-and-a-half-hour race, we have 1,000 horsepower cars, we are the pinnacle of motorsport. You can't get that bang without fossil fuels," he adds.

Asked about all-electric, Brawn believes that it will be some time before electric race cars can deliver the power and performance that F1 demands.

"We don't want drivers looking at power conservation modes and trying to make the battery last long enough to get to the end of the race or saving the battery up so in the last five laps, they can really go for it. That doesn't seem to engage the fans," he insists.

However, he admits that there is increasing pressure on F1 to prove its commitment to sustainability rather than merely talking about it.

"We can't have a sport which is seen as a dinosaur and out of step. We will always be mindful of that," he says.

Many have argued that the emissions from the cars over race weekends are miniscule compared to those of the F1 'circus' moving around the world - something the powers that be have tried to address by reducing the number of team and media personnel allowed to travel to events.

Asked if the sport might consider less races, Brawn is adamant: "At the end of the day, we're a business," he responds. "We have to generate income to make this whole thing work, and, obviously, the more races we have, the more profitable it is."

Check out our Friday gallery from Silverstone, here.

LATEST NEWS

more news >

RELATED ARTICLES

LATEST IMAGES

galleries >

  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images
  • Pitpass.com latest F1/Formula 1 images

POST A COMMENT

or Register for a Pitpass ID to have your say

Please note that all posts are reactively moderated and must adhere to the site's posting rules and etiquette.

Post your comment

READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by ChickenFarmerF1, 16/07/2021 17:46

"If F1 wants a "green" fuel, they should champion the use of synthetic hydrocarbons. Why? It's actually "carbon neutral" but retains all the great aspects of ICE powertrains (noise, etc). You can use water and atmospheric CO2 to make various hydrocarbons via the Fischer-Tropsch method (yes, I know F-T uses CO not CO2, that's just 1 extra step to convert the CO2 to CO, and the source is usually coal or biomass, but no reason you can't capture CO2 from the air too). This was first done in 1925, so not like it's an unknown or even novel approach.

I agree with @flyinglap that "carbon neutrality" is a flawed concept. But it's the political reality we are living in now, and one can either fight it (and lose) or twist it to our advantage."

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by flyinglap, 16/07/2021 13:31

"The whole premise of "carbon neutrality" is flawed. Plants inhale CO2 and exhale oxygen; living beings inhale air (nitrogen and oxygen) and exhale CO2. More CO2 allows for more plant life on the planet and more plant life allows for more oxygen. When you limit CO2 you directly limit plant life and consequently you limit oxygen and therefore all life on the planet, which is "their" ultimate goal; depopulation, against both natural and moral law. "

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by MossMan, 16/07/2021 12:16

"Seeing as the Extreme-E circus is already out pushing the enevlope on all this and is successfully producing all its own energy stored as green hydrogen, then I see no barrier to the F1 world using green hydrogen as an alternative combustion engine fuel.

I agree with the comment that it's slightly perverse to use more energy creating hydrogen than just sticking it straight into the cars, but if it's net-zero then it doesn't really matter.

By the way, I saw no reason for ian_w, F1F@N and Bill Hopgood to have negative ratings on their - to my mind - entirely reasonable comments so I gave them all an up-tick back to neutral. To however downrated them - if people have a different opinion to you it doesn't make them "wrong", for goodness' sake!"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

4. Posted by kenji, 16/07/2021 11:39

"When this topic was discussed some time back I suggested that hydrogen enriched fuel could well be an acceptable alternative. Following up the research has been very interesting and I believe that it holds a great deal of promise. Ultimately it may be possible to combine a hydrogen generator into the actual F1 cars existing framework thereby solving the problem of compressed hydrogen tanks on board.It would also mean that we are spared the ignominy of having FE as an unwelcome replacement for our beloved F1. "

Rating: Positive (3)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

5. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 16/07/2021 11:18

"I used to think that hydrogen was the way to go however, taking an extra 30% more electricity than the end result (electricity) and in a form that is not easy to store and transport could mean that this idea doesn't float."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

6. Posted by F1F@N, 16/07/2021 10:46

"Isn't fuel, tyre and engine saving the same thing. I mean the whole reason Mercedes were dominating was because people nay not use more fuel than the guy in front. "

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

7. Posted by ian_w, 16/07/2021 9:59

"Brawn makes an odd point ..
"We don't want drivers looking at power conservation modes and trying to make the battery last long enough to get to the end of the race"

Ya, 'cos it's much more entertaining having drivers looking at tyre degradation and trying to make the tyres last long enough to get to the end of the race 🤔 !"

Rating: Positive (4)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

Share this page

X

Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2022. All rights reserved.

about us  |  advertise  |  contact  |  privacy & security  |  rss  |  terms