Vettel: 1922 car race shows F1 is ‘so slow’ on fuel technology
Sebastian Vettel questions why Formula 1 is ‘so slow’ to switch to fully sustainable fuels after driving a 1922 Aston Martin grand prix car using ‘zero CO2’ fuel.
F1 has a 10% increase in ethanol fueling this season before switching to 100% sustainable fuels in 2026 when the next generation of V6 turbo-hybrids will be introduced.
Four-time world champion Vettel, who is increasingly vocal about environmental issues, has begun to wonder why F1 can’t switch to such fuels sooner.
Vettel drove Nigel Mansell’s 1992 Williams-Renault during a demonstration at the British Grand Prix earlier this month using fuel from a company called P1 which does not add CO2 to the environment.
The same company supplied the fuel for Vettel to drive in Aston Martin’s first-ever grand prix car in France on Thursday, a time organized to celebrate the car’s 100th anniversary of Aston Martin’s grand prix debut.
Vettel, who is an avid fan of F1 history, said it was a “fun” experience and “it would be nice to go back in time and race at a time when so much had to be done in terms of coordination with your hands”. and with your feet.
But like the demonstration in the Mansell Williams he owns, Vettel believes it was important to use this to send a message about fuel technology.
“It was great to have the same company helping us a lot in service with Nigel’s car, with the Williams, to supply the fuel,” said Vettel, a three-time Grand Prix winner and Sky Sports pundit. F1 Johnny Herbert accompany him for the ride.
“And this time we had even less time to prepare, but it shows that it can be done or that it is ready.
“So you kind of wonder, why in Formula 1, why are we so slow?
“If we still claim to be the best at everything and are more than four years behind modern technology.”
IndyCar and its controlling fuel supplier Shell are working on a “100% renewable” fuel for 2023, which will be a “second-generation ethanol derived from sugar cane waste and other biofuels” that will be used by production engine manufacturers two Chevrolets and Hondas.
F1 has several companies involved in fuel supply and four engine manufacturers, as well as a more complex hybrid power unit.
He believes 2026 is a more realistic timeframe for his own switch to new fuels given the desire, in the words of F1 technical director Pat Symonds, to “do it right”.
This will allow time for oil companies to develop the hydrocarbon molecules needed to be truly sustainable, taking into account the entire supply chain.
This includes building production capabilities, including the technology used to obtain materials for fuel – for example, carbon capture.
Vettel thinks F1’s complex turbo-hybrid engines have little relevance and benefit to the rest of the world, but thinks the fuels can have a bigger impact.
He paid €5.95 a liter for the fuel used in the Williams demonstration, but believes the price can be greatly reduced with decentralized production and better technology.
But he is wary of F1 stakeholders considering what he is pushing for and has joked that social media will have to take over as the voice of reason when he finally leaves F1.
“There are still a lot of problems in this world and money and politics still keep us from doing what often makes sense,” Vettel said.
“Formula 1 is no different.”
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