Formula 1 is developing the zero emission fuel alongside its 2026 powertrain update.
Formula 1 has now confirmed that it’s in development of 100 percent sustainable fuels that will be used from 2026 in pursuit of its net zero carbon emission goal by 2030.
The new fuels will be developed in collaboration between F1, the FIA and current race fuel supplier Aramco, with the intention of adapting the same fuel for road car use in the future. This will coincide with new powertrain regulations due to come into force that will see the Volkswagen Group get back into the sport.
Much like Porsche’s commitment to the development and manufacturing of e-Fuels for use in its own competition series’, F1 will take a similar approach with Aramco to create a more carbon-friendly fuel ecosystem for both the racing cars themselves and logistics required.
These fuels will be manufactured with techniques that incorporate carbon capture, municipal waste or biomass methods in their production, offsetting some the carbon emitted when burnt inside an F1 power unit. F1 estimates this will reduce emissions by up to 65 percent, with other carbon offset projects making up the rest of Formula 1’s net zero 2030 target.
The fuel will be ‘drop-in’, meaning that engines require no specific modifications in order to be compatible, while also matching the energy density of today’s high-octane racing fuels.
The FIA governing body’s in-house research team has already developed a carbon-neutral biofuel that meets the F1 engine specifications. The first barrels were sent to engine suppliers for initial development and testing in 2020, but the job now is creating scale, which will cover usage across F1 and eventually the logistics that go with it.
While there is a long way to go in making F1 more eco-friendly, these steps towards leading sustainable fuels will have lead-on effects to other parts of the carbon economy that are not compatible with zero emission targets such as airline travel and large-scale haulage. This technical lead being taken by F1 will therefore not just reduce the emissions from F1, but also set a precedent for the development of this technology, and help define a commercial platform for the future of sustainable fuels.