This week I bring you what the author of a study of F1 and sustainable practices has termed the “Drive to Sustain”. It is all part of the new era of sustainable motorsport.
You will also find out about Mercedes F1 and their emissions reductions over the 2023 European F1 season, details on the battery fire at Formula E testing and an off-road cross-country rally car built with unique natural fibre composite bodywork.
All this and much more in this week’s edition of the Sustainable Motorsport Roundup on Motorsport Prospects. Your source for sustainable high performance motorsport news.
Sustainable Motorsport News
The Mercedes Formula One team achieved a 67 per cent emissions reduction during the European leg of this season according to BlackBook Motorsport. Their fleet of trucks traveled 386,000km using HVO100 biofuel, while 35% of team generator fuel used same biofuel.
Toto Wolff, team principal and chief executive of the Mercedes Formula One team, said: “We are a team of innovators and have an ambition to be the world’s most sustainable sports team. Results like this show we are on the right track to achieving that milestone with sustainable fuels central to the team’s strategy to achieve Net Zero. This was a very complex project, and we extend our thanks to our title and technical partner Petronas, and our logistical partners, who have worked so hard to deliver the results of this challenging yet rewarding project.”
The battery fire in the WAE garage during last week’s Formula E testing session was of concern to many as it was an unwelcome disruption to testing but the FIA have come out with further background on the fire.
“The investigations and findings provided by the single-supplier of batteries for Formula E cars, and reviewed by the FIA confirm that use of the battery packs in line with the single-supplier’s recommendations and requirements are within acceptable safety tolerances for a motorsport environment and therefore acceptable for on-track activity to go ahead.”
For his part, Lucas di Grassi has praised the investigation carried out by the FIA following the fire and says he “felt 100% safe” once running resumed.
“Beyond the adrenaline-fueled excitement and high-speed action, Formula 1 has been making strides in embracing sustainability and reducing its carbon footprint. This article explores the parallel between Formula 1 strategy and business strategy, with a particular focus on ESG developments and the importance of sustainability.”
This article is a companion piece to her article Key common elements between business and Formula 1 strategy – what can we learn from F1 races? Both are well worth the time to read.
Don’t forget to have a look at my monthly Getting to the Track Sustainably column that was published last week. Highlights this month include the Polestar Synergy concept which looks like a cool Hot Wheels car you may have had as a kid, taking the Rimac Nevera for a test drive and a wild electric air taxi.
Sustainable Motorsport Tech
Team Würth TRD Hilux MSB Tras 135 has successfully completed the 2023 Asia Cross Country Rally (AXCR). The Toyota Hilux, piloted by Mr. Masanao Nitta and his co-driver, Mr. Satanako, and clad in a unique natural fibre composite bodywork, crossed the finish line in Laos in 10th place overall.
After the race, driver & Tras CEO Masanao Nitta commented: “It was an extremely hard-fought race to get into the top ten of the AXCR. But we did it! The more sustainable natural fibre parts go well together with the beautiful natural environment of a cross country rally. The increased damping properties of the material ensured minimal damage to vehicle and environment during the many impacts in the rough terrain and on narrow paths between trees and rocks.”
Audi Sport shines the spotlight on their electrified race cars in “e-tron on track”.
Audi won three times in succession with the R18 e-tron quattro hybrid sports car at Le Mans from 2012 to 2014. In total, Audi even wrote its name into the list of winners of the world’s most important endurance race 13 times. “The R18 was a strongly driver-oriented, very aggressive car. You always got good feedback up to the limit,” Tom Kristensen recalls. “It was the most complex car I’ve ever driven.”
At “e-tron on track,” the LMP1 race car came back to life. Of course, as a nine-time winner and thus the most successful participant from 100 years of Le Mans history, Kristensen explained his former race car to the most successful Dakar participant Stéphane Peterhansel. “For me as a Frenchman, a race as rich in history as the Le Mans 24 Hours is something very special. Formula 1, Le Mans and Dakar are monuments of motorsport. That’s why it was clear that I’d choose the R18 today,” said the 14-time Dakar winner. His drive in Neuburg was an awakening for the 58-year-old desert expert: “An amazing car. Everything is incredibly direct and precise. For me, of course, circuit racing is unfamiliar. But it was enormous fun. And the concept shows that the electric drive pays off: You can clearly feel how the hybrid drive additionally accelerates the car.”Audi Sport’s ultimate meeting of electrified prototypes: “e-tron on track”
Race Engine Technology Magazine takes a look at the technology behind two sustainable motorsport powertrains, the MissionH24 hydrogen fuel cell and the HySE Dakar I4 supercharged.
The new MissionH24 Prototype will use a Symbio hydrogen cell system exploiting what is described by the ACO as “next-gen multi-stack technology. The maximum net power output will be 300 kW. By way of comparison, we estimate that the power density will be 50% greater than the system used on the H24. This latest generation offers high efficiency which has a significant impact on the volume and weight of the onboard storage system.”
The HySE-X1 buggy uses an established chassis built by Overdrive Racing in Belgium, which has a modified layout to accommodate a hydrogen fuel tank and fuel supply system. Powering it is the hydrogen-fuelled motorcycle engine that HySE is currently using in its research activities. This is a liquid cooled, supercharged I4 four stroke with four valves per cylinder and a displacement of 998 cc. It powers a vehicle that will weigh in at around 1500 kg.
Julia Pallé explains to CSO Futures that she wants electric motorsport championship Formula E to be a sandbox for large players to innovate at a “relatively small scale” before rolling out sustainable solutions to a broader audience – and she says that it’s already happening.
Pallé says that her remit involves working towards four primary objectives: ensuring the next generation of Formula E race cars remain at the forefront of sustainability standards, reducing the environmental impact of championship events (it was the first motorsport racing series to achieve ISO 2201 certification for sustainable events), generating a positive impact on host communities, and advancing gender equality in the very “male-dominated world” of motorsports.
“They’re probably all sports enthusiasts, but you have only a portion that is really into motorsport people. The rest are either tech-focused, curious about the technology around electric vehicles, or families focused on climate change. And you also have an interesting segment that is quite female-dominated and quite young, under 30. And those very much care about the potential social impact that the championship can create: they are inspired by our social mission,” she says.
Mercedes may be involved in Formula E in some capacity again in time for the 2025 season via the manufacturer’s engine division according to The Race. “The Race has learned that Mahindra has held talks with the Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains division based in the UK, about a potential technical collaboration.”
The Ace Championship has been rebranded as Formula G.
“Formula G is a global all-electric motorsports series that will race as a support series, using the world’s first dual powered race car. Formula G’s inaugural season, commencing in late 2024, will feature independent championships in four regions, each with 10 team franchises. By using Formula G’s revolutionary open-wheel all-electric race car with the unique technical ability to be raced at reduced power by one driver, and then at full power by a more experienced driver, each race event will see 40 drivers on track, 20 competing in the reduced-power race “F-G2”, and 20 professional drivers competing in the full powered “F-G1 Championship”. As the only professional motorsports series capable of delivering a completely turnkey “green racing” solution to all existing formats of the sport, running as a support series on the same tracks, and at the same weekends as existing combustion engine, alternative fuel, and all-electric powered racing events, Formula G is poised to bring affordable, accessible, exciting, and competitive green energy open wheel racing to motorsports fans around the world.”