Electric power can wait: F1 in no speedy rush to ditch conventional engines

The ginormous focus on electric power to propel vehicles across the world has been well established in recent times with car makers as well as several governments looking at modernizing mobility options to make these more sustainable and possibly better for the environment. The future of conventional cars with internal combustion engines therefore may be nearing an end every so gradually. But what about Formula One cars, machines that are at the absolute top of automotive engineering but also vehicles that guzzle fuel by barrel loads?

File photo of Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes F1 car during the Bahrain Grand Prix. (REUTERS)
File photo of Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes F1 car during the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The time to ditch conventional engines in F1 racing clearly isn't now.

F1 cars of today are far more fuel efficient than these have been in the past. The current batch of F1 cars make use of 1.6 litre V6 turbo hybrid power unit which are significantly superior to the V12 and V10 of times gone by. And with the stated objective of only making use of cars that run on 100% sustainable fuels from 2025, the signs are good.

But there's no denying that the racing machines are still gas guzzlers.

While there have been some calls to consider the possibility of switching to electric power, it is a call easier vocalized than engineered. The performance and speed expected in an F1 race may necessitate sticking to fossil fuels while the roar of the engine inside also forms a crucial part of the experience of soaking in a race.

Formula One wants to have a a net zero-carbon footprint by 2030 - an ambitious and possibly arduous task.

Purists argue that certain motorsports just cannot switch to electric power while others argue just how relevant F1 may be in a world fast embracing technology that is undeniably good for the environment.

There is no sign on even the most distant of horizons that F1 would ditch internal combustion engines. The alternatives, apart from alternative fuels, just don't cut it at the present moment. But with makers of iconic sports cars shifting focus to electric power for their road-ready offerings - something unexpected even a few years ago, never say never may be the buzzword in F1 racing too.

(With inputs from Reuters)

First Published Date: 14 Apr 2021, 09:58 AM IST
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