Can F1 cars be operated electrically?

Is Formula 1 going off with active aerodynamics?

Formula 1 is working on its future. The focus is on maximum efficiency and environmental friendliness - when it comes to gasoline, engines and aerodynamics.

The 2020s will be a decade of upheaval for Formula 1. The future of Formula 1 should combine the fastest and most powerful racing cars with sustainability, climate protection and maximum efficiency. Hard work is being done behind the scenes on this.

Formula 1 boss Stefano Domenicali revealed his vision of the Formula 1 future in an interview with “First and foremost, it is a sport that entertains the fans, the teams a sustainable platform and the drivers the To offer an opportunity to show their heroic abilities. At the same time, we also want to offer manufacturers the opportunity to further develop their technology for the road like in a laboratory and to present it to the world. "

Step one has already been initiated. Formula 1 should be more entertaining for fans. In 2021, a fairer distribution of money and a budget cap of (exceptions such as driver salaries excluded) 145 million US dollars will apply for the first time. The limit should even be lowered to $ 135 million by 2023. With this, the Formula 1 leadership hopes that the field will move closer together.

The future of Formula 1 began in 2021

In a second step, completely new vehicles will debut in 2022 - with the aim of making overtaking easier, improving the show for the fans, but also increasing the demands on the drivers. The cars will probably be a little more than three seconds slower than in 2021, but then they also have less aerodynamic downforce. So they are no longer like they are on rails - which means that the drivers have to fight more and show their vehicle control.

But the decisive and third step will come in 2025: Then everything in Formula 1 will be trimmed for sustainability, climate friendliness and maximum efficiency. This affects the engine as well as the fuel and beyond that also the aerodynamics.

It is still unclear exactly where the engine is going. The architecture of the internal combustion engine will probably remain at 1.6 liters displacement, six cylinders and a turbocharger. However, the share of electrical energy is to be increased significantly. The electric power, the energy of which is recovered through recovery systems in the exhaust system and the brakes, should increase from 163 hp and thus significantly less than 20% of the total output to around 50%.

More electric horsepower in 2025

Formula 1 chief technology officer Gilles Simon told “We want to upgrade the electrical part. Probably up to 50 percent. That is the goal - and much more than it is today. What we also know: The new combustion engine has to be even more efficient than the current one - also because of the sustainable fuel. We believe that we can find another ten percent there. And our goal is also to control emissions. So we want to introduce engines with very clean combustion that are far removed from what we have known so far. "


It is also conceivable that energy recovery will not only be allowed on the rear axle, but also on the front axle.

At the same time, these hybrid engines will then run on biofuels. Which way Formula 1 will go is unclear. It probably boils down to synthetic eFuels. The premier class of motorsport is already researching appropriate processes for chemical fuel production, in which the carbon dioxide is filtered out of the air.

Active aerodynamics planned from 2025

But now Formula 1 technology advisor Pat Symonds reveals that aerodynamics should also become more efficient in 2025. That could happen through active aerodynamics. The principle is similar to that of the DRS sash: the sash is closed in the curves and thus generates more contact pressure. On the straight, however, it can be unfolded, which reduces air resistance and enables higher top speeds to be achieved. So far, DRS has only been used as an overtaking aid, but such systems could be generally and always permitted for all drivers in 2025. An active wheel suspension, as in the early 1990s, which can change the vehicle height, is also conceivable.

But: the weight remains inefficient. Formula 1 cars are already heavier than ever at 752 kilograms. For comparison: Michael Schumacher made his debut 30 years ago in a Jordan-Ford weighing just 505 kilos. The new cars in 2022 will even weigh 768 kilos. In 2025, cars are likely to grow a little more.

“Everyone knows that electric and hybrid cars are heavier. I'm a bit ashamed of the current weight of Formula 1 cars, and I'm afraid that in 2025, when we will have active aerodynamics, they will have a lot more electrical power on the cars and, unfortunately, not lose much weight in the internal combustion engine, even heavier are. We'll have a little less fuel on board, so we're saving a little weight at the start of the race, but nothing is free, ”says Symonds.

But apart from that, the traffic lights and signs of the Formula 1 future are green.