Formula 1 has always been a series that pollutes the environment. There are a lot of contributing factors, such as the cars, which run on high-octane fuel. The logistics of Formula 1 are also detrimental to the environment as 10 teams carry their motorhomes throughout the world. To be more environmentally friendly, Formula 1 announced a plan for the sport to produce "net zero" carbon emissions by 2030, a bold target.
Formula 1's chief technical officer, Pat Symonds, addressed these concerns in an interview with Racefans.net. Speaking about the new regulations, Symonds mentioned that his aim is for Formula 1 cars to retain their speed and performance while containing the excessive use of synthetic fuels. According to him, the sport needs to introduce "active aerodynamics" to achieve this.
According to Symonds, drag is one of the primary reasons for the high fuel consumption on Formula 1 cars:
“You don’t have to be an engineer to realise that one of the reasons we use quite a lot of fuel on these cars is because they’re high-drag. “So the first thing you’ve got to do – apart from the fact you’re moving into much more hybridisation, a lot more like electrification on the car – you’ve got to get some drag out of it."
“So there will certainly be some drag reduction. But with that drag reduction comes a downforce reduction so then you can’t go around the corners so fast. So that leads you to say that you’ve really got to have active aerodynamics on the car.”
Same performance with lower fuel consumption is the goal for Formula 1
Symonds hopes that this reduction in downforce won't result in the cars going slower than before. His ultimate aim is to have the same kind of racing, but with a lower percentage of fuel being used:
“When I set out what we want to do with this car I said, if you go right to the top level, I want the same performance from the car and I want to use two-thirds of the fuel."
Apart from reducing fuel consumption and downforce, Symonds hopes to reduce the minimum weight of the cars. In 2021, teams must have a car heavier than 749 kgs. This is a 3 kg increase to the minimum weight from last year. According to Symonds, the car's weight can be further reduced by 75 kgs in 2025, if Formula 1 starts using synthetic fuels instead of crude oil fuels.
The future looks bright for Formula 1. The ideas suggested by Symonds are bold and will require a lot of research from teams to adjust to. However, the sport's push towards being more environmentally friendly is a good cause, and teams must accommodate any new rules designed to curb harmful environmental practices.