The International Automobile Federation (FIA) has approved new regulations making Formula 1 more accessible to new engine manufacturers, but also more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
The German manufacturer Audi (Volkswagen group) officially announced on August 26, 2022 its arrival in Formula 1 from 2026. The brand will race with an engine specially designed for the occasion and assembled in Neubourg-sur-le-Danube (Germany) under the direction of Adam Baker, former safety director at the FIA, now CEO of the Audi F1 Project.
Obviously, F1 is a fantastic showcase for committed manufacturers, attracting more than 1.5 billion viewers in 2021. More than recognition and media coverage, Audi considers that it is the competitive and innovative spirit that has made it pushed to engage in competition.
“Formula 1 is both a global stage for our brand and a hugely stimulating development laboratory.said Markus Duesmann, CEO of Audi AG. The combination of high performance and competition continues to drive innovation and technology transfer in our industry. With the new rules, it’s a good time for us to be involved. After all, both Formula 1 and Audi have clear sustainability goals.”
A step towards more virtuous motorization
The stated goal is to create synergies between Formula 1 and Audi’s research and development department, with the hope of seeing technologies developed in this sporting context arrive in the large series.
For some neophytes, the aspect linking sustainable development and Formula 1 will not necessarily create consensus, but in reality it is quite different. This is why the new regulations impose more concrete measures so that the manufacturers involved take more than one step towards more sustainable engines, before reaching the objective of carbon neutrality for F1 in 2030.
If the thermal engine remains a turbocharged V6 with 1.6 l displacement, it will have to use a new type of more sustainable fuel, allowing it to develop a power of between 350 kW and 400 kW (469/544 hp). The regulations are also more permissive towards the use of the electric motor, bringing its maximum power to 400 kW against 120 kW currently, a much larger share devoted to the electrification of the powertrain.
This new regulation reshuffles the cards and should allow Audi to compete with current players, while offering manufacturers a context conducive to the development of new technologies, while waiting to find them in mass production.