New F1 CEO and president Stefano Domenicali believes Formula 1 can prove hybrid technology still has a “great future”.
The series has been following a more sustainable path since the introduction of the V6 turbo-hybrid engines back in 2014, although recently Formula 1 have stepped up their push for a carbon-neutral future – fully sustainable biofuels are set to be the next major step.
This comes at at a time when the electric technology of Formula E is being pointed at as the future of the automotive industry, with even calls for a merger between both series.
But Domenicali is convinced hybrids have a “great future” when it comes to road relevancy.
“Sustainability can be seen on a CO2 dimension, or [with] a lot of other things related to it, but let’s focus on the emissions or technology,” he told Sky Sports F1.
“I think Formula 1 has a great future to showcase that there is not only electrification in the automotive world. I think hybridisation is a great path and will have a great future.
“Formula 1 has to use this to make sure the OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] will invest, in order to show there is this way of being sustainable in a different way.
“That is something I want to focus the attention of the teams and the OEMs on for the future, with a big attention on cost.
“The mistake that was done in the past was related to putting only technology at the head of the priority and not the cost.”
What Domenicali refers to is the unsustainable costs of the current power units, which are very much blocking any new manufacturers joining Mercedes, Ferrari, Renault and Honda, although Honda will be withdrawing from Formula 1 at the end of 2021.
2026 is the year when the next generation of engines are set to arrive, but there is a desire across the paddock to bring them forward to 2025.
And on top of bringing the costs of engines down, Domenicali also wants them to be centred around road relevancy, something which the current PUs are not.
“We have to make sure the hybrid technology that will be used has relevance for the road cars, but will also start from a very different investment and cost base,” he explained.
“It’s not possible that a power unit in Formula 1 can cost what it’s costing today. I think there is a big margin on that.
“One of the big objectives we have is that we’d like to involve teams and OEMs to try to anticipate the new engine even earlier than what is expected in the new regulations, and make sure these kinds of things will be part of the agenda. I’m sure we can do it.”