Red Bull: Change to E10 fuel ‘cost almost nothing’ to performance

Sam Cooper
Red Bull's Max Verstappen leads Ferrari's Charles Leclerc at the Austrian Grand Prix. Spielberg, July 2022.

Red Bull's Max Verstappen leads Ferrari's Charles Leclerc at the Austrian Grand Prix. Spielberg, July 2022.

Helmut Marko has said the change to E10 fuel for the 2022 season has “cost almost nothing” to Red Bull in terms of performance.

F1 announced in 2021 that the sport would be switching to a new fuel comprising of 10% ethanol and 90% fossil fuels in a bid to continue its path to a greener sport.

This change entered the season at the same time as the mass overhaul in regulations for 2022 and beyond and is designed to help develop a 100% sustainable fuel.

Even before the season had begun, this change was predicted to have a massive impact on the sport and the way the engine suppliers build the power units. Mercedes’ powertrains managing director Hywel Thomas said it was the largest change since 2014’s move to more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly 1.6 litre V6 turbo engines.

“The change this year to go to the E10 [fuel] is probably the largest regulation change we have had since 2014,” Thomas told “So, it was a sizeable undertaking to make sure that we really developed that fuel and… shouldn’t be underestimated how much work that took.

“With the new fuel, the freeze to the performance of the PU over the course of the season and the whole new car, the whole new aerodynamics and fitting the PU within it, there is a huge challenge for everyone involved, especially the team up in HPP (High Performance Powertrains).”

While Mercedes’ problems this season will not have been solely down to the fuel type, one team who experienced no drop in performance was Red Bull. Special advisor Marko said that Honda, who vowed to supply Red Bull’s power units for this season despite stating they would leave the sport in 2021, had lost “almost nothing” in terms of performance.

Marko was asked by how much of the change from speed in corners to top speed was Red Bull and how much was Red Bull.

“The vehicle concept comes from [Adrian] Newey, who has created a car that produces a lot of downforce with little air resistance. That’s one thing.”

“The other thing is that Honda has evolved and the switch to E10 petrol hardly cost any power. It’s the combination of both. Now it’s just a completely different approach. In previous years we were mostly the slowest on the straights. Now we’re the fastest. That’s nice. And in the corners we don’t lose nearly what we gain in the straights.”