The Volkswagen Group’s interest in entering Formula 1 with the Audi and Porsche brands is in part due to the sustainability focus within the sport as it looks to the future, according to F1’s managing director of motorsports Ross Brawn.
The next generation of power unit has been a central topic when it comes to attracting new manufacturers, with VW joining the engine meetings and considering involvement from Porsche, Audi or even both names. Speaking as the guest speaker opening day two of the RACER / EPARTRADE Online Race Industry Week, Brawn — who was heading straight into a meeting with the FIA — says the way F1 is looking at sustainable fuels is key to such interest.
“The meeting I’m going to now is part of the initiative for sustainability and how we leverage the intense competition in Formula 1 and shape it into a direction that can have some relevance for the future,” Brawn said. “We all know this massive environmental challenge we’re all facing, but I know from my experience of Formula 1 that if you set the 10 teams a challenge and make it a competitive challenge… So what we’re discussing is sustainable fuels.
“So in 2026 at the latest — and maybe even earlier — you will have to race with a sustainable fuel, in other words a net carbon zero fuel. So the way that fuel is made, is produced, has to be net carbon zero. And this will be a plug in fuel that you would be able to put into a road car, so it’s another weapon in the fight against the environmental challenge.
“Electrification has its place, we believe sustainable fuels have their place. There’s a billion vehicles, getting onto two billion vehicles, on the road at the present time and you can’t get rid of them so unless you find something which can be applied to the vehicles you’re not going to have the impact that you want.
“And we believe Formula 1 can set an example of how a sustainable fuel can be created and used, and that’s a big thing we’re working on now. So sustainability and the assistance and solutions we can find for the environmental challenge is the next phase of Formula 1.
“But that’s actually why we’re seeing manufacturers take a much stronger interest in the sport because they can see the value of that involvement, and it’s no secret to say Volkswagen with Porsche and Audi are having a very close look at Formula 1 and that’s one of the reasons why they’re interested. And I think there’ll be more, so there’s no rest for the wicked I’m afraid!”