FIA And EU Considering Electric F1 Racing

FIA And EU Considering Electric F1 Racing

With an eye toward fostering electric-powered F1 competition, Jean Todt, president of the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile), said it plans to begin with electric auto, go-kart, and single-seater racing.

The first season could come as soon as 2013, he said, and plans for a series and championships are comprehensive. “We want as soon as possible to have new categories with new energy,” Todt told the Financial Times. “As much as we can do it all over the world, we will do it.”

The idea dovetails with a number of Europe-wide public transportation initiatives to switch to electric power in coming years. Plans for European cities call for a 50-percent reduction of petrol-powered cars by 2030, and utterly phasing them out by 2050.

Todt has been encouraged to start on a similar path in the racing world by Antonio Tajani, the European Union’s industry commissioner. The idea is that witnessing high-powered electric F1 and other race cars will promote EV’s overall acceptance. Tajani has said he would at least like EU-based racing to promote electric cars.

But Todt is expected to meet opposition from Bernie Ecclestone, president and CEO of Formula One Management and Formula One Administration. Ecclestone is already against hybrid turbo F1 racers proposed for 2013, and would likely disagree with all-electric because alternative tech is not as competitive.

“The racing community are only interested in how to improve performance because they want to win,” he said.

Presently, the world’s quickest EV the Shelby Ultimate Aero EV does 0-60 in 2.5 seconds, about a second slower than an F1 car. How long EVs could race, and how quick re-charging pit stops would be handled for longer races is also in question.

[Source: The Telegraph]

  • Fred Puhn

    Many years ago I worked on a race car that ran in an EV endurance race at Phoenix on the road course. There was an interesting trade off between running at a lower speed with less pit stops versus flat out with more pit stops. Our car was a converted VW Rabbit that was street legal. It finished very high up in spite of competition from million dollar high tech vehicles and all-out converted Indy cars. We ran lead acid batteries that weighed about 1500 lbs. We designed a quick change battery pack that could do pit stop in about 30 seconds!
    I would hope the FIA could start with such a format. It is interesting.

  • Your electric VW Rabbit is an interesting twist on the “tortoise and the hare story!” 🙂

    I covered the first U.S. electric motorcycle GP …

    … and I’ll tell you, while interesting, some of the machines were so uncompetitive. I understand Ecclestone’s concerns for F1 cars.

    On the other hand, the advantage with cars is they can store much more battery power. Li-ion has much superior energy density to lead acid or even NiMh. We shall see. Hot swappable batteries could be developed for ultra light racers, but I seriously doubt they’ll be beating F1 or other competitive gas petrol cars by 2013. They need their own series like the motorcycles have until they develop a bit.

  • Stark Gunn

    If the FiA takes away the huge sound, exotic smells, and ultra-fast engine performance of the current naturaly aspirated F1 engine… you can kiss F1 goodbye. Nobody will pay big money to see it up close, Nobody will watch it on TV. And the F1 community will just pick up its game and million dollR advertisors and go elsewhere. Jean Todt should be fired for even suggesting this.

  • Stark – extra…


  • Martin

    Just what we need to help the planet, a form of racing which generates an endless stream of waste batteries – and which generates even more pollution from all of the international travel. Cars without batteries, maybe. Now THAT would be world-leading.