Alpine investigating hydrogen power as F1's future

Alpine has launched an evaluation study to determine whether or not hydrogen power could be the best direction for Formula 1’s long-term future.

Alpine investigating hydrogen power as F1's future

While the FIA recently signed off on plans for the next generation of F1 engines from 2026-2030 to be turbo hybrids run on fully sustainable fuels, there remains debate about where grand prix racing should position itself longer term as road cars transition to electric.

It is unlikely that electric motors and batteries will be strong enough by 2031 to power F1 cars at their current performance levels, which means the championship will have to make a call about where it heads after.

But one option Alpine believes could be viable is a switch to hydrogen power, which is why the French manufacturer has begun a detailed look into the pros and cons of using such a power unit in F1.

Speaking exclusively to Autosport, Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi said that, with fully electric engines not an option for F1 for a while, that evaluating hydrogen as a long-term solution had its merits.

“I don't think the full electric [engine] is ready,” he said. “It might be perhaps in 15 years from now, but I don't see that happening in the next one or two iterations of the regulations.

“That's why we are investigating, because I believe manufacturers and especially PU manufacturers have the duty to shape regulations and to bring solutions to the table, hydrogen as a fuel.

“To me, and to us, it's kind of like a good way to kill a lot of birds with one stone. It's cleaner, for sure. It's not fully clean, granted, but it's much more improved compared to traditional fuel.

“It's abundant, that's for sure, whereas organic or synthetic fuel can be limited in terms of supply and or cost of producing.

“Plus it preserves one thing, which is the noise. Okay perhaps in like 20 years people will forget about that, because the new generations couldn't care less and they'll be used to cars being silent in the street, but at the moment, this is what makes that show as well.

“We must not forget that F1 is a sport i.e. entertainment. It's a business for sure. But that business is built on people loving it and watching it and enjoying it. I can't not think about that. So we are pursuing that path.”

Laurent Rossi, CEO, Alpine F1 talks to press

Laurent Rossi, CEO, Alpine F1 talks to press

Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

Rossi said the aim of Alpine’s study was to properly understand if hydrogen power could deliver the necessary performance levels F1 requires.

And, if its work did reach that conclusion, he hoped it could then showcase the technology – potentially by using the new-technology Garage 56 option at Le Mans – to prove it as a good option for racing.

“We are going to play our role to inspire others, governing bodies for sure,” he said. “We would love to be able to showcase, but first prove to ourselves, that it works, because we still need to investigate that it's more than a belief or a prophecy.

“If it does [work], then we want to possibly demonstrate that either, say at Garage 56 in Le Mans or around the Nurburgring with one of our road cars that will be fitted with a hydrogen fuelled internal combustion engine.

Read Also:

“This will then perhaps inspire the governing bodies that there is a path there.

“If Porsche, Ferrari and others are following other leads, so be it. But it's even better because we will bring to the table more options than just one.”

shares
comments

Related video

Eau Rouge remains flat out for F1 at "faster" revamped Spa
Previous article

Eau Rouge remains flat out for F1 at "faster" revamped Spa

Next article

Why Spa can reveal the most about Mercedes’ powers of resurrection

Why Spa can reveal the most about Mercedes’ powers of resurrection
Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals Plus

Why Sainz is key to Ferrari achieving its chairman's F1 goals

Although Ferrari's chances of title glory in 2022 have evaporated, chairman John Elkann expects the team to have chalked up both championships by 2026. Both require drivers to play the team game and, having now become more comfortable with the F1-75, Carlos Sainz may be Ferrari's key to title glory

How F1 has tried to avoid repeating its 2014 engine rules mistakes Plus

How F1 has tried to avoid repeating its 2014 engine rules mistakes

With Formula 1’s future engine regulations now agreed, MARK GALLAGHER wonders if they will provide a more competitive field than past attempts actually managed

Formula 1
Sep 26, 2022
How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era Plus

How its faltering first turbo car advanced a Williams-Honda glory era

STUART CODLING charts the development of the Williams FW09, the ugly duckling that heralded the start of the title-winning Williams-Honda partnership

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2022
The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared Plus

The Moss-Ferrari farce that current F1 drivers are thankfully spared

Recent moves within the driver market have reminded MAURICE HAMILTON of a time when contracts weren’t worth the paper they weren’t written on…

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2022
Audi’s innovative first assault on grand prix racing Plus

Audi’s innovative first assault on grand prix racing

It has been a long time coming but Audi’s arrival in Formula 1 is finally on the horizon for 2026. But it won’t be its first foray into grand prix racing, as the German manufacturer giant has a history both long and enthralling

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2022
The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination Plus

The seven factors powering Verstappen's 2022 F1 domination

After a tooth and nail and, at times, toxic Formula 1 world championship scrap last year, Max Verstappen's march to a second consecutive title has been the exact opposite. But has he really changed in 2022? Here's a dive into what factors have played a crucial role, both inside the Verstappen camp and elsewhere, in the Dutch driver's domination

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2022
Why Hamilton is still the man to keep driving Mercedes forward Plus

Why Hamilton is still the man to keep driving Mercedes forward

Lewis Hamilton’s words in a recent Vanity Fair interview define both his world-view and his approach to this season: one of perpetual struggle against adversity. As GP RACING explains, that’s what Lewis feeds off – and why, far from being down and nearly out, he’s using his unique skillset to spearhead Mercedes’ revival…

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2022
The time lag of ideas that offers intrigue over F1's future fight Plus

The time lag of ideas that offers intrigue over F1's future fight

The pecking order in 2022's Formula 1 season may look pretty static as the season draws to a close, but the unique nature of the cost cap means that preparation for next season takes precedence. New developments are being pushed back to 2023 - which could mask the technical development war ongoing...

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2022