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F1, FIA and Extreme H reveal plans for hydrogen working group

Formula 1, the FIA and Extreme E’s sister series Extreme H have announced the formation of a joint Hydrogen Working Group that will start in 2025.

Extreme H Car

Extreme H Car

The parties will evaluate how hydrogen technology - including both battery systems and fuel cells - can be used across motorsport, with a focus on increasing the sustainability credentials of transport and infrastructure.

F1 will be represented on the panel by chief technical officer Pat Symonds, the FIA by single-seater director Nikolas Tombazis and Extreme H by Mark Grain, the technical director for Extreme E.

Symonds said: “Our sport has a tradition of bringing new technologies to the forefront of public perception in incredibly short timescales. We do this by being open-minded to all solutions and embracing cross-functional engineering.

“With climate change mitigation at the forefront of everyone’s mind we are committed to promoting sustainability and therefore need to explore all areas of decarbonisation of the mobility sector. This must include sustainable liquid hydrocarbon fuels, electrification and hydrogen.

“This Working Group enables a collaboration which will allow us to gain first-hand experience and contribute to the understanding and development of the many aspects of hydrogen propulsion that Extreme H will embrace.”

Writing for Autosport's sister publication GP Racing magazine last month, Symonds flagged that hydrogen fuel cells are inefficient for racing since they generate a lot of heat but need to operate at a relatively low temperature. This would require cars to be fitted with much larger radiators.

He continued: “So is hydrogen a viable energy source for racing engines? I think the answer is undoubtably yes but is it a better solution than, say, a blend of an advanced sustainable biofuel and e-fuel?

“That is a more difficult question to answer since much will depend on how the infrastructures for transport fuels develop over the next decade or two.”

Mission H24 Hydrogen

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Mission H24 Hydrogen

The fledgling Extreme H series plans a first full-speed shakedown of its hydrogen off-road racer by the end of this year ahead of a more comprehensive testing programme in early 2024. The series is set to begin in 2025.

Tombazis added: “As the governing body for both the FIA Formula 1 World Championship and the upcoming FIA Extreme H Championship in 2025, we welcome this latest collaboration.

“The FIA Technical Department has experience and knowhow in the area of hydrogen technology, which we will be bring to the Working Group along with sporting, safety and regulatory expertise.

“As is currently the case across the entire FIA motorsport portfolio, we will take learnings from this collaboration for the benefit of our sport and mobility.”

Le Mans and World Endurance Championship organiser Automobile Club de l’Ouest is due to delay its introduction of a hydrogen-powered prototype class for a further year until 2027.

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