F1’s technical chief said the sport is “committed to promoting sustainability”
F1 technical chiefs form new working group with FIA and officials from new Extreme H hydrogen racing category
Formula 1 technical bosses will investigate the potential of hydrogen for future use in motorsport as part of a new working group.
The new Hydrogen Working Group will be tasked with evaluating the development and use of hydrogen within both motorsport and “wider mobility”.
The body will include figures from motorsport governing body the FIA, F1 and Extreme H, the hydrogen-powered off-road racing series that’s due to launch in 2025.
The group will look at both hydrogen fuel cell and battery systems such as those that will be used to power the first Extreme H cars, as well as how hydrogen can be used more widely as part of motorsport infrastructure, such as transportation, charging, storage and management. A key focus will also be looking at the safety of the technology.
While F1 chief technical officer Pat Symonds and other figures will be on the panel, there’s no indications that the category is looking at adopting hydrogen powertrains.
F1 is focused on reaching net-zero but, at present, chiefs have put a focus on the development of environmentally friendly synthetic e-fuels to power its next generation of hybrid power units.
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.”
He added that F1 was “committed to promoting sustainability” and as a result needed “to explore all areas of decarbonisation of the mobility sector, [which] must include sustainable liquid hydrocarbon fuels, electrification and hydrogen”.
Extreme H will be a sister series to battery-electric Extreme E. The plan is for the two categories to share events and use the same chassis (produced by Spark) but with different powertrains.
Bosses aim to reveal a prototype racer before the end of this year, have an extensive testing programme take place in 2024 and then launch the series the following year. They aim for it to become an official FIA World Championship in 2026.
Extreme E technical director Mark Grain, who will also serve on the Hydrogen Working Group, said is was “a privilege” to be working with F1 and the FIA.
He added: “Our transition to Extreme H makes us the pioneers and first-ever testbed of hydrogen technology in motorsport – not only in our racing cars but also transportation, infrastructure, refuelling processes and safety regulations.”
While Extreme H will be the first hydrogen-powered motorsport category, there have been a number of initiatives to evaluate the fuel for use in motorsport.
Notably, Toyota has been testing hydrogen-combustion Corolla race and Yaris rally cars and planning a hydrogen-powered version of its Le Mans hypercar.