The American Le Mans Series isn’t the only racing outfit getting into green fuels.
This past weekend was the season opener for the Formula One World Championship. This is the peak, the very pinnacle of automotive performance, with teams spending hundreds of millions of dollars every season trying to one up each other with a technological advantage. Drivers Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso took Ferrari to victory at the season opener of the Bahrain Grand Prix. Ferrari’s fuel sponsor Shell incorporated ethanol into its race fuel for the first time.
The biofuel was developed by Shell turning straw into ethanol. The FIA requires a “fingerprint” sample prior to every race, and can then request a sample from the fuel reserves at any time afterwards to compare. While Formula One may be behind the times when it comes to alt-fuels, the sport has been playing around with kinetic-energy recovery systems for hybrid race cars. No doubt this is but a drop of the bucket, as these 900+ horsepower racers typically get about 4 mpg and in a single race will consume anywhere from 20 to 70 gallons of fuel. And refueling is prohibited this season, meaning the racers have to carry all that fuel with them.
This is another small step towards the sport fully embracing alternative fuels within the next few years. Ferrari is a major player at Formula One, and they are working hard on a hybrid sports car for market… will Formula One move that way soon too? I’m willing to bet so.
Check out the full press release on the next page.
Source: Shell | Image: Ferrari