Sidepodcast - All for F1 and F1 for all

Biological fuel - The changing technology going into keeping F1 running

Published by Mr. C

The veritable lack of Formula 1 action at the moment has allowed me to catch up with a bunch of magazines that have been lying around unread. Today I've been working my way through last month's issue of Race Engine Technology. Don't laugh.

Available from all good newsagents, but not to be confused with Racecar Engineering magazine mentioned recently, the November edition of Race Engine Technology has, amongst other things, some wonderful insight into the future of F1 energy recovery solutions.

I'll have to save that for later discussion though, because today I'm mostly interested in their interview with Renault's head engine boffin, Rob White.

The interview was conducted during the course of the British Grand Prix weekend, so even without my palpable attempts at time management, it's still a little out of date. The detail I'm most interested in is the discussion relating to next years fuel regulations.

It came of something of a surprise to learn that next year the FIA technical regulations state that 5.75% of an F1 cars fuel must be derived from biological sources. Actually that's oversimplifying it a little. Here's what the 2008 Technical Regulations state:

19.4.5 A minimum of 5.75% (m/m) of the fuel must comprise oxygenates derived from biological sources. The percentage that each component is considered to originate from a biological source is calculated from the relative proportion of the molecular weight contributed by the biological starting material.

19.4.6 Synthetic hydrocarbons or mixtures of synthetic hydrocarbons, which have been produced from biomass, will be considered for future inclusion into Formula One fuel, provided that a suitable analytical procedure is available to verify their biological origin.

According to Rob, the changes specified won't require any major work, beyond simple engine remapping.

I did a little research and discovered that Auto Industry recently reported Williams were the first team to run their car using bioethanol elements and the fuel was manufactured using sources such as crop waste. Auto Industry also report that "The new rules are consistent with one of the latest EU directives which will require all road cars to use the same bio-content blend of fuel by 2010."

Somewhere in the back of my mind I recall this idea being introduced by the FIA back in 2005, but had assumed it was pushed back along with other energy saving rules.

I'm surprised Max and the teams aren't making a bigger fuss about this already, maybe PR will ramp up before the start of the '08 season?