Formula 1 could become an energy battleground in the future that will keep it at the cutting edge of technology, according to Renault team boss Cyril Abiteboul.
As discussions start about the framing of new hybrid engines rules from 2026 at the latest, there has been an increased focus on how best F1 can remain attractive to fans and manufacturers.
The new regulations will offer the chance for F1 to map out potential new technologies in engine development, fuels and batteries.
One of the key directions F1 wants to take is in being at the forefront of sustainable fuel development, which it believes could bring huge benefits to the environment while a majority of road cars continue to run with internal combustion engines.
For Abiteboul, whose Renault bosses are fully recommitted to F1 beyond the team’s rebranding as Alpine in 2021, the possibilities for the sport over the next few years are hugely exciting.
“I think that there is a very interesting sort of area that is going to open for energy development,” explained Abiteboul.
“I think Formula 1 will become a sport all about energy, what type of fuel do we want, what type of battery do we want to use also.
“I see that these things will be very important in terms of breakthrough for the industry and in my opinion, Formula 1 has a great role to play, to lead the way in that respect.
“Clearly these things will have an impact, not just on the sport and not just on the automotive [market], but frankly on a very large scale.”
F1 has already developed a second generation biofuel that has been sent to the current manufacturers for testing to check its suitability for future engines.
FIA president Jean Todt thinks it is essential that motor racing’s governing body does all it can to ensure F1 remains sustainable amid a growing awareness about environmental concerns.
“You take all the member states, they’re talking about climate change, about environment,” he said.
“We as a regulator and legislator around motorsport around the world, and also as the biggest road user organisation around the world, it’s absolutely essential that we speak about sustainability, about environment, about pollution.”