Formula One should be prepared to switch some time in the future to more efficient and environmentally friendly hybrid cars, according to BAR Honda boss Nick Fry.
Fry said energy efficiency was now a more important goal in design than the push for pure power and predicted the huge investment in research made by Formula One teams would have a knock-on effect in the car industry.
“It’s almost ironic,” he said at the Global Motorsports Congress on Friday. “The specific area where development in Formula One will influence road cars is in efficiency and environmental issues.
“Formula One is all about efficiency, about getting the maximum from what you can do within the rules.
“Fuel consumption is very important. If you can go that one extra lap, if you can use less fuel so you have a lighter car, then you will have a significant advantage.
Lighter is better
“By the end of the season, the difference between the top teams was 20 horsepower out of more than 900. If you could go that extra lap on the equivalent fuel load or if you could start the car five or 10 kilograms lighter that’s a bigger advantage (than speed),” he added.
Formula One is hardly known for its green credentials.
Shell supplies Ferrari alone with 250,000 liters of fuel and 40,000 liters of lubricant per season and the whole circus has to be transported back and forth across the globe by jet.
Fry said hybrid vehicles, which combine an electric motor with a gasoline engine to get higher fuel efficiency, could be the future for the sport.
“Maybe Formula One in five years’ time or more should have a special formula for hybrid vehicles,” he said.
Racing ‘shouldn’t be an island’
“If in 10 years’ time because of environmental reasons the key thing of interest to road car customers is a hybrid formula I don’t see why Formula One shouldn’t migrate in that direction,” Fry said. “It should be a mirror of what is happening in the real world. It shouldn’t be an island."
“We might have Formula One develop into something with two classes within it,” he added. “The final migration point might be something completely different. My personal feeling is that it should be something different. It should move with the times.”
Max Mosley, president of the governing International Automobile Federation, said in July that the group was talking to major carmakers about hybrid energy-retention systems.
“Technologies which improve car performance by, for example, saving energy or reducing mechanical losses should be encouraged,” he said.