2016 world champion Nico Rosberg believes that Formula 1 will eventually be forced to consider going all-electric much like its counterpart Formula E amid the climate crisis.
One of the new introductions to the pinnacle of motorsport under the new regulations the E10 fuel blend, with is made of 90 percent fossil fuels and 10 percent ethanol as part of their push to go carbon neutral by 2030.
They will also be switching to synthetic fuels by 2026 at the end of the current engine freeze, and the further change in four years is the main reason Porsche are eyeing that season to make powertrains for Red Bull, as every manufacturer will virtually be starting from scratch.
Since his retirement from F1 in 2016 having won the championship with Mercedes, Rosberg has become an investor in Formula E, and started the RXR Extreme E team, which sees the teams and drivers take all electric rally cars to natural environments rather than purpose-built courses to take part in rally events.
Jenson Button and Sir Lewis Hamilton also have teams involved in the series, which travels to Sardinia in July, symbolising motorsport’s slow but sure transition away from combustion engines.
The German does not believe synthetic fuels is necessarily the way forward for F1, but he affirms that the research conducted as a result of using them will inform so many areas of everyday life.
“I see they [F1] are going with synthetic fuels, which for mobility as such is not going to be the best solution,” he said.
“But synthetic fuels are very relevant for other mobility sectors, might it be aeroplanes or container ships or trucks or whatever.
“So Formula 1 is going to go down that route and will play a key role in developing these e-fuels.
“Hopefully, as a result, that will benefit all these other mobility sectors. But is that enough for F1 to be relevant with e-fuels as the only mobility thing to be using e-fuels?”
Alejandro Agag, who founded both Formula E and Extreme E, previously suggested that electric cars will one day be “faster” than conventional ones, and Rosberg indicates that the pinnacle of motorsport will eventually have to adopt electric motors.
“Well, that’s a bit of a question mark for the long term. Maybe, as Alejandro says, they will have to go electric,” he added.
The German does not think the two series necessarily need to be competitors for the same spot, and that they can both have a place in motorsport even if they are both electric.
“Formula E, I see the opportunity to co-exist very much because there are many big differences – I mean, Formula E is racing in city centres,” explained Rosberg.
“That alone is already such a powerful attraction because F1 doesn’t have that privilege of racing in the centre of London, in the centre of Paris, in the centre of Hong Kong, and that’s amazing.
“This is very unique to Formula E. There is an ease of access as a result, also to all the people who are in the city. So I think, with time, it will keep growing and have this natural co-existence [with F1].”
Rosberg’s team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky lead the way in Extreme E this season after victory at the Desert X Prix in Saudi Arabia in February.