Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel has conceded that he is not entirely certain that V10 engines making a comeback in 2026 is in everyone’s best interests.
Vettel had a go in Nigel Mansell’s 1992 championship winning car ahead of the British Grand Prix a few weeks back, and he used synthesised fuel – which does not produce carbon emissions – to power the engine.
It has led to suggestions, given that Formula 1 has successfully created a sustainable fuel for 2026, that the high pitch roar of the V10 engines could make a return when the regulations change – only this time they would not be harmful for the environment.
However, the point of the development F1 has been taking since the start of the hybrid era in 2014 is to develop sustainable fuels for everyone to use in their road cars, and going back to V10s might not necessarily be the way to go.
“Being a motorsport guy, I love racing, I love the cars, I have the sensation for the V10 and all the history,” said Vettel.
“Going forward, I don’t know, that is another discussion to have – what is the better way and what is the cheaper way as well? Because these engines cost a fortune, the development costs a fortune.
“I don’t know, they haven’t really found a consensus on where they want to go from 2026 onward. That is the difficulty if you have too many people trying to agree.
“Our engines are incredible, they are powerful, they are incredibly efficient, probably the most efficient, but will you ever drive that engine in the car that you choose to drive one day? No.”
The four-time world champion divulged the eye-watering cost to fuel the engine in Mansell’s Williams in Silverstone.
“For the fuel I was using, I paid €5.95 per litre, so I think that’s £5, which is more expensive than normal fuel significantly, but you mustn’t forget that the machinery of normal fuels and what I bought is very different,” added Vettel.
“So there is plenty of scope to come down on price and so on and equally, the other side will continue to go up – mid-term, long-term it will only go up.
“Already today, the fuel that we are running and using in Formula 1 is four, five times more expensive than what I used, so money isn’t the issue here.
“Why these fuels are so expensive is because you develop the engine together with the fuel to squeeze out more performance, to outperform the other guys.”
While F1’s primary goal is competition, Vettel urges the pinnacle of motorsport not to forget its greater responsibility to the wider world.
“The competition can be great and it has to be channelled in the right manner or it…I don’t want to say gets out of hand, but it can be uncontrolled and maybe run in a way that our engines are now so complex that you will never benefit from those on the road,” he explained.
“That is where it needs strong guidance and governance of ‘this is what we set out to do for the right reasons.’
“And the right reasons, again, coming back down to the budget, are very clear and simple so we need to find a way to do it.”
Vettel finished ninth in the British Grand Prix before Aston Martin endured a horrible weekend in Austria, during which neither Vettel nor Lance Stroll scored points.