Two F1 Champions Put Fossil-free Fuel to the Test

Four-time World Drivers’ Champion Sebastian Vettel and I have something in common – we both have the same favorite F1 car, the 1992 championship-winning Williams FW14B. The biggest difference between us (regarding the FW14B, anyway), is that he owns it. And, last weekend, he put it through its paces at the storied Silverstone Circuit, powered by carbon neutral fuel.

What motivated Seb to haul the car out onto the track? “This year, on the 30th anniversary of (Nigel Mansell’s) win at the 1992 Silverstone Grand Prix, I really wanted to drive his championship winning car, the FW14B,” Vettel wrote on his V5 blog. “So, I asked the question: Would you enjoy driving a Formula 1 car but also make minimal impact to the environment and maximum impact for society? How could we run an original 1992 FW14B in a fully sustainable way?”

The answer Vettel came up with was carbon neutral fuel. In this case, he chose a product from P1 Fuels, which uses biowaste and carbon capture to produce a viable, internal combustion fuel that adds no new carbon to the environment. In fact, depending on how the “bio” side of things is grown, it could actually help reduce overall airborne carbon.

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Image courtesy V5 blog.

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Image courtesy P1 Fuels, via V5 blog.

To convert the 1992 Williams to be able to run the P1 fuel – I’m not sure whether to call it Syngas or electrofuel or what – Vettel’s pit crew had to do some pretty special work to the car: nothing.

That’s right, kids. They didn’t have to do a single thing to the Renault V10 to enable it to run P1, because the fuel was formulated to mimic the Elf formula used by Williams back in ’92. Remember, this is real, carbon-based “fossil” style fuel, but it’s coming from carbon capture, so it’s fuel that was burned, de-oxidized using electricity from renewable sources, and reconstituted into fuel. Again.

Maybe not ideal, but not making things worse is the first step towards making things better, you know?

Enough talk, though. Check out this video of a four-time WDC enjoying his favorite toy around the Silverstone Circuit, then let us know what you think in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

Vettel Drives His Williams FW14B

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Source | Images: Sebastian Vettel’s V5 Blog.



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