Over the weekend, Elon Musk attended the Formula 1 Gran Prix in Miami and proposed an intriguing idea on Twitter: a race between pure electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid-gas vehicles.
As the internal combustion engine era wanes, Formula 1 finds itself in an uncertain position. While the racing series has recently adopted hybrid engine technology and plans to increase electric output by 2026, Musk’s suggestion offers an alternative path.
Musk was spotted in the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 paddock during testing and qualifying rounds before the main race. In a response to an ESPN tweet, he revealed his idea for a race between EVs and hybrid-gas vehicles.
Although Formula E, an all-electric racing series, already exists, it has yet to reach the speeds of its gas-powered counterpart, much to the disappointment of EV enthusiasts. However, Musk argues that this doesn’t have to be the case.
A race between pure EVs and hybrid F1 vehicles could be highly competitive. Current generation F1 cars are the fastest the series has ever produced, but they do have some advantages over potential EV alternatives.
The primary challenges for electric racecars include battery weight and energy density, especially in a traditional F1 setting where races last several hours without refueling. Additionally, the absence of gearboxes in EVs can make it difficult for them to reach and maintain high speeds.
These obstacles are evident at Formula E events, which, despite their thrilling nature, haven’t yet matched the performance of hybrid F1 cars. Due to these limitations, Formula E racecars are generally smaller and compete on shorter, curvier tracks.
It’s uncertain whether Formula 1 or its governing body, the FIA, will consider Musk’s suggestion. However, as more automakers prioritize EV development over internal combustion engines, the racing series may need to adapt in order to remain at the forefront of automotive innovation.
By embracing the potential of electric vehicles, Formula 1 could continue to push the boundaries of speed and technology while promoting a more sustainable future for the sport.