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In 2019, F1 pledged that they would be net Carbon Zero by 2030. After years of not being held accountable for the use of hundreds and thousands of liters of fuel for sports entertainment, the pinnacle of motorsport checked themselves. Backing this cause was climate activist Lewis Hamilton, who even supported peaceful oil protests in 2023. However, Red Bull Technical mastermind Adrian Newey has an opposing take on this matter.

At the British Grand Prix in 2023, Hamilton backed the Just Stop Oil Group, which was targeting sporting events to spread their message. While the 7-time champion wasn’t on board with the protesters invading the F1 circuit, he saw no issues with “peaceful protests”. In a nutshell, he was backing the message, but not the unsafe means of achieving the goal.

For F1, the ideal scenario would be to use sustainable fuels while ensuring peak engine performance. And when you talk about the epitome of F1 engines, Adrian Newey’s genius and the sweet sound of the V10 engines come to mind. While addressing F1’s goal for sustainable growth, Newey told Motorsport.com, “It’s where all the conundrums come in… I think most people would say, from a spectacle point of view, you probably want a high-revving V10, normally aspirated. We all kind of pine after the V10s and even the V8s of the 2000s.”

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While Newey, like Hamilton, agreed that V10s aren’t fuel efficient, he emphasized that F1’s carbon footprint is very tiny. “But of course, they are not fuel efficient. So, then you have to have the balance of spectacle versus social responsibility, even though the fuel consumption of the cars in terms of the pollution that is caused by the sport is, in reality, tiny.”

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Newey has been pretty upfront with his views when it comes to F1’s technical regulations and growth. The 2026 regulations do promise to bring in an electrical aspect to a fuel-dominated sport. Newey’s take on that too is as blatant as Red Bull’s dominance.

Adrian Newey finds F1’s 2026 regulations “Strange”

The 2026 regulations bring in a new wave of changes. The cars will have 3 times the electrical power, much less fuel, battery parts to be recycled, and much more. The V6 engines will also effectively become electrical generators that feed into the hybrid system to re-utilize energy. Consequently, even in the slowest of corners, the engines will emit full rev noises.

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“It’s certainly going to be a strange formula in as much as the engines will be working flat-chat as generators just about the whole time,” Newey told Motorsport. “So, the prospect of the engine working hard in the middle of Loews hairpin (slowest corner in Monaco) is going to take some getting used to.”

Maybe F1 could source ideas and work collaboratively with the teams’ Chief Technical Officer for the next regulations change. If they ensure complete transparency at the beginning, hurdles would be considerably reduced.

Written by

Yash Kotak

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Yash is an F1 writer at EssentiallySports. With a strong passion for communicating through written word and a keen interest in the world of motorsports, he thoroughly enjoys being a fan of F1 and covering it for other fans. Ever since he watched the 'INSIDE TRACKS' episode covering the 2018 German Grand Prix, he has fallen in love with the intriguingly complex world of F1.
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Edited by

Varunkumaar Chelladurai