Newey questions 2014 F1’s green credentials

Adrian Newey has made clear his dissatisfaction with the 2014 rules – and questioned the green credentials of the new technology.

The Red Bull technical director was initially asked how he compared the current cars to those of the past.

“That’s a very complicated question is the truthful answer to that,” he said. “I guess the other obvious answer to that is probably whether you have a Mercedes engine, a Ferrari engine or a Renault engine will cloud your answer to it, in truth. Such is the nature of Formula One.

“When you get into things like batteries then an electric car is only green if it gets its power from a green source. If it gets its power from a coal-fired power station, then clearly it’s not green at all. A hybrid car, which is effectively what the Formula One regulations are, then a lot of energy goes into manufacturing those batteries and into the cars, which is why they’re so expensive. And whether that then gives you a negative or a positive carbon footprint or not depends on the duty cycle of the car – how many miles does it do, is it cruising along the motorway at constant speed or stop-starting in a city.

“So this concept that a hybrid car is automatically green is a gross simplification. On top of that there are other ways, if you’re going to put that cost into a car, to make it fuel efficient. You can make it lighter, you can make it more aerodynamic, both of which are things that Formula One is good at. For instance the cars are 10 per cent heavier this year, a result, directly, of the hybrid content.

“So I think technically, to be perfectly honest, it’s slightly questionable. From a sporting point of view, to me, efficiency, strategy etc, economy of driving, is very well placed for sportscars, which is a slightly different way of going racing. Formula One should be about excitement. It should be about man and machine performing at its maximum every single lap.”

Newey said it wasn’t easy to judge why public reaction to the new rules has been negative.

“It’s a big subject and I guess ultimately the spectators and the television viewers are going to vote with their feet. The old classic [was] Coke completely turning Coke around compared to Pepsi in the States, so you can always skin these things various ways.

“I think obviously all the talk is about the engines. It’s not just about creating a formula which looks at how many litres of fuel you use per kilometre with everything else fixed, because everything else isn’t fixed in reality. If you go into the real world, cost isn’t fixed, the cost has gone up hugely to create this. As I said before, if you put that cost into weight saving, you might be better off in many cases so to automatically say that this is some huge benefit for mankind I think is taking a bit of a big leap myself.”

Newey also had some interesting comments about the relative performance of 2014 power units: “I think when we talk about the power unit we talk about it by manufacturer. We should also include the fuel company of course. I think you’ll find within an engine, depending on what fuel it uses there can be very significant differences. That can also create differences.

“We certainly can see that in our own GPS analysis between our rivals that some appear to have significantly more power than others, even though they have the same engine. At the moment I think it is an engine formula that has tended to reshape the grid more than anything else, compared to last year. How that develops as we move forward is unclear.”


Filed under F1 News, Grand Prix News

8 responses to “Newey questions 2014 F1’s green credentials

  1. Mick

    And how efficient & relevant are Newey’s endlessly changing aerodynamic parts. Do we really benefit from or care about whether this weeks front wing has 6 elements or 7?

  2. LRMann

    Thought it was a thoughtful, honest response by Newey.

  3. Brian

    It’s always interesting to hear from Newey this way. He certainly has his selfish perspective (don’t we all?) but at least you get the sense that he’s making a reasonable case as opposed to the endless, blatantly self-serving bleatings of Horner and the simply jackass spewings from Marko (what IS his job there, anyway?)

  4. CTP

    Do we know if team members/owners, like drivers, can also be charged with “bringing the sport into disrepute?”
    I’m not specifically suggesting Ade should be charged with this, but it does seem like a lot of important people have been saying a lot of negative things of late.

  5. wombat1m

    Newey makes a lot of good points here. Are Lithuim batteries on any sort of large scale either environmentally friendly, or social acceptable in terms of source material? Also charging, yup those living with a coal-fired power station in their backyard might disagree – its simply moves the problem. But, and its big but here. So Red Bull didn’t have the power to say these and influence the decisions when the rules were being drawn up?

  6. jason clark

    Its actually refreshing to hear of someone like Adrian Newey in the position he’s in actually speaking out about these stupid new rules and especially engines, theres far too many apologists and others insulting the viewing publics intelligence by bleating on about how ‘we’ll get used to the sound’ after a few races.

    I think alot of these people are underestimating the general public and how we feel about things, you only have to look at any number of forums to see there’s alot of very unhappy fans and to keep being told ‘we’ll get used to it’ is only goin to annoy them more because at the moment we’re all being patronised by tv and teams instead of listened to constructively.

  7. Reblogged this on bobespirit2112 and commented:
    Informed and interesting comments for Adrian Newey as usual brought to you by the excellent Adam Cooper. Might he be questioning the performance of Total?

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