Elon Musk is attending this weekend’s Formula 1 Gran Prix in Miami and has called for a race between pure EVs and hybrid-gas vehicles.
Formula 1 has been one of the leading forces behind the development of the internal combustion engine, but with the age of ICE vehicles on the decline, the renowned racing series is now stuck in a bit of a limbo position. The racing series recently switched to hybridized engine technology and will increase the amount of electric output in the next generation in 2026. But Elon Musk has a different suggestion that he posted on Twitter this afternoon.
Musk was seen in the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 paddock during today’s testing and qualifying rounds ahead of tomorrow’s race. In response to a post from ESPN on Twitter, Musk stated that he has suggested a race between pure EVs and hybrid-gas vehicles.
Fun discussion of aero & battery technology in F1.
I proposed a pure EV vs gas/hybrid F1 race.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 6, 2023
It should be noted that a pure electric variation of Formula 1 already exists, Formula E. However, to the discontent of many EV fans, it is nowhere near the speed of its gas-powered counterpart. However, as argued by Elon Musk, that doesn’t have to be the case.
A race between pure EVs and the hybrid technology in F1 would be incredibly close. Current generation Formula 1 cars are the fastest the racing series has ever made, and they have a couple of advantages over what could be an EV alternative. Foremost, battery weight and energy density have proven to be substantial hurdles for electric racecars, especially in a traditional F1 setup, where racing takes multiple hours and does not involve fueling. Further, due to their lack of gearboxes, EVs typically have a harder time reaching and maintaining higher speeds.
The results of these hurdles are on full display at Formula E events, which despite their exciting nature, have not yet caught up to the hybrid F1 vehicles. Due to their limitations, FE racecars are typically much smaller and race over more curvy and shorter-duration courses.
It remains unclear if Formula 1 or its managing authority, the FIA, will take Elon Musk’s suggestion. Still, with an increasing number of automakers focusing on EVs over ICE development, the racing series may have no choice but to switch to stay at the leading edge of automotive development.
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