Mercedes remains confident of F1 industry relevence despite shift to electrification
Daimler chairman and head of Mercedes Ola Källenius has doubled down on his belief that Formula 1 remains relevant to the modern automotive industry despite a widespread shift to electrification.
At the end of 2015, a total of 47,920 highway-legal plug-electric cars were registered in the United Kingdom alone. As of October this year, this number had increased dramatically to over 373,600.
With its EQ range, Mercedes has a number of electric, plug-in hybrid and mild hybrid cars in its portfolio, but Källenius is adamant the technologies being developed in F1 remain relevant in the modern industry.
“We do believe that pushing electrification and going beyond what we’re doing today in Formula 1 can help us on the road car side," he said.
"In fact, AMG is going to get boost hybrids across the whole fleet soon, inspired by Formula 1, next to the crazy Project 1 car that we’re putting on the road next year."
“Research into lower carbon fuels or non-carbon fuels, synthetic fuels, will also play a role because even if we go electric soon, and we will have a very large part of our fleet being all-electric in 2030 and beyond, there will be a car park of hundreds of millions, a couple of billion vehicles that we also need to work on decarbonisation and Formula 1 can play a role in experimenting with lower carbon fuels.
“So, technologically, it’s very relevant. It’s not something of the past. It’s something of the future."
Formula 1 first added an element of energy recovery in 2009 with KERS before introducing hybrid power units as standard from 2014.
Reflecting on the rapid development of the technology, which has now made its way on to production vehicles, Källenius added: "There’s no doubt in my mind that we’re going, in line with the Paris Agreement, step by step towards a decarbonised world.
"The technologies that we’re developing in Formula 1 and, in fact, I was in Formula 1 when we developed the first KERS system. I was running HPP in Brixworth.
“We were talking to innovative companies for binary technologies and that very first hybrid system, the power of that compared to the weight, compared to what we could do with the road car side was mind-boggling.
“Here we are ten years later and have moved that game on by factors and factors.
“So to put these technologies under the ultimate stress test in what is a fantastic and exciting spectacle that also creates emotion around the brand is the best of both worlds really."
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