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F2 provides timeline update on carbon capture plan for sustainable fuel

by Ida Wood

Photo: Formula Motorsport Ltd

Formula 2 and FIA Formula 3 CEO Bruno Michel has provided an update on the two championships’ sustainable fuel strategy.

The original plan for F2, laid out in 2022, was to switch from fossil fuel to a 55% sustainable fuel mix in 2024 to coincide with switching to a new engine. Should the three-year deal on that engine supply have been renewed, then it wanted 100% sustainable fuel to be used in it by the 2029 season.

Three weeks later, having secured a future fuel supplier in Aramco, it fast-tracked that plan to introduce the mix to F2 and F3 for 2023. The FIA meanwhile introduced a requirement that all of its championships needed to use “100% sustainable fuels” to power cars by 2026.

The ‘sustainable’ component was defined as being “either a second generation bio component or a component produced from non-bio carbon capture and synthetic process”.

Aramco quickly committed to using direct air capture (DAC) to create the fuel. Pulling carbon dioxide straight out of the air has huge potential as a air-cleaning and carbon storage method, but must be done on an immense scale for that CO₂ to be used for industrial scale synthetic fuel production and there were 52 cars needing it in F2 and F3.

Michel addressed those practical doubts not long after, but when the fuel debuted in 2023 there was no DAC involved. F2’s technical director Didier Perrin told media it was “55% biofuel sustainable fuel”, and that percentage would not be “made with DAC” until 2025. The “very ambitious target” was the fuel would be almost 100% a DAC-produced mix by 2027.

In a media call today, Formula Scout asked Michel if F2 and F3 were still set to meet its DAC targets.

“I had a meeting yesterday with Aramco to discuss about what we are going to do for next season,” he replied. “We will increase the percentage of the sustainability of your fuel for 2025. I don’t know yet where we’re going to be, because this is something we’re working on, and I don’t know yet if we will already have synthetic fuel – carbon capture in the air – for 2025. But we are trying to anticipate even what we said. So I can not give you a very detailed and very specific percentage of what we’re going to be next year, but yes we are moving forward and Aramco is a fantastic partner to do that [with] I must say.

“They are building a massive factory in Saudi [Arabia] to try to develop synthetic molecules as well. The question is when this synthetic fuel molecules will be available, so that’s a thing we’re working on with them at the moment.”

Michel added: “The fuel is one element of trying to be as sustainable as possible, and there are many initiatives that we are doing in our paddock, in our transportation and everything to try to decrease our carbon [foot]print. We are moving forward with that absolutely for it to be, as [in] F1, zero-carbon emission in 2030. And even if we can try to do that earlier, we will.”