Formula 1 started using partially sustainable fuels this year and, from 2026, will incorporate synthetic fuel to become a net-zero emissions category.
However, not all manufacturers see this path as clear and consider it more of an intermediate step on the way to electrification. This is the case of Renault, the brand that leads the business group to which Alpine belongs and which supplies it with engines in Formula 1.
The Renault Group’s bet is hydrogen, and it is not something new for the company, which has been researching this field for years through HYVIA, the group’s company created jointly with Plug Power.
Specifically, HYVIA is working on the production of green hydrogen, as well as on the development and marketing of commercial hydrogen vehicles. But there is more, as Renault recently unveiled the new Scenic Vision, a 100% fuel cell electric concept model.
Similarly, sister brand Nissan is already marketing vehicles that use hot hydrogen or H2-ICE, an intermediate step with which it is possible to continue giving life to internal combustion engines by replacing fossil fuels with hydrogen.
Formula 1 and electrification
Months ago, Formula 1 admitted that hydrogen was the alternative option to synthetic fuel for the future of a category for which battery-electric engines make no sense at the moment.
Laurent Rossi, CEO of Alpine Cars, is clear on this last point and advances that his company is already thinking about hydrogen as an alternative.
“I don’t think the all-electric powertrain will be ready. It may be another 15 years from here,” admits the French engineer. “I don’t see it for the next iteration of regulations, or the one after that. We are studying hydrogen as a propulsion system. I think it’s up to the F1 engine manufacturers to help shape the regulations and come up with solutions.”