Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has expressed his desire to keep the internal-combustion engine alive in motorsport’s top echelon, despite the push by some automakers and governments to fully embrace electric vehicles.
In an in-depth interview with Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore published on Monday, Domenicali said F1 “will never go electric,” when asked how the sport fits in the era of sustainability and electric mobility.
He added that F1 aims to be carbon neutral by 2030, and that the lofty goal can be achieved by switching to 100% sustainable fuel—something F1 and its partners are developing in time for the 2026 season.
Sustainable fuel, often called E-fuel, is any fuel where the carbon circle is completely neutral so the carbon utilized to produce the fuel is the same quantity as the carbon emitted from the internal-combustion engine when burning the fuel. The production process typically involves some form of carbon capture technology.
Key partners in F1’s sustainable fuel project include motorsport’s organizing body, the FIA, as well as Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s national oil company and a major sponsor of F1. Porsche and its partners already have a pilot plant in Chile producing sustainable fuel.
But F1 is not only developing the fuel for use in its race cars. The fuel is being developed with a view to having it eventually produced in quantities sufficient enough to supply most cars across the world.
In his interview, Domenicali said by 2035, when some governments including the European Union have mandated that only vehicles with zero carbon emissions can be sold, there will still be around two billion cars on the road equipped with internal-combustion engines, and that the carbon emissions of these could potentially be offset with sustainable fuel, like the one F1 is developing.
“Zero emissions can be achieved without having to change engines or throw away the entire fleet of vehicles that already exists,” he said.