Extreme H, FIA and Formula 1 to establish joint Hydrogen Technical Working Group

The FIA, Formula One and Extreme H have announced plans to establish a joint Hydrogen Working Group.

The group, comprised of representatives from all three organisations including Mark Grain, Extreme E Technical Director – who is leading the series’ transition to Extreme H – Pat Symonds, F1 Chief Technical Officer, and Nikolas Tombazis, FIA Single Seater Director, will bring together their collective expertise in a strategic alliance to evaluate developments and potential applications for hydrogen within motorsport and wider mobility.

The objective of the Hydrogen Working Group between Formula 1, the FIA and Extreme H is to monitor the progression and development of hydrogen technology – both for the fuel cells and battery systems which will be used in Extreme H’s first-generation racing chassis – as well as hydrogen technology within race site infrastructure, transportation, charging, storage and management, and its safety implications.

Extreme E, which debuted in 2021, has already established itself as a leader in sustainable technologies, with a unique racing format that combines off-road racing in electric SUVs, a mandatory gender-equal driver line-up in each team, and a mission to highlight climate change issues and environmental impact. In March 2022, it announced plans to transition to the first-ever hydrogen-powered racing series – Extreme H – from the 2025 season.

Development of the first Extreme H series is underway, with plans in place to launch a prototype hydrogen-powered chassis with its partner Spark with a first full-speed shakedown towards the end of this year, ahead of a comprehensive testing programme in early 2024.

Alongside the FIA, Extreme E has agreed a pathway for the hydrogen series, Extreme H, to become an FIA Championship from its inaugural season in 2025, with the intention that it will become an FIA World Championship from 2026. This planned framework leading to FIA World Championship status, pending the relevant approvals by the FIA World Motor Sport Council, demonstrates the series’ progression since its inception in 2021 and a strong statement of intent for its growth towards its hydrogen-powered future.

As technical regulator and sporting authority of the Extreme E championship, the FIA will be responsible for all technical, sporting and safety regulations for the competition.

There is already plenty of crossover as well as scope for cooperation in the alliance between F1 and Extreme E: three of Extreme E’s teams are owned by F1 World Champions Sir Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button, and McLaren Racing has teams both in Extreme E and Formula E. The two organisations are aligned in their commitment to the development of sustainable technologies, climate change and impact awareness, as well as increased diversity within motorsport.

Mark Grain, Technical Director, Extreme E, said: “It’s a privilege to be working alongside Formula 1 and the FIA as we continue to develop our world-first hydrogen racing proposition. Our transition to Extreme H makes us the pioneers and first-ever testbed of hydrogen technology in motorsport – not only in our racing cars, but also transportation, infrastructure, refuelling processes and safety regulations. It’s a ground-breaking initiative and we look forward to collaborating with Formula 1 and Pat [Symonds] both technically and operationally, as we continue to champion new technologies and break boundaries on behalf of motorsport, with hydrogen at the forefront.”

Nikolas Tombazis, FIA Single Seater Director, said: “As the governing body for both the FIA Formula 1 World Championship and the upcoming FIA Extreme H Championship in 2025, we welcome this latest collaboration. The FIA Technical Department has experience and knowhow in the area of hydrogen technology which we will be bring to the Working Group along with sporting, safety and regulatory expertise. As is currently the case across the entire FIA motorsport portfolio, we will take learnings from this collaboration for the benefit of our sport and mobility.”

Pat Symonds, Chief Technical Officer, Formula 1, said: “Our sport has a tradition of bringing new technologies to the forefront of public perception in incredibly short timescales. We do this by being open-minded to all solutions and embracing cross-functional engineering. With climate change mitigation at the forefront of everyone’s mind we are committed to promoting sustainability and therefore need to explore all areas of decarbonisation of the mobility sector. This must include sustainable liquid hydrocarbon fuels, electrification and hydrogen. This Working Group enables a collaboration which will allow us to gain first-hand experience and contribute to the understanding and development of the many aspects of hydrogen propulsion that Extreme H will embrace.”

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