Formula 1 plans to introduce engines powered by sustainable fuels by 2026 as part of a wider environmental plan over the coming years.
A working group including specialists from car manufacturers and energy suppliers is to investigate how best to combine hybrid engines with carbon-neutral fuels.
The sport wants a net-zero carbon footprint by 2030 and a statement said F1 had “the potential to lead the way in technologies that reduce automotive carbon emissions globally”.
A statement detailing F1’s work on sustainability added: “At the top of our priorities for both sustainability and our sport is building a roadmap for the internal combustion engine that addresses the environmental goals of our automotive partners and society.
“Although the cars account for a very small percentage of our carbon footprint as a sport (0.7%), it is important the most visual part of our sport is sustainable and can have real-world benefits.
“We also believe there is not a single solution to the engine technologies of the future but a sustainably fuel hybrid engine will be a significant moment for the sport and the automotive sector.”
The statement is a reference to the direct of travel of the car industry, in which manufacturers are increasingly moving towards electric power but the vast majority of cars on the roads are still powered by internal combustion engines – and will likely be for many years to come.
Even road-car manufacturers are not sure of the end game in sustainable propulsion.
Honda announced last month it was pulling out of F1 at the end of next year to concentrate its engineering focus on carbon-free technology, but emphasised in its statement it was exploring hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles as well as battery power.
Sustainable fuels are one way of reducing carbon emissions from road vehicles while other technologies are developed.
F1 already has in force a requirement for engines to use fuels in 2021 that have a 10% sustainable content.
One option being explored to reach 100% sustainability is the use of synthetic fuels, which capture carbon from the atmosphere in their manufacture and are therefore carbon-neutral.
The sport’s sustainability plan includes 100% renewably powered officers, facilities and factories; all events using sustainable materials by 2025, including the banning of single-use plastics.