Formula 1 has presented its interim report on the way to CO2 neutrality. By 2030, the premier class of motorsport wants to become a climate-friendly company. This requires sustainable fuel and further adjustments in transport and logistics.
Many critics find it easy to point the finger at motorsport. Because the cars burn gasoline and burn tires. Not a few forget the footprint of other sports. Like football, for example. The 2018 World Cup in Russia caused around 2.1 million tons of CO2. Four years earlier in Brazil, the output had even amounted to 2.7 million tons. Travel is the biggest driver here. The fans come from all over to celebrate the big events.
Even in Formula 1, the sport itself is not the major factor in CO2 emissions. The operation of the engines does not even account for one percent of the CO2 emissions of a season - calculates Formula 1. In the 2019 season, i.e. before Corona, the Champions League of Motorsport stated its CO2 emissions as equivalent to 256,551 tons. A soccer World Cup harms the environment as much as eight to ten Formula 1 seasons.
A CO2-neutral business by 2030
Distribution in Formula 1: Around 45 percent of emissions are attributable to logistics. This means the transport of team equipment (cars, engines, pit stop equipment, etc.), tyres, Formula 1 equipment (e.g. for TV production) and equipment for the Paddock Club. The second major item, at almost 28 percent, is travel itself. A convoy of more than 1,000 people flies around the world and moves into hotels. The operation of the individual team factories and the Formula 1 facilities themselves account for almost 20 percent.
Formula 1 has been reducing CO2 emissions step by step since 2019. By 2030, the premier class wants to convert itself into a business that is CO2 neutral. Decarbonization is a must if sport is to be future-proof. At the same time, Formula 1 wants to make its contribution to making the global transport sector greener. To this end, she is working on a sustainable fuel. It is still being discussed whether to focus on synthetic fuels - so-called e-fuels - or whether to allow competition with bio-fuels made from waste.
In any case, the new petrol should power the racing engines from 2026. And it should be easily adaptable for road cars. This could have a huge effect. Combustion engine cars will be on the road for decades to come. (Large) countries and industry cannot quickly switch to electromobility everywhere.
CO2-neutral production in Silverstone
Formula 1 has had the world's most efficient hybrid engines in operation since 2014. They now achieve a thermal efficiency of more than 50 percent.This means that more than 50 percent of the energy from the fuel is converted into locomotion. The power units are to be simplified and cheaper in the future - by eliminating the second electric machine MGU-H. The electric share of the total output is ramped up.
In the development of sustainable fuel, Formula 1 works hand in hand with the FIA, the oil company Aramco and other mineral oil companies, engine manufacturers and teams. The environmentally friendly petrol is to be introduced and tested first in the Formula 2 and Formula 3 junior classes. In order to reduce net CO2 emissions to zero by 2030, promoters, suppliers and TV stations are on board. Everywhere racing wants and needs to save.
The teams have made their factories more environmentally friendly over the last few years. Mercedes, for example, supplies the Brackley site with 100 percent renewable energy sources. Formula 1 does the same in their offices in London. Last year at Silverstone, for the first time ever, she made a completely CO2-neutral TV production. You want to repeat that in 2022. In any case, Formula 1 used the corona pandemic to carry out parts of the transmission remotely, i.e. remotely.
Regionalization of the race calendar
In order to travel more efficiently, the freight containers have been revised in recent years. Cooperation with race track operators is being intensified in order to make the events more sustainable. Formula 1 wants to ban single-use plastic from the racetrack, recycle more and compost it. Better ways are being sought to bring local fans to the racetrack in a more environmentally friendly way. Emissions caused by their journey should be credibly compensated. Contracts are only extended if racetracks consider sustainable concepts.
It is an ongoing process to make travel, logistics and transportation, and racing itself more eco-friendly. The race calendar is being rethought. Formula 1 wants to regionalize it so that you and the teams don't travel all over the world in the future like they did recently. It went from Imola to Miami and back to Europe. From Monaco first further east to Azerbaijan and then directly west to Canada. She covered a distance of almost 9,000 kilometers from Baku to Montreal.