In 2019, Formula 1 launched its plan to be Net Zero Carbon by 2030. Nearly three years later, what is the progress and what are the sport doing to meet this target?
“Everyone understands the need for change,” says F1 President and CEO Stefano Domenicali. “Everyone is onboard. Some of them have already started this huge plan of investment. When leaders start to do these things, everyone will follow.”
Reaching Net Zero emissions is a huge goal, but F1 is making progress. The sport is working on extensive changes that will reduce its environmental impact. This includes investing in new technologies and changing how races are run. When leaders start to do these things, everyone will follow.
Formula 1 has announced a plan to be Net Zero Carbon by 2030. Nearly three years later, the sport is doing a variety of things to meet this ambitious target. Firstly, they conducted an extensive report into their environmental impact which revealed they were responsible for generating 256,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions during the 2019 season. In just over seven years’ time, they aim to slash this to Net Zero. To have success, F1 needed all stakeholders – from the teams to the manufacturers, promoters to partners – to get onboard.
The organisation is working to reduce the amount of single-use plastics used at racing events, with a focus on promoting reusable bottle use and providing plentiful water stations. In addition, they are working to re-use, recycle or repurpose race weekend materials where possible. This is often a group effort supported by hospitality across the event, including the F1 teams. For example, over 1.5 tonnes of unused food were donated to 17 charities in the state of Victoria following the cancelled 2020 Australian Grand Prix.
F1 gave guidance in 2022 for each promotor to follow, focusing on six key areas for event delivery:
- Plastic & Waste
- Local Fan Travel
- Wellbeing & Nature
- Local Community
Several F1 tracks have made moves to be more sustainable, with the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve installing solar panels too.
The response to the installation of solar panels that create enough year-round energy to offset the Grand Prix has been positive. Facilities at Paul Ricard and the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve have been upgraded with solar panels, while the Circuit de Catalunya and the Sakhir International Circuit are now running on renewable energy.
At F1’s offices, sustainability management accreditation has been awarded by the FIA using 100% renewable energy. In terms of broadcasting, F1 is working to source alternative biofuels to run in their generators where available in different markets.
The promoters of Formula 1 events are looking for more sustainable ways to travel to these events. For example, last year at the Zandvoort track, 25,000 fans arrived by bike, while 40,000 used public transport or walked. This is in line with the aims of our partners, who want to know how we can work together to support their sustainability goals. There isn’t a conversation we have now with partners that doesn’t have an element of sustainability to it.
The current hybrid power unit in F1 is already the most efficient in the world, using less fuel to deliver more power than any other road car. However, from 2026, things are going to get even better, as all cars will be running on 100% sustainable fuels. These advanced sustainable fuels are made up of components derived from approved carbon capture schemes or municipal waste or non-food biomass, that achieves a greenhouse gas saving of at least the level of the current Renewable Energy Directive (RED).
Advanced sustainable fuels remove carbon from the atmosphere within the production process. When compared to fossil fuels, this provides an 85-96% reduction in CO2 emissions. F1’s new generation of cars, introduced this year, are already running on a blend of 90% fuel and 10% renewable ethanol. Work with ARAMCO and the sport’s other fuel suppliers is ongoing, with systems being put in place to enable enough production of the 100% sustainable fuel to power the cars from 2026.
Formula One is also planning to introduce a new, unique kind of fuel that can be used in most of the world’s two billion cars. This fuel will have a positive impact on society as a whole, as it is designed to be super-efficient and environmentally friendly. F1 has always been at the forefront of technology, and this new fuel is no exception – it can be used in regular road cars.
Another key area where the sport is making changes is logistics. That’s no easy feat given it’s a global championship that will travel to 20 countries across four continents during the 2022 season.
In 2020, F1 changed the way it broadcasts races by moving to a remote production model, which enabled a reduction in technical cargo being shipped around the world and less staff being sent to every Grand Prix. This new model has been very successful so far, and is sure to help make the sport even more efficient in the years to come.