F1 posts sustainability gains as part of 2030 net zero push

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F1 posts sustainability gains as part of 2030 net zero push


F1’s Net Zero by 2030 campaign aims to reduce absolute carbon emissions by 50% compared to its 2018 baseline, which encompasses the energy consumption of its facilities, F1 races and all travel and logistics between the two. It is committed to implementing a credible compensation strategy for the rest of its emissions.

Although full data for 2023 is not yet available, F1’s latest impact report shows a 13% reduction between 2018 and 2022, while detailing the latest initiatives in the series to help reach this goal.

The logistics of running a 24-race calendar means this area now accounts for 49% of its carbon footprint, with several initiatives underway to mitigate the impact of its expansion.

Following the transition to more efficient Boeing 777F cargo planes, its logistics partner DHL has moved to a new fleet of 18 biofuel-powered trucks to reduce emissions across the nine European races on the calendar.

Restructuring the overseas schedule is also a key part of further streamlining logistics. And while it’s still a work in progress, moving the Japanese Grand Prix to its new spring date would be one of the changes helping to optimize the flow of freight from Australia and China to subsequent races.

“The reason this is important is because the schedule reflects our current freight model, in which the majority of emissions are from air freight traveling point-to-point,” said Ellen Jones, head of energy, sustainable development and governance of F1.

“When you can reduce these distances, you can reduce your carbon footprint, in addition to the technological innovation that we can then support, such as biofuels and trucks, as well as sustainable aviation fuel in the future.”

Boxes and freight crates on the pit straight

Photo by: John Toscano / Motorsport Images

F1 has further found ways to reduce the amount of freight and personnel needed at events, instead increasing its remote capabilities.

“The transition to renewable energy, both at home and outside, is really critical for us and is really the driver of the first 13% of our reductions,” Jones said.

“In 2022 statistics, this resulted in a 56% decrease in emissions from factories and facilities. To be considered in 2023 and beyond, you can also start to see how we move to renewable energy outside the UK. »

Last year, F1 tested renewable energy generators running on biofuel and solar power at the Austrian Grand Prix, which it said reduced paddock emissions by 90%. These findings will be used to power more races in the same way in the future.

This is part of a desire to encourage promoters to make their events more sustainable. Jones says more than 75% of race promoters are now integrating renewable energy into their events, and the rest are expected to join in as F1 renews its deal with them.

“The first thing we did when I started here about two years ago was to update the contracts. We need to say what our expectations are for hosting a Formula 1 event,” Jones explained.

“We’ve had a fantastic response to how we work with our promoters. Not just with the energy at the event, but also with a number of critical areas for us, such as local fan travel, to the local community.

“We have minimum delivery clauses in place with our developers. We have an annual sustainability plan and provide feedback on how they are delivering in these areas.

Cycling on the Zandvoort circuit

Cycling on the Zandvoort circuit

Photo by: Tim Biesbrouck / Motorsport.com

“And as we reach the next stage of our sustainability strategy, these minimum standards and contracts after 2025 are increasing again.”

F1 will switch to powertrains running on sustainable fuels from 2026, although emissions from its 20-car network themselves represent less than one per cent of its total footprint. The move is therefore seen primarily as a way to influence the industry to adopt carbon-neutral fuel elsewhere.

As for F1 itself, Jones is confident it is on track to meet its 50% reduction target by 2030 once the effect of its most recent series of initiatives can be measured, although she warned that F1’s gains will not be linear.

“We are certainly on track to achieve this goal and the key elements of this are the results of the trials and work which you can read in the 2023 report,” she added.

“It’s about the continued adoption of alternative fuels in all parts of our operations, from cars to air to on-site generators.

“It’s also that shared impact of bringing other people with us on the journey. It’s one thing that all 10 teams have a different solution when they’re in the paddock. There are much bigger savings when you have a centralized solution that people can work together.

“And then the third piece, which probably requires the longest lead time, is what will next-generation operations look like?

“One and two are things you’ll start to see this year, and you’ll see them accelerate. Next-generation operations will have a longer duration, because there’s so much to do in this technology.”

The report also details progress made in diversity, supporting scholarships for students from underrepresented groups in STEM subjects. Female participation has also increased locally thanks to the F1 Academy’s Discover Your Driver karting program in the UK.

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