June 05, 2020

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Formula 1 announces plan to be carbon neutral by 2030
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Photo courtesy of FIA

Formula 1 has announced an ambitious sustainability plan to have a net-zero carbon footprint by 2030. This initiative will cover the Formula 1 cars and on-track activity and the rest of the operations as a sport.

The sport’s total carbon emissions in 2018 was 256,551 tonnes, not including fans’ transport to races.

The plan comes after 12 months of intense work with the Fédération Internationale l’Automobile (FIA), Formula One’s governing body, sustainability experts, Formula 1 teams, promoters, and partners.

F1 said as a first step it would begin carbon-reduction projects immediately. In 2021, rules will demand that the petrol used in F1 has a biofuel content of at least 10%.

The current engines are in line to continue until the end of 2025, and F1 will look at ways of ensuring that whatever specification of engine is used from 2026 takes another step forward in efficiency.

The high-tech turbo hybrid power-units used to power F1 cars since 2014 are the most efficient car engines in the world in terms of the percentage of fuel energy that is converted into power, a measurement known as thermal efficiency.

F1 engines have a thermal efficiency rating of 50%, whereas a road-car petrol engine is generally in the region of 30%.

“Few people know that the current F1 hybrid power unit is the most efficient in the world, delivering more power using less fuel, and hence CO2, than any other car,” said Chase Carey, chairman and chief executive of F1.

“We believe F1 can continue to be a leader for the auto industry and work with the energy and automotive sector to deliver the world’s first net-zero carbon hybrid internal combustion engine that hugely reduces carbon emissions around the world.”

FIA president Jean Todt said his organisation and F1 were “committed to driving development and ensuring motorsport grows as a laboratory for environmentally beneficial innovations.”

The intention is to wipe out the carbon footprint of activity at race tracks, including road and air transport of staff and equipment to the events.

F1 says it will “move to ultra-efficient logistics and travel and 100% renewably powered offices, facilities and factories” and offset emissions that cannot be cut.

It added that it will make all events “sustainable” by 2025, including eliminating single-use plastics and ensuring all waste is reused, recycled or composted.

F1 plans to offset emissions through a combination of replanting trees and using the engineering knowhow in the sport to develop new technologies that can capture carbon from the atmosphere.

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