On the 12th of November 2019 F1 announced they will engage with a detailed plan ensuring a more sustainable path for the Queen of Motorsports, that expected to reach a net-zero carbon footprint by 2030.
As per the press release, this plan included, among other points:
- Reducing the carbon footprint of the F1 car and the on-track activities.
- Moving to ultra-efficient logistics and travel.
- Having 100% renewably powered offices, facilities, and factories.
- By 2025 ensuring all of F1 events are sustainable by using sustainable materials at all events with single-use plastics being eliminated and all waste reused, recycled, or composted.
- Providing incentives and tools to offer every fan a greener way to reach the race and ensure circuits and facilities enhance fan wellbeing and nature as well as providing opportunities for local people, businesses and causes to get more involved in the action during a Formula 1 race weekend.
One year after this plan was being implemented, F1 provides an update regarding how the works are going right now. Of course, the situation of 2020 definitely had an impact on that plan, and possibly helped to ensure certain expectations were met because of the limited travels, limited amount of staff working on the races and reduced calendar as well.
As mentioned in the press release, the top priority regarding the sport and the sustainability has been providing a way to develop new types of technology that could potentially help the automotive industry. As we know, F1 has been a ground for technological advancements for years, and many times those things are being used in the road cars as well. F1 believes there is an opportunity to develop a next generation engine, that combines both hybrid technology and sustainable fuels. To ensure that, F1 and FIA has set up a working group of people to investigate such formulas that could lead to that. As explained in the press release, this group will be “expanded to include specialists from the OEMs and energy suppliers as well as seeking expertise from independent research groups”. Although the cars produce only a very small percentage of the carbon footprint (0.7% as mentioned in the release), F1 believes introducing new engine technology could be beneficial on a wider scale and help reduce the footprint generated by the automotive products globally.
Regarding the actual advancements regarding the sustainability plan, as summarised in the press release, F1 this years has:
- Been awarded 3 environmental accreditation from the FIA. The highest sustainability accreditation the FIA can award that means Formula 1 is demonstrating best practice and commitment to seek continual improvement through the implementation of an environmental management system.
- Rapidly accelerated a two year plan to deliver remote broadcast operations into just eight weeks in response to COVID-19. By transitioning from a single, circuit-based Broadcast Centre, into a smaller Event Technical Centre (at circuit) and Remote Technical Centre (back in the UK), we have reduced travelling staff by 36% and freight by 34%. This has eliminated c.70 tonnes of freight being taken to every race, making a step-change impact on logistics emissions over a whole season something F1 will continue to improve and seek further reductions in our global emissions from freight in the future.
- Signed Power Purchasing Agreements for all its offices that means F1 now receives all it’s energy from 100% renewable sources.
- Signed the United Nations’ Sports for Climate Action Framework that requires all members to undertake systematic efforts to promote greater environmental responsibility; reduce overall climate impact; educate for climate action; promote sustainable and responsible consumption and advocate for climate action through communication. The plans set out by Formula 1 to be net zero carbon by 2030 meet all these requirements.
- Alongside this, in response to the COVID-19 crisis, Formula 1 worked with a consortium of F1 teams to rapidly innovate, design & deliver new ventilator devices to support the care of critically ill patients. In just 4 weeks, rival teams working side-by-side were able to deliver a medical device through to full approval that would normally take 2 years once again showing how Formula 1 innovation and expertise can provide real world solutions to issues.
As mentioned, the main tasks from the upcoming seasons are:
- Working to significantly reduce the amount of single-use plastic bottles and cutlery and food waste in the pit and paddock
- Providing an update on real-world actions being taken to increase Diversity and Inclusion in our sport. This will include sport-wide commitments made through the D&I Task Force F1 established in June specifically focussed at identifying the employment and education opportunities for under-represented groups across Formula 1.
As said before, 2020 has been definitely a year that has helped F1 to advance with the plans they have made a year before. Although there is still a lot of work to do, the update provided by F1 seems feasible for the next couple of years, especially after the experience of this season and steps the sport had to take in order to ensure safety, but also running of the sport in the times of a pandemic.