F1's Bold Move for Net Zero Carbon: Towards Sustainability


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The Formula 1 sport is actively pursuing sustainability goals as part of its commitment to achieve Net Zero Carbon by 2030. This includes initiatives such as developing fully sustainable fuel, minimizing single-use plastics, and reassessing travel and freight logistics. Three years ago, Formula 1 established ambitious targets as part of its broader sustainability strategy and has since collaborated with its stakeholders, including teams, race promoters, partners, suppliers, broadcasters, and the FIA, to decrease the sport's carbon footprint. Efforts have already been made to reduce carbon emissions by implementing remote broadcast operations, leading to a decrease in freight requirements. Additionally, the redesign of freight containers has enabled the use of more efficient aircraft for equipment transportation. Formula 1 offices now operate on 100% renewable energy, earning the company the highest sustainability management accreditation (3*) from the FIA.


Furthermore, Formula 1 recently introduced E10 fuel, composed of 10% ethanol, which will contribute to overall CO2 emission reduction. Collaborating with partner Aramco and major fuel manufacturers, Formula 1 aims to develop a fully sustainable fuel for introduction with a new engine formula in 2026. This drop-in fuel, compatible with regular internal combustion engines in road cars, will undergo trials in collaboration with F2 and F3 to assess its viability and performance.



Environmental Impact of Formula 1 Racing


F1 carbon emission

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Given the significant amount of carbon dioxide emitted by cars annually, it's unsurprising that Formula 1 has faced considerable scrutiny from environmental advocates. So, how much carbon dioxide does this racing organization contribute to the atmosphere? According to Formula 1's 2019 sustainability report, released when it first announced its goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2030, the company emitted 256,551 tonnes of CO2. This carbon footprint stems from the activities of 10 teams, 20 car units, and 23 racing events held across various locations. Interestingly, only a minute fraction of its total carbon emissions, less than 1%, is attributed to the use of Formula 1 cars. This figure accounts for emissions associated with the fuel consumption of the racing cars' power units.


As revealed, the majority of the footprint (45%) is generated by logistics, including emissions from air, sea, and road transportation. This aligns with patterns observed in other popular sports, where a significant portion of pollution stems from the travel of both players and fans. Similarly, up to 85% of emissions from professional sports events are linked to the travel and accommodation of spectators. Another notable contributor to Formula 1's emissions is the energy required to operate its race tracks, particularly during night events. Additionally, emissions associated with car manufacturing and track maintenance have been on the rise in recent years. The environmental impact of Formula 1 is undeniable, as the engines of its race cars consume substantial amounts of fossil fuels. Consequently, the company is actively seeking ways to reduce its emissions. In addressing its substantial CO2 footprint, Formula 1 has committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2030, with plans to make each race event sustainable by 2025.


Formula 1 is Progressing Towards Its Net Zero Objective


Can Formula One racing ever go carbon neutral

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Similar to Formula 1, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) is also striving to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030. However, in comparison to Formula 1, its carbon footprint stood at 18,910 tonnes of CO2e in 2019, significantly lower. Nevertheless, the impact of motor car racing on the environment remains a concern, and Formula 1 acknowledges this reality. For years, the company has been actively seeking ways to mitigate its carbon emissions through various avenues. Over the initial two full years since 2019, Formula 1 managed to reduce its carbon footprint by 17% through a combination of diverse initiatives.


Adoption of Sustainable Fuels

Formula 1 has successfully introduced E10 fuel, comprising 10% ethanol, into its power units, resulting in a reduction in overall carbon emissions. Furthermore, the company intends to transition its cars to operate entirely on sustainable fuels, in collaboration with Saudi Arabian Aramco and other major fuel manufacturers, by the implementation of a new engine formula by 2026. This "drop-in" fuel is compatible with internal combustion engines (ICE) and will undergo testing with F2 and F3 to ensure its effectiveness. These sustainable fuels will incorporate carbon capture technology or utilize municipal waste to further decrease CO2 emissions, potentially offering reductions of up to 96%.


Formula 1 has earned the highest sustainability management accreditation from the motorsport governing body FIA for its utilization of 100% renewable energy in its offices. Additionally, the company employs solar panels to power certain venues, with other circuits also being entirely powered by renewable sources. This may help the financial strategies of teams also.


Implementation of Other Sustainability Measures

  • Standardization of cars utilizing V6 engines, which are more compact and designed for improved fuel efficiency, thereby promoting environmentally friendly motor racing.
  • Reduction of single-use plastics.
  • Implementation of incentives encouraging fans to adopt greener transportation methods when attending events.
  • Implementation of waste reuse and recycling practices during events.
  • Recycling of F1 tires as fuel for cement manufacturing.

These concerted efforts underscore Formula 1's commitment to reducing its environmental impact and moving closer to achieving its net zero emissions target.


The Pursuit of Sustainability is Underway

Certain Formula 1 drivers are actively contributing to the company's sustainability and climate initiatives on an individual level. Notably, world champion Sebastian Vettel has chosen to forego air travel for racing events, opting instead to drive, thereby reducing the carbon emissions associated with travel. Moreover, the professional motorsport organization is endorsing carbon projects aimed at generating carbon credits. These projects include the Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve in Indonesia, as well as renewable energy generation projects in Zambia and India. However, specific details regarding the quantity of credits purchased from these projects to offset a portion of Formula 1's emissions remain undisclosed. Looking towards the future, Formula 1 intends to further enhance the logistics of the Grand Prix events to diminish the sport's overall CO2 footprint. While Formula 1's sustainability endeavors show promise, they merely mark the initial stages of a longer race.



Plans are underway to construct future Formula 1 calendars aimed at optimizing car transportation and freight and travel logistics, ensuring the sport operates more efficiently on a global scale. Measures to reduce carbon emissions associated with fan travel to Formula 1 events are currently under scrutiny, with a focus on exploring more sustainable travel arrangements. With six years remaining until the 2030 deadline, Formula 1 continues its determined pursuit of its target.