Last updated on April 22nd, 2020 at 11:31 am
Formula 1 has been around since the 1950s and throughout the sport's history, there have been plenty of changes: from new-found track rules and vehicle modifications to new countries being added to the race calendar. The latest news, which commits the sport in achieving a net-zero carbon footprint by 2030, might be its biggest challenge to-date.
The organisation wants to help promote a greener future – not only from developing more efficient internal combustion engines (ICEs) with a hybrid power unit but to also turn the entire F1 ecosystem into a more sustainable business that limits its impact on the environment.
With Formula 1 at the forefront of automotive innovation and with large automakers at the helm of each race car, this shift shouldn't come as a surprise. Whether fans like it or not, manufacturers are having to embrace an all-electric future if they wish to survive in the industry. Let's face it, there would be no Formula 1 without manufacturers innovating new technologies, and if these automakers are pushing for an all-electric future in their respective consumer divisions; developing ground-breaking Formula 1 vehicles will be seen as an unwanted expense. Ultimately, it could spell an end for the sport.
As such, Formula 1 has committed itself in offsetting its carbon footprint. We suspect the cars will still house an ICE engine but we anticipate the hybrid portion will play a bigger role in the upcoming years. For example, we could see new rules inforcing far greater emphasis on the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) or Motor Generator Unit–Kinetic (MGU-K), where kinetic and heat energy generated by braking is converted into extra power for the driver.
Chase Carey, Chairman, and CEO of Formula 1, said: “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. 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.”
To make the sport as a whole more sustainable on the environment, Formula 1 has been working hard for twelve months with the FIA, sustainability experts, Formula 1 teams, promoters, and partners. The result is a move to “ultra-efficient logistics and travel and 100% renewably powered offices, facilities and factories” by 2030.
By 2025, the sport will also ensure all events are using sustainable materials, with single-use plastics eliminated and waste reused, recycled or composted. F1 also has a plan for its fans that make the journey to races all over the world – there will be new incentives that'll promote greener methods of travel. Additionally, more opportunities are set to be given to local people, businesses and causes that want to get involved during a race weekend.
Carey went on to say: “In launching F1’s first-ever sustainability strategy, we recognise the critical role that all organisations must play in tackling this global issue. By leveraging the immense talent, passion and drive for innovation held by all members of the F1 community, we hope to make a significant positive impact on the environment and communities in which we operate. The actions we are putting in place from today will reduce our carbon footprint and ensure we are net zero carbon by 2030.”
With Formula 1 at the forefront of automotive engineering, the news comes at a great time. This should spur on automakers who aren't part of the sport to switch to a more eco-friendly offering. There are over 1.1 billion vehicles in the world, and less than 0.1 billion are powered by a non-ICE based motor. Forcing the issue from the world's best innovators will help reduce climate change.
Jean Todt, President of the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) said: “With the involvement of the teams, drivers, F1’s numerous stakeholders, and crucially the millions of fans around the world, the FIA and Formula 1 are committed to driving development and ensuring motorsport grows as a laboratory for environmentally beneficial innovations.”