Formula One gets green light for carbon-neutral future
Sport / 12 November 2019, 08:30am / JONATHAN MCEVOY
Formula One will today outline plans to reinvent itself as the sport that can help save the planet.
Its image of oil and engines, noise and smells, is to be cast off as owners Liberty Media promise to make grand prix racing net zero carbon by 2030.
Sportsmail understands that fans will be called on to play their part, too. Incentives will be offered to people travelling by public transport, bicycle or green cars. The rewards could include queue jumping or free parking.
Fans will also be able to choose to pay towards sequestration to offset emissions under an ‘opt-in’ scheme.
The plans are the product of a year’s work led by Liberty with the support of the sport’s ruling body, the FIA.
Today’s unveiling comes — coincidentally — a few weeks after world champion Lewis Hamilton caused controversy by calling on his social media followers to fight global warming.
One strand of Liberty’s strategy that should particularly please Hamilton, an evangelical vegan, is F1’s commitment to offering ‘healthier food options’. Other
initiatives to reduce pollution levels from their current 256,000 CO2 equivalent tonnes to net zero in 11 years, include:
* Working with the likes of Shell and BP to develop sustainable fuel to make the hybrid power units net zero.
* Maximising travel efficiency as the sport flies to 21 countries across the season. Liberty promise to use the ‘least CO2 intensive transport available’.
* All factories, venues and facilities will move on to 100 per cent renewable electricity.
* Robust and verifiable biological and technical sequestration programmes... to offset fully unavoidable emissions.
* Do away with single-use plastic and other non-recyclable or compostable materials.
The new ecological Formula One is not to everyone’s taste but the sport’s bosses have long been clear that F1 must lead the way towards a greener future.
The drivers were briefed on the initiatives in Mexico last month and Chase Carey, F1’s chief executive, said: ‘Over its 70-year history, F1 has pioneered numerous technologies that have positively contributed to society and helped combat carbon emissions.
‘From groundbreaking aero-dynamics to improved brake designs, the progress led by F1 teams has benefited millions of cars on the road today. The current hybrid power unit is the most efficient in the world, delivering more power using less fuel, and hence CO2, than any other road car.
‘We believe F1 can continue to be a pioneer for the auto industry, working with the energy and automotive sectors to deliver the world’s first net-zero carbon power unit, driving down carbon emissions across the globe.’
Meanwhile, Hamilton’s Mercedes boss Toto Wolff will miss this weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix — the first time the Austrian has skipped a race since 2013.
With the drivers’ and constructors’ titles wrapped up, Wolff is staying in Europe to ‘focus on other topics’. ‘There’s no sense of complacency,’ he added.