When will the climate change in Formula 1? | Sports | DW

Formula 1 is currently having a great season: inspired by the varied title fights between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, the success of the Netflix documentary series Drive to Survive and the marketing of Formula 1 owner Liberty Media, the most famous interest is the growing powerhouse motorsport series. But at what cost?

The courier service DHL, one of the main sponsors of Formula 1, announced that it has covered up to 120,000 transport kilometers for the 2021 season to deliver cars, teams, transport and hospitality equipment, as well as fuel and tyres. This corresponds to three trips around the world with several tons of material.

A few days after United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres asserted at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow that the very existence of the world as we know it is threatened by “humankind’s addiction to fossil fuels”, it seems irresponsible for motorsport teams to fly to 21 In just one year, 22 cars with 1,000 horsepower can drive around a racetrack for about two hours.

Big plans in the fight against climate change

Last year, Formula 1 introduced a climate strategy. These include new engines that are 100 percent sustainable and carbon-neutral by 2030, incentives for the masses to travel with greener and more sustainable materials, highly efficient logistics and offices, and 100 percent renewable facilities and factories.

Every other weekend somewhere else: Team mobile homes travel with them to every race

This all sounds very promising, and given the history of motorsports developing the technologies that have helped develop everyday cars, one might be tempted to think that Formula One can do all of this.

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But despite all the advertisements for ultra-efficient logistics, the massive amount of carbon dioxide emissions remains a problem for the sport. In its sustainability report, Formula 1 revealed that 45 per cent of 256,551 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in the 2018 season were due to the relocation of teams and all of their equipment. If you use data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to put 256,551 tons of CO2 into context, that corresponds to the CO2 emissions of 55,795 cars driven for a year.

Less freight, more efficient transportation

In response to a request from DW, Formula 1 said that since launching its climate strategy in November 2019, it has “made significant strides in reducing the amount of equipment we send to races”. In response to the coronavirus pandemic last year, it implemented a two-year plan for remote-controlled television transmission in just eight weeks. By returning more technical equipment to the UK, the number of staff sent to the races has been reduced by 36 per cent and the number of shipments sent to the races by 34 per cent.

According to Formula 1, this saved 70 tons of freight per race, which equates to nearly 1,200 tons of cargo left uncarried at last season’s 17 races. We hope similar, if not greater, savings will be made this season, which includes 22 races.

Germany |  Air Freight Center Cologne Bonn

Will you soon be traveling more green? Formula 1 wants to reduce flying with old cargo planes in the future

According to its own information, Formula 1 has also invested in the upgrade of ULD (Unit Loading Devices) shipping containers. This would allow it to transition from an aging fleet of Boeing 747s to more fuel-efficient 777s, as well as provide more flexibility in choosing more environmentally friendly modes of transportation such as rail, road and sea freight. This and planting trees to offset their emissions are positive steps, but are they enough? Can’t a sport that has global partnerships with Aramco, the world’s largest and most profitable oil producing company, and Emirates, the largest airline in the Middle East, do more?

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And what about business travel emissions? In the aforementioned 2018 Sustainability Report, 27.7 percent of emissions resulted from business travel, which was defined as “all individual air and ground transportation as well as hotel costs for all F1 team employees and key event partners”.

A new report is currently in the works and is expected at the end of this season or the beginning of the next. Formula 1 told DW that it had “committed itself to reducing carbon emissions in all areas of emissions and is supported in this way by our trading partners”.

Reduction despite expansion?

In the meantime, the races will continue. A record 23 Grand Prix races for the upcoming season, with ten teams competing in 21 different countries. In light of a record season, can Formula 1 deliver on all the promises of sustainable change?

Drivers and team leaders understand that the sport must change. Sebastian Vettel has repeatedly called for Formula 1 to do more for sustainability. We also welcome Lewis Hamilton’s long-standing commitment to the environment. However, despite recent efforts, Formula 1 is moving further and further away from the demands imposed by climate change. Formula 1 may grow in popularity, but the sport’s most expensive traveling circus must make good on its promise to radically change its behaviour.

The text was excerpted from the English language.

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