F1 reports progress towards 2030 net zero target

Formula 1 says that the championship is making good progress towards its target of being carbon net zero by 2030, with much more to come.

F1 Net Zero 2030 track signage

F1 reduced its carbon footprint by 17% over the first two full years of the initiative up to 2021, with last season’s figures yet to be finalised.

The 2030 deadline was announced in November 2019 following a year of research by F1 that also involved stakeholders such as the FIA, teams and race promoters.

Ongoing reductions are based not just on the introduction of future technologies but also on changes in the way that the sport operates.

“Net zero by 2030 means that we are reducing our emissions by a minimum of 50%,” said Ellen Jones, F1’s head of environmental, social and governance.

“We're in 2023, we have seven years, which is a lot of work to do. And we have to use the technologies that are available today.

“Our last carbon footprint was 2021. And that was a 17% reduction based on our 2018 baseline. It's fantastic.

“But you have to make sure we're comparable year to year, given the fact that we have had consolidated seasons, changes to what that is. So we're currently collecting our 2022 data."

Mohammed bin Sulayem, President, FIA, Stefano Domenicali, CEO, Formula 1, on the grid

Mohammed bin Sulayem, President, FIA, Stefano Domenicali, CEO, Formula 1, on the grid

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

The introduction of sustainable fuel for the next-generation power unit in 2026 is a key pillar of the programme. However, its reach stretches far wider than that.

“Our sustainability strategy has three key pillars,” said Jones. “The first is to be net zero carbon by 2030. The second is to host more sustainable events. And the third is to ensure our sport is more diverse and inclusive.

“And so when we look at net zero by 2030, what does that mean? That means that we are cutting our absolute emissions by 50%. It means that we are delivering on sustainable fuels by 2026.

“And it also means that we are empowering and engaging our wider sport on the direct action that they can take in terms of how they reduce their carbon footprint.

“You have all 10 teams, you have all of our race promoters, you have F1 logistics, [all] looking at how do we make these reductions. And there are some changes which you can make quickly, like, let's change to a renewable energy tariff, which we as F1 have in our offices, and all 10 F1 teams have done.

“There are other major changes like remote broadcast, which changes the way how we operate in terms of there are activities that previously used to take place at the track that now can take place in Kent. Much of the production the staff no longer need to travel.”

Freight and personnel travel is a key area of focus: “When you look at the materiality of our carbon footprint, less than 1% is the racing fuel in cars,” said Jones.

F2 currently races with 55% sustainable fuel

F2 currently races with 55% sustainable fuel

Photo by: Formula Motorsport Ltd

“It's an important piece of sustainable fuel, so that we can look at technical innovations that impact all of the global car park. But when I say how are we going to deliver net zero by 2030, two-thirds of our footprint is travel logistics.

“When it comes to delivering net zero by 2030, it's how do we look at how we materially change our operations to ship less, to travel lighter a shorter distance, to ensure what does travel has been light-weighted, reviewed, could it be locally sourced?

“And so those are the actions that aren't dependent on technology change, they're actually the actions that are dependent on a cultural change of each and every single individual in F1, understanding what their role is, and how they their decisions impact our overall net zero by 2030.

“And the technology innovations are fantastic, and just help us make those leaps as opposed to the steps.”

F1 has also been working on cutting emissions with its logistics partner DHL, switching air freight from 747s to more efficient 777s, and more recently moving to a fleet of biofuel-powered trucks.

"When you talk about our carbon footprint you have three key levers, which is how are we going to create these reductions?,” said Jones. “The first is distance travelled, the second is the mode, and the third is the amount which travels.

“And we have to answer on all three of those. And in terms of how you deliver an F1 World Championship, we will obviously be working on each and every aspect of it.

“And there are different answers depending on the different piece of kit. Can it go on a sea freight solution? Can it go in a regional hub? And equally with the calendar itself.”

Jones stressed that race promoters have to cooperate and not necessarily insist on sticking to traditional dates that have always suited them.

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“From a calendar perspective, we completely understand that rationalisation is a key goal. And it's one that Stefano [Domenicali], our CEO, has advocated for. And it is also a partnership with our promoters.

“When you have a calendar and a date, it can be a very emotive topic. It's a holiday, it's always been that.

“But we need to bring them on that change journey with us so that we can host more sustainable events, reduce our carbon footprint, and balance all of those variables.”

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