Darcy Foster • Formula 1 has this week revealed it plans to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.
The proposal encompasses not only the cars themselves, but all aspects of the sport, from planning and logistics to on-track activity and hospitality.
Speaking at the reveal of the plan, Formula 1 chairman and CEO Chase Carey said: "In launching F1’s first-ever sustainability strategy, we recognise the critical role that all organisations must play in tackling this global issue".
Current Formula 1 internal-combustion engines (ICE) are the most thermally efficient in the sport's history, with Mercedes-Benz able to achieve a thermal efficiency of more than 50 per cent from its all-conquering power unit – nearly double what normal production cars offer at just 30 per cent.
This means modern F1 engines can extract more of the available energy from their fuel, allowing teams to create more power in a more frugal manner for fast cars with lower CO2 emissions.
Image: McLaren Formula 1 team
Given over one billion of the 1.1 billion vehicles on the road today feature an internal-combustion engine, the sport believes it has an opportunity to help reduce global carbon emissions by pioneering efficiency-improving technologies that could trickle down to road cars.
Commenting on the plan, Jean Todt, president of global motorsport governing body the FIA, said "the FIA welcomes this Formula 1 initiative".
"It is not only very encouraging for the future of motorsport, but it could also have strong benefits for society as a whole."
Formula 1 will also ensure all events are sustainable by 2025, committing to reusable materials and recyclable waste management, as well as ‘greener’ ways for fans to reach each circuit.
Currently, Formula’s 1 electrically-charged cousin, Formula E, leads its contemporaries as one of the most sustainable FIA-governed motorsports.
Not only are the cars themselves 100 per cent electric, but logistics partner DHL has developed a sustainable approach to transportation utilising road, rail, air, and sea travel.
Image: Circuit of the Americas
Although Formula 1 uses similar transportation methods, the F1 circus travels over 131,000 kilometres over the course of a season, considerably more than the 70,000km covered by the Formula E calendar.
Don't think Formula 1 has forgotten the racing, though. Regulation changes coming in 2021 should offer more competitive racing thanks to redesigned cars and power-units, and a closer title race because of a $175 million dollar price cap.
Sometimes it seems change is the only constant in Formula 1, with restless regulators constantly tinkering with the rules to create closer racing, and a closer connection to road-going cars.
Major regulation changes have been consistent throughout the sport's near 70 year history, from the introduction of control tyres and elimination of fuel stops, to banning electronic aids and downsizing engines from 3.0-litre V10s to the current 1.6-litre turbo-hybrid V6s.
Formula 1 will work alongside teams, partners, and promoters to support its seismic environmental targets, with its emissions reduction strategies commencing "immediately".