Formula 1 update on sustainability progress

On November 12th, 2019 Formula 1 announced a detailed and ambitious sustainability plan to have a net-zero carbon footprint by 2030. The plan covers:

  • Reducing the carbon footprint of the F1 car and the on-track activities.
  • Moving to ultra-efficient logistics and travel.
  • Having 100% renewably powered offices, facilities, and factories.
  • By 2025 ensuring all of our events are sustainable by using sustainable materials at all events with single-use plastics being eliminated and all waste reused, recycled, or composted.  
  • Providing incentives and tools to offer every fan a greener way to reach the race and ensure circuits and facilities enhance fan wellbeing and nature as well as providing opportunities for local people, businesses and causes to get more involved in the action during a Formula 1 race weekend.

Building on a long history of engineering excellence and efficient road-car technology, the F1 community has quickly embraced our new ambitions to become a more sustainable sport.  The carbon reduction projects began immediately and one year on we are providing an update on the actions that have been delivered in the first twelve months and those that will become the focus for the coming years. A full list of plans and activity are available on the newly launched #WeRaceAsOne section of the Formula 1 corporate website.

At the top of our priorities for both sustainability and our sport is building a roadmap for the internal combustion engine that addresses the environmental goals of our automotive partners and society. Formula 1 has long served as platform for introducing next generation advancements in the automotive world. We believe we have the opportunity to do that with a next generation engine that combines hybrid technology with sustainable fuels. Therefore a working group of F1 and FIA personnel has been set up to investigate a future engine formula powered by sustainable fuels.  This group will be expanded to include specialists from the OEMs and energy suppliers as well as seeking expertise from independent research groups.  Although the carbon footprint of the cars is a very small percentage of our carbon footprint as a sport (0.7%) it is important that the most visual part of our sport is sustainable and can have real world benefits.

We believe that with over 1 billion of the 1.1 billion vehicles in the world powered by Internal Combustion Engines, we have the potential to lead the way in technologies that reduce automotive carbon emissions globally. We also believe that there is not a single solution to the engine technologies of the future but that a sustainably fuel hybrid engine will be a significant moment for the sport and the automotive sector.

Although 2020 has been an unprecedented year for the world, and Formula 1 has not been immune from its effects, we have continued to deliver on our sustainability plans. This year Formula 1 has:

  • Been warded 3* environmental accreditation from the FIA. The highest sustainability accreditation the FIA can award that means Formula 1 is demonstrating best practice and commitment to seek continual improvement through the implementation of an environmental management system.
  • Rapidly accelerated a two year plan to deliver remote broadcast operations into just eight weeks in response to COVID-19.  By transitioning from a single, circuit-based Broadcast Centre, into a smaller Event Technical Centre (at circuit) and Remote Technical Centre (back in the UK), we have reduced travelling staff by 36% and freight by 34%.  This has eliminated c.70 tonnes of freight being taken to every race, making a step-change impact on our logistics emissions over a whole season something we will continue to improve and seek further reductions in our global emissions from freight in the future.
  • Signed Power Purchasing Agreements for all its offices that mean we now receive all our energy from 100% renewable sources.
  • Signed the United Nations’ Sports for Climate Action Framework that requires all members to undertake systematic efforts to promote greater environmental responsibility; reduce overall climate impact; educate for climate action; promote sustainable and responsible consumption and advocate for climate action through communication. The plans set out by Formula 1 to be net zero carbon by 2030 meet all these requirements.
  • Alongside this, in response to the COVID-19 crisis, Formula 1 worked with a consortium of F1 teams to rapidly innovate, design & deliver new ventilator devices to support the care of critically ill patients.  In just 4 weeks, rival teams working side-by-side were able to deliver a medical device through to full approval that would normally take 2 years once again showing how Formula 1 innovation and expertise can provide real world solutions to issues.

The past twelve months have been a foundation year, putting in place the necessary actions, reviews and structures to ensure we deliver on our 2030 commitment. While work has been constant we know we need to continue to deliver on this plan and show our fans, partners and society that Formula 1 is committed to making the world a better place and will continue to be at the forefront of technological innovation that directly benefits the wider society and the automotive sector.

From next year, Formula 1, the FIA and the Teams will all work to significantly reduce the amount of single-use plastic bottles and cutlery and food waste in the pit and paddock and in the coming months Formula 1 will also provide an update on real-world actions being taken to increase Diversity and Inclusion in our sport. This will include sport-wide commitments made through the D&I Task Force we established in June specifically focussed at identifying the employment and education opportunities for under-represented groups across Formula 1.