Climate emergency accelerates efforts to clean up F1’s image Giles Richards

TeaThat gas-guzzling behemoth, the gaudy polluter roars of his indifference to the problems facing the planet, formula One There is an image problem in the climate emergency era. But is it a just decision now? F1’s sporting director, Ross Brawn, believes the sport’s technical battleground is turning into an environmental science laboratory pursuing solutions to issues that cannot be ignored.

F1 has a lot to differentiate but it is taking a path that deserves recognition and perhaps a re-evaluation of how it is perceived. Brawn calls the new direction both commercially and ethically imperative. “Every thinking person is concerned about climate change,” he says. “I’m worried about it, my engineers are worried about it – it’s something we can’t ignore. Demonstrating the technology we can advance to contribute to reducing greenhouse gases Will be very beneficial for F1.

“We have a mantra: an F1 fan should be proud to be an F1 fan. It’s not only about enthusiasm on the track but showing that F1 can make a difference in society. We all really feel that way.” “

In 2019 F1 is committed to being net carbon zero by 2030. Play published a detailed report In its environmental impact, which includes its 256,000 tonnes of CO . includes disclosure of2 all-weather emissions

Very ambitious to deal with this. The report states that 45% of the carbon is from air, sea and road transport, which is logically required to be included in each race, and 27.7% is from the transport of personnel, promoters and partners. Like all major sporting events it can be reduced but not eliminated and F1 has committed to offset this with tree planting and carbon capture technology.

World champion Lewis Hamilton questioned why major industries, governments and indeed sport were not acting more fundamentally, saying such efforts are not happening quickly for some. “F1 is only implementing it [net carbon neutral status] In 10 years’ time and I don’t fully understand why it doesn’t change quickly,” he said. “These big corporations that have a lot of money and power behind them and can certainly make rapid changes but that’s not their No. 1 priority. Until there’s a point where it’s the No. 1 priority for governments and the world, Until then it’s going to be a slow burn.

Ross Brawn says, ‘It will be very beneficial for F1 to demonstrate the technology we can take forward to contribute to reducing greenhouse gases. Photograph: Dan Istitin / Formula 1 / Getty Images

A fair point which is reflected in the widespread dismay at many of the results Recent Glasgow Cop26 Conference, However, F1 says it is at least taking measures and Brawn believes it is developing new technology where the sport can really make a difference.

Today’s Formula One cars have 52% thermal efficiency, a figure considered nearly impossible and 20% higher than road cars.

Yet it is the near future that the sport believes presents the greatest promise. F1 will introduce the use of 10% sustainable fuel from next season. Until new engine regulations are introduced in 2025, only 100% fully sustainable fuels are to be used. A fuel that emits zero carbon upon use, either composed of a bio-component that comes from a biological source that does not compete with food production or land use or that uses carbon and directly from the air is removed from. In fact, F1 says only 0.7% of carbon emissions throughout the season come from cars, but the wider implications for the sport matter.

The March to Electrification has been welcomed by Brawn but noted that there is no single magic bullet to solving the climate emergency. Electric cars require electricity—most of which is still sourced from fossil-fueled power stations. Equally, BloombergNEF research estimates their take-up will be only 8% of the 1.4 billion cars globally by 2030. The fuel F1 is proposing, and for which teams are building their engines, is a target that is causing a lot of damage to 92%. The fuel will be drop-in, meaning it can operate in standard engines without any conversion. The move was greeted cautiously by the Green Party, though noting that there is a need for a fundamental change in attitudes towards transportation.

“While Formula One is indeed correct that electric vehicles are not the main solution to cutting transport carbon and that we need to explore alternative fuels, especially for HGVs, this technology should not be an excuse for business as usual, Green Party spokeswoman Carolyn Russell. “No matter how the cars are driven, they still contribute to health-harming PM2.5 particulate pollution from road hazards, overcrowding and tire wear.

“State-of-the-art fuel technology can help clean up the remaining vehicles on the road, but government policy is focused on making walking, cycling and public transportation the safest and most convenient options for most daily commutes, and freight transportation more efficient and on-the-go.” Should be focused. More of it by rail.”

F1 cannot change government policy, but Brawn believes the sport can provide a short-term, immediate alternative to petrol for cars on the road. “With white-hot technology competition in F1 we ​​will probably get there faster than any other environment I can think of,” he says. “The vaccine race was impressive, suddenly we had a vaccine in a very short amount of time. This has never been done before. Now we have a climate race and we have to find solutions at the same pace.”

“The engineers on an F1 team are very selfish, they don’t waste an ounce of energy on anything other than making the car run faster. If we give them a challenge around this sustainable fuel objective, they Will do everything possible in it when they know it will give them a potential competitive advantage.”

Importantly, it could also be a step towards solving the single most difficult problem of F1’s own emissions and the environmental impact of global transport. Electric technology is currently not efficient enough to work for long-distance heavy goods vehicles, shipping or aviation. All three regions are major polluters. A low-carbon, drop-in, sustainable fuel would make a huge difference and F1 is already discussing the concept with the Department for Transport and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

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Just as the sport in the past has had advanced motoring technology, F1 is reinventing itself as a test bed for combustion engines to change the playing field in a direct and applicable way. With the ambitious plans in Cop26, Brawn is emphasizing that many technologies must be pursued if goals are to be met, particularly in transportation, and that merely aspiring to electrify would be a mistake.

Cop26’s caustic dismissal was “no more blah blah blah” by Greta Thunberg. F1 has the least number of selected actions. The fossil-fueled old dinosaur is old and irrelevant. Being part of the change for the future is the only hope for the game to remain relevant and may prove to be part of the solution rather than the problem.