FOTA plans F1 emissions cut

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The Formula One Teams’ Association expects to reduce carbon emissions in the sport by 12.4% by 2012.

A FOTA-commissioned report into the environmental impact of Formula found that each team produces an average of 215,558 tonnes of CO2 per year.

Of that, 0.29% comes from the burning of fuel by F1 cars in testing and races.

Over half an F1 teams’ emissions are produced in producing parts and electricity consumption accounts for another 30%.

FOTA chairman and McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said:

The FIA and FOTA are already working together to tailor the 2013 technical regulations to ensuring that all engines and powertrains used in Formula One by that date will showcase, and provide a platform for the ongoing development of, technologies designed to enhance fuel efficiency.
Martin Whitmarsh

Download the full report: FOTA Environment Programme Baseline Report 2010 (PDF)

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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43 comments on “FOTA plans F1 emissions cut”

  1. So. KERS, smaller engines, lower rev limits and “green” stripes on the types will contribute < 0.3% in making F1 greener.

    Perhaps F1 should stay in Europe.

    1. Sure of that last 80% a lot goes into flying and driving to the races – that would improve somewhat by not travelling through the world with the teams (but maybe Fans would do even more travelling, to go watch races furher away).

      But to get any results, think more of reducing wind tunnel use (massive engery use for producing the wind speeds and cooling the thing – that’s why McLaren has the lake) as well as improving production processes to have less waste and optimized production cycles. Oh and build everything so they don’t need as much airco, that saves a lot as well.

      That is the way to go green, and the teams actually save money in doing so. Good the FOTA presents this, racing efficiency, i.e. getting more out of the cars/means is the why of KERS not a lower carbon print (KERS batteries ar pretty high waste/carbon)

  2. Well said, Stephen. Aviation fuel must be a big contributor so let’s have more European races; Going back to France, Portugal, Donington(!!) would save buckets full of CO2.

    1. Well said ! This way, I think a lot of fans could turn up to the races !

      1. It is fans (and their planes, trains, automobiles) that contribute by far the most CO2 to any F1 weekend.

        A couple of FOM jumbo jets flying shipping containers around the planet is nothing in comparison.

        SO in actuality, if you were concerned about all this eco-religious nonsense, you’d be campaigning for more, not less, empty-grandstand desert grand-prix.

        1. That’s completely wrong and shows why actually reading the facts is important.

          Look at what Keith writes:

          1. over 50% is the manufacturing of parts
          2. 30 % is electricity consumption.
          3. 14 % is Freight and bussiness travel

          Some easy gains can be made in the hospitality units/garages, but most is from the actual producing of parts and windtunnel and CFD processes.

          The survey did not look at the effects of vieweres, just the FOTA teams to see what they can do, and they found quite a lot. So no need frighten the public, on the contrary.

          1. What are you talking about, are you sure you have replied to the correct message?

            The FOTA percentages are just for the teams, that was exactly my point. Talking about shaving a tiny percentage from a number which is itself a tiny, almost negligable, percentage of the whole F1 circus.

            The people I was replying to, concerned about shipping a few containers to fly-aways, were saying this means we should have more euro-races.

            A small percentage of that 14% is team’s fly-away CO2, that tiny percentage would be instantly dwarfed by unleashing another 100,000 fans with cars and burger-vans to a Monza GP.

            I am saying if you are the type of person that thinks any of this CO2 malarkey is actually a legitimate concern, then you should be consistent.
            Have races where no-one goes to, and shown on TV when no-one in Europe is awake.

            Or instead, you could maintain a proper sense of proportion and stop pandering to eco-tards with silly old meaningless PR nonsense like this.

            F1 is supposed to be a noisy dirty glorious exotic anachronism, that is it’s reason for being, that’s the whole point … having FOTA middle maangers bean-count grams of CO2 makes us all look foolish.

          2. @feynman

            Only a tiny percentage of the 14% is due to fly-aways? We have by my count 8 fly-aways that take 8 hours or more to reach (and 2 that are roughly 5 away). By contrast we have 11 “home” races that take less than 3 hours (and then Turkey which takes a little more). So, 11*3=33 versus 8*8=64 hours of flying. And that’s assuming everything that is transported between European races is done so by plane instead of road (i.e. the back-to-back between Spain and Monaco). Also, planes aren’t taking off purely for F1 fans; many will be getting on planes (assuming no-one drives, which is plain silly) that are already flying and which will either have had less passengers on it or simply different passengers travelling for reasons other than F1.

            The problem is as much the lack of co-ordination in the fly-aways as their existence. Bahrain starting and Abu Dhabi finishing? China early in the year and Korea later? And then there’s travelling back to the same country (Spain) twice. Of course there are some weather restrictions but the Bahrain/Abu Dhabi case isn’t one, and China used to be later in the year for quite a few seasons.

    2. Would be pretty unfair to deny other fans of the chance to see F1, but if they’re looking to expand the calender anyway then they should try to make more of the new races around europe perhaps. Although one massive difference would just be the way F1 travels from race to race- the order of GPs needs to changed so that it is more economicl. Although it might not be the most interesting to watch, wouldn’t Bahrain and Abu Dhabi make more sense back to back? Same for Australia, Singapore, Malaysia. Those 3 could stand on their own or even be combined with Chaina, Korea, Japan. At the moment Brazil and Canada are the ones which stand out quite seperate, so could go anywhere during the European season or at the beginning/end of the calender.

      1. The problem isn’t that there are so many flyaways races, it’s that they’re organized all over in such disparate places, and circuits near to one another are usually at opposite ends of the calendar. Abu Dabi and Bahrain. Australia, Malaysia, and Singapore. China, Korea, and Japan. I suppose a lot of it has to do with the weather in all of those places as well, but really it does seem that they could organize a better calendar than they do in terms of travel for the teams…

        1. That’s exactly what I mean. They need to be visited in an order that makes sense, without going back and forth.

          1. But if you had races like Singapore and Malaysia together it would likely result in even lower crowd numbers as people would be less likely to go to both races than if they was a 6 month gap between them.

  3. Nice work so are we seeing KERS back in the future & also they should make sure that it is not limited to the amount it can be used.

  4. MikeSRandall
    30th June 2010, 10:25

    I’m getting a 404 error from the link to the pdf. The full link, for anyone who wants it, is

    1. playing up again. Have fixed the link.

      1. MikeSRandall
        30th June 2010, 10:38

        Hmm, not quite! No 404 error now, just a blank screen.


        1. MikeSRandall
          30th June 2010, 10:39

          Ah, it seems that’s my problem, not yours. Works in IE, not in Chrome. Annoying!

  5. MikeSRandall
    30th June 2010, 10:36

    I suppose the surprising thing is that emissions from making the parts accounts for over 50% of the total. Travel (for personnel and freight) comes in at somewhere in the 30%s, with electricity generation being the remainder. So, even if we say that by having all European races we could cut emissions from travel by half, you would only save about 10% of the total emissions. I don’t think that, then, is the answer.
    More productive would be to reduce the amount of CO2 from manufacturing. The only problem is image. Because the general public don’t realise the amount of emissions produced in this way (me included), we won’t appreciate any savings made. Flying cars around the world, and then racing ‘gas-guzzlers’ may not actually produce much CO2 in the grand scheme of things, but it’s what the public sees that counts.

    1. ‘it’s what the public sees that counts’

      That depends on whether FOTA are doing this solely for image or whether there’s any real substance to cutting down emissions. Of course, image is important, but I hope that isn’t the driving factor for this.

      1. As far as this story goes, the important thing is that ‘green’ sells, therefore sponsors want F1 to be ‘green’, therefore F1 will make efforts to be ‘green’.

        If F1 becomes part of a drive to release fewer pollutants into the world and actually contributes in some intangible way to meaningfully reducing pollution, I don’t think the driving factor behind these measures really matters.

        1. That’s a fair point, but I only think it will become part of the drive if it tries to pioneer technologies specifically on the track, but also to do with manufacturing processes that can be applied to other industries. If it has an impact on a wider scale then I don’t even think it matters if they get close to the 12.4% target, as they might make bigger differences elsewhere. So basically, I hope they do something interesting with a new engine formula which still isn’t against the spirit of F1 too much (ie. nothing as ridiculous as the movable wings idea), they try to pioneer cleaner manufacting, and possibly investigate the use of fuel cells, although I’m not sure what their premise for this could be.

    2. Its actually only 14% for Freight and Bussinesstravel, so the figure is even lower!

      The teams plan to get the most from running their plants and their suppliers plants more efficiently and have a look at cutting energy for super computers and windtunnels.

      The major sources of emissions reductions come from reduced electricity consumption (16.95%),
      reduced operational fuel use (17.92%) and reduced expenditure on parts and raw materials

  6. If only 0.29% of F1’s carbon footprint is down to the burning of fuel during the races, and 30% of the corbaon footprint is down to part prodcution and electricity consumption, surely it is down to the Electricity Board to help F1 reduce its carbon footprint!

    1.5 liter turbo’s that rev to 5000rpm aren’t going to put any sort of dent into that final CO2 figure…

    1. maybe if the teams ran those engines to actually produce their electricity they would lower the carbon print enormously 8-)

      With their F1 engineered efficiency they are far better than the regular electricity plant (maybe 90% instead of a low 35-45%)

    2. We want turbos
      2nd July 2010, 9:51

      What u putting in there a turbo diesel. lol

  7. Honestly, I find this ridiculous!

  8. Do anything, but lets not go the carbon trading route, because that’s a fraud.

  9. If electic accounts for 30% of their emmisions, then why not switch their supplier to a carbon offset alternative, there are plenty out there.

    30% drop in CO2, done.

    1. Good idea! Wind farms for F1!

  10. I don’t think it should be entirely focussing in cutting emissions, but also increasing absorption. Put it this way, a race weekend at the old Hockenheim circuit would have probably been carbon neutral as the emissions from that weekend alone would have been cancelled out by the absorption rate of the massive forest it sits in.

    F1 fans have been wanting tracks where tracks are built based around the landscape, not the landscape being based around the track, so go back to the Zolders, don’t drop Spa and plant trees on these flat lifeless tracks to give them some character and the benefits are two-fold as you’re keeping the fans happy (somewhat important) and the the sport would be perceived in a good manner, therefore appealing to sponsors.

    I put a large amount of the problem down to Bernie to be honest. I think FOTAS plan is unrealistic given more and more flyaway races are appearing and the scheduling of these races means there is a heavy reliance of the use of airplanes. Its not as though the rounds are put in some form of geographic convenience is it? It would make sense for Abu Dhabi and Bahrain to be back to back races but as always money talks. I well in theory but…..

  11. It does irritaite me slightly when people go on about how little the carbon the cars produce comparitivley, sure, it’s relativley small but thats really not the point. The point is by developing green technolgies for performance and for their own sake on F1 cars, the entire world can benefit.

    Whinning that it makes little difference long term in untrue, an unhelpful.

    Still if prehaps Bernie could see to it that F1 does less flying backwards an fowards during the flyaways, well that would be just great.

    1. Even though i’m one of those people you’re talking about (I’d love seeing 2500bhp turbocharged V16’s!), I see why F1 wants to set an example (because everything is about going green these days). But the way they do it irritates me a lot. Why not let the team experiment with electric motors, hydrogen fuel cells, turbine engines and what not. Instead they opt to go for a technology that is developed by car manufacturers for years now, and that is close to perfection. If they really want to make a difference they shouldn’t do in it such a half assed way.

      1. I think we could readily argee on a wish for the teams to be able to go for all possible things you mention to get there.

        I think Scribe agrees with that as well.

      2. It’s quite difficult applying a framework that would both reduce costs & CO2 and also provide good quality racing.

        If the rules are relaxed too much then you will end up with far greater distances in performance between different teams, and therefore end up with rather predictable races.

        On the other hand, allowing teams to choose between different known technologies but similar overall lap times would create very good races. Different teams would have better performance at different parts of the track / portion of the race.

        For instance, KERS or F-Duct (but not both). Larger KERS capactors as a trade off for tighter restrictions on the diffuser, etc.

        1. And that is why I still think it’s a shame they haven’t gone for the budget limit. That would solve the cost aspect of things. And for the greater differences between teams, isn’t that the way it has always been? There is always one team better than others, and even if said team totally dominates the others, history has proven over and over again that it is only for a limited amount of time.

  12. I imagine that F1 would be able to save vast amounts of energy by simply switching off those thousands of lights and not running the Singapore and Abu Dhabi races at night.

    If Ecclestone persists in moving F1 into new regions it would save masses of aviation fuel by having, say, the middle Eastern GPs (Bahrain, Abu Dhabi) back to back rather than bookending the season. Likewise with Japan/Korea/Malaysia. At least the Turkish fans are saving lots of fuel by not turning up…

    While I agree that the fuel of the cars is almost insiginicant at less than 1% of the energy usage, it is important that F1 adapts with its technology for its public image. Contributing to efficiency of road-going vehicles is ultimately where the sport really can make a difference I don’t think the governing bodies are being naive in this instance.

  13. So does this mean KERS for motorhomes?

  14. i couldnt care less about the carbon footprint of F1

    1. Fair enough…
      I do.

  15. As far as the cars developing energy efficiency technologies for the road, the problem is not that we need green initiatives. It’s that we need to let teams actually develop engines. Racing brought us the turbo, intercooling, fuel injection, direct sequential injection, four-valve cylinder heads, the direct-shift gearbox. All of these things can now be found in a $30K road car and massively improve their efficiency as well as performance. F1 engine developments now have to do with exotic or incremental changes in materials, construction, cooling, and lubrication, none of which promise anything for the road at realistic cost. F1 is totally out of the game as far as road-relevant engine technology getting back to where it can lead requires radical change in the engine formula.

  16. The FIA should get another Antonov-225 built.

    This way, they can load up the entire grid and their all the peripheral equipment at one go. Reduces the number of flights required.

  17. look at it like this then,

    since the 1920s Grand Prix motor racing has been around, how many more years has it got before its reliance on OIL will come to an end?
    if a new source of fuel is not found within the the next 20-30years Motor racing is heading into pages of history.

    they should be looking at a new type of fuel or engine, to help the world reduce there carbon emissions.

  18. 1st. Stay in Europe and Middle east.
    2nd. More electric drive technology on the vehicles.
    3rd. Optimize the engines to be good with 100% Ethanol or E85.

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