Idea for sustainable fuel: Formula 1 wants to make road traffic green

In five years’ time, Formula 1 wants to use a 100 percent sustainable fuel. Even better: It should be able to be used not only for racing cars, but also in road traffic. However, the motorsport premier class also thwarted its commitment to a better environment.

Sebastian Vettel has long since earned the reputation of a Formula 1 critic – as an active driver, mind you. The four-time world champion had to and must take a lot of criticism because of alleged hypocrisy, but one of the Heppenheimers’ key demands, the call for more “relevance” for road traffic, has apparently been answered by the racing series.

By the time cheaper and simpler engines are introduced, Formula 1 wants to have developed a fuel that is not only 100 percent sustainable, but can also be used “in every series vehicle with a combustion engine”. The series announced this ambitious plan.

The greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil gasoline should be reduced with this fuel “by at least 65 percent”. This should be made possible, among other things, through the binding and use of CO2 or the use of non-food biomass (algae, agricultural waste and inedible plants) in production.

The processes, explained Pat Symonds, Technical Director of Formula 1, are, however, still “very, very experimental,” and so far they are in the early stages of the pilot phase. Nevertheless: If the project succeeds – in cooperation with several oil companies active in Formula 1 – it would be a coup. Especially since the premier class calculates that by 2030, more than 90 percent of cars worldwide will still be powered by an internal combustion engine.

Itinerary contradicts ambitions

In the here and now, the motorsport premier class still offers plenty of attack surface, despite its ambitious goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2030. The calendar planned for 2022 is particularly irritating. Unprecedented 23 races within eight months in Europe, Asia, Australia and North and South America are planned. Among other things, the route includes the stops Saudi Arabia, Australia, China, USA and Spain in the spring. From Monaco it goes in early summer via Azerbaijan to Canada and from there to Great Britain.

This does not seem sustainable, among other things, Vettel had recently spoken out in favor of a calendar that is more regionally planned. But as it is, Formula 1 must once again put up with the accusation of following the trail of money. This is at the expense of the environment and many employees of the Grand Prix circus who are busy with assembly and dismantling and, unlike the drivers, cannot even travel home for a short time – which usually happens by plane.

“The goal must be to make our season sustainable, not only for the environment, but also for the staff,” said Vettel on Thursday on the sidelines of the Turkish Grand Prix (Sunday, 2:00 p.m. CEST / Sky): “It should be like this that people also have a normal life, that they can be there for their families. We have to be very careful. “