There is no green in Formula One

Many people enjoy Formula One racing in which extremely powerful cars race around a racetrack over a season. I am not one of those who enjoy motor racing or indeed driving, but that is a personal thing and I ought to declare my prejudice against the “sport of F1 at the outset.

As I understand it, the specifications for the cars are highly regulated, from a technical perspective. All the manufacturers that race must comply with certain standards, which change every season. That makes sense, and no doubt increases the spectacle that the industry offers to those that enjoy it.  The Formula One Teams’ Association is now looking for ways to reduce emissions by 15% on three years’ time. No doubt they are being pushed by sponsors, on whom the industry depends, to clean up their act and appear more “green” than they are now. That would not be hard. A 15% reduction in three years time hard seems to be the stuff of which climate change prevention is made of, and more of a publicity matter.

Of course it is simplistic to think of the fuel being used and the emissions created during the race and the practice prior to racing. Each team has a huge logistic operation as they fly from China to Germany and indeed as they haul their equipment, personnel and cars all over the world in the course of a season.

There is no way in which F1 racing is a “green” industry or can ever be one. Car manufacturers claim that the industry has been responsible for many innovations which have fed down to ordinary cars; most of those innovations relate to safety and performance – the ability to make cars go faster and faster, far faster that speed limits allow. The Formula One industry, and indeed all motor racing, is a climate change occupation, not a climate saving one.

The industry is “considering” reducing the fuel permitted. At the moment 160kg of fuel is allowed and they are suggesting that may be they can reduce this from 2013 over a five year period to 80kg. This idea is very similar to the ideas emanating from Government about climate change; everyone in a position to fight climate change in a meaningful way, from the Prime Minister of the President right down to the ordinary folk, think that they can change their bad habits very slowly and hope that they may never have to change their bad habits at all. After all a new form of carbon free cheap energy may be invented or we might find a way to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or renewables might improve and become cheaper.

There are “pet” projects that every nation has, often proving very expensive and making no difference. For example electric cars in the UK attract a subsidy of £5000 ($7,500) even though they do not save emissions but remove them from the streets to the power stations. The theory is that the car industry will adopt electric cars as the subsidy will improve demand and enable the car manufacturers to get economies of scale.

This is clearly trying to use a “painless” option and does not vest itself in reality. If electric cars are useful in lowering emissions then the answer is not to subsidise the car industry or the driver but to require them, legally, in city centres where there is great health damage cause by vehicle emissions. That however would be a more painful option involving legislation which will attract no doubt howls of protest in which every protestor would claim many reasons why the proposed law should not apply to him or her. That is the problem with climate change – virtually everyone from the largest oil producer to the average punter thinks they should be exempt from the changes which fighting climate change inevitably create.

The interesting thing is that even though there is a body of climate change sceptics who are scientists, most of those, like Bjorn Lomborg accept the physics of climate change by greenhouse gases but regard the human element as bearing a small responsibility – around 25% rather than the 85% that general body of scientific opinion seems to settle on.

Whatever truth may ultimately emerge it is important that we have at the core of our behaviour and activity a responsibility to emit as few particulates and as little greenhouse gas as we can, and Formula One is now trying to disguise how it shirks that responsibility, along with everyone else.

6 Responses

  1. Formula 1 cars use 300 pounds of gasoline per race, 50 gallons and have 30 cars per race, 1500 pounds of fuel which is a microscopic amount in our economy, but millions of people enjoy watching and they have contributed to the safety of all vehicles. Our annual road kill is down 14% since our manufacturers started paying attention to safety improvements, safety belts, air-bags, disc brakes, automatic fuel pump shutoffs, etc. have been implemented. Racing contributes to safety and is a great spectator sport.

    But more importantly, CO2 fear, paranoia and anthropogenic global warming are nonsense. See the truth at with petitions signed by thousands of scientists, papers and more to save us from really dangerous environmentalists who are international socialists seeking power over the people.

    • You have to consider the additional emissions from transporting the teams all over the world, practice and testing. Ralph Nadar did more for car safety that Formula One. Climate change is nothing to do with socialism. It is to do with survival. The danger is not being an environmentalist, but being ignorant of the facts which support, on the best evidence available the concept of anthropogenic climate change. Robert

  2. Adrian, the point you make about F1 giving pleasure could be said of fox hunting bull baiting dog fighting and bull fighting!

  3. In my view, the underlying (and just as important) issue is over-population. If the world population halved we would have no problem. By the same token, if it doubles in the next 20 years will CO2 reduction strategies won’t work. The earth could overheat just from body heat!

  4. As Adrian says our Co2 contributions are like someone taking a leak in the ocean and expecting it to rise suddenly, it is certainly sheer and utter nonsence indeed.

    The ammount of waste we all throw away produces a huge amount of pollution and still its nothing, leaves and rotting vedgitation and many other naturals outway all of our pollution for the last 100 years each and every year by far.

    That is how we got our gowing gasses in the first place, a world covered in vedgitation was a hot house for sure, unlike the cooling sphere we are now witnessing in the Northern hemisphere today.

    We had many times more C02 during the medieval warming period, which all independant ice core data records from many different countries has proven, where corn was being grown in Greenland for insrtance.

    Please lets not clutch at straws, if the false flags that have and are continually being flown in the name of money or in other words, Paying to Pollute we will be paying through the nose litterally.

    As far as overpopulation goes, we are a very long way from serious overcrowding, natural energy like Robert is promotong could supply us all the energy we would ever need, in a single day there is enough energy hitting the ground that could supply us all our energy for a whole year.

    Until the vested greedy interests are exposed and the alternative technologies that the energy companies have bought up and shelved over the last few decades for their own benefit, we will go nowhere, be like slaves and becon to their drip feeding of the plentifull energy all around us.

    Please folks do your reserch well and listen to your own hearts, and watch out for others, because in the future we won’t have much of one being ruled by only a few, who control the energy money.

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