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The Race to Save the Planet: Can F1 Lead the Way in Climate Action?

As a huge fan of the motorsport F1, in relation to climate change, you have to ask yourself the question can Formula 1 as an industry really do anything to help the large issue of climate change? Formula 1 is the largest and most popular motorsport on the planet. It has encapsulated fans from all over the globe as millions tune in to watch a race weekend. However due to the very nature of the sport, carbon emissions will always be somewhat high due to the car currently being powered by fossil fuel. Many climate activists wish to the see the sport gone as they can't see a viable way for the sport to continue and be seen as 'carbon neutral'. But as time has moved on, the industry is starting to make overall changes to the sport.

How they are tackling climate change?

The sport's environmental impact has been a topic for debate for years now and has been heavily criticised in the past. Due to this, Formula 1 within the next decade or so will implement a lot of changes into the sport in order to make it more environmentally friendly. One of the ways they are starting to change is by starting to use sustainable fuels.

"when Formula 1 cars take to the track for the first time in 2026 they'll do so powered by carbon-neutral synthetic fuels"

The use of synthetic fuel or bio-fuel compared to fossil fuels have a significantly lower carbon footprint than traditional fossil fuels do. By using these fuels, F1 can reduce its carbon emissions and contribute to a more sustainable future. Another way in which they are tackling climate change is their current major project of the sport which is called 'Net Zero Carbon' by 2030. This project aims to develop a fuel that is 100% sustainable. Alongside this they are ridding the use of single-use plastics and changing their travel freight logistics in order to reduce their carbon footprint. This project that is to be implemented by 2030 is an example of carbon offsetting which essentially is the removal of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse in order to compensate for emissions made elsewhere. A big part of the race weekends is the temporary office setups that they have. They now use 100% renewable energy whilst the broadcast operations are also looking to source alternative biofuel in order to run their generators. All of these steps are significant to reduce the impact of F1 on the environment, and it shows a strong commitment to climate action.

The use of platform

F1 is a multi-billion industry in which has an immense platform and influence. They can and have used their platform to inform fans and watchers the work they are doing to combat climate change. The sport has a large and passionate fan base, and it can use its platform to raise awareness about climate change and promote sustainable practises. F1 teams and drivers can also educate fans about the environmental impact of motorsport and encourage them to adopt sustainable practices in their daily lives. In my opinion, it is really important that the industry does this. What is the use of having a huge platform when you don't use it to voice your actions? This industry has done well to voice their plans for the future and hopefully their plans shall come to fruition. As mentioned earlier, not only the industry, but the drivers also use their platform to put forward their voice. These drivers are portrayed as superstars to their fan base so they have a big influence to their fans on what they say. Drivers such as Lewis Hamilton and, recently retired, Sebastien Vettel were very active on addressing the climate issues the sport puts forward. They helped keep their fans and followers updated with the current changes and future implementations to ensure the issue is actually being addressed in which I believe is very important.

Can F1 really lead the way?

The question of whether F1 can lead the way in climate action is a complex one. While the sport has taken necessary steps in recent years to reduce its environmental impact, are the changes enough to offset the heavy carbon nature of the sport? F1 must continue to invest in sustainable technologies and practises, and work to raise awareness about the importance of climate action. The sport must also work with its partners, such as engine manufacturers and sponsors, to promote sustainability and encourage them to take a more proactive role in reducing their environmental impact. F1 still has a long way to go in terms of reducing its environmental impact. One of the major challenges facing the sport is the sheer scale of the events. F1 races require a substantial amount of energy, form powering the cars to lighting and air conditioning to the facilities. F1 teams and organisers must implement energy-efficient practices to reduce their environmental impact. This will require a significant investment in infrastructure and technology, but it is a necessary step towards achieving sustainability in the sport.

In conclusion, whilst it can be heavily argued that formula-one shouldn't carry on due to the environmental impact, I believe the race to save the planet is a collective effort that requires action from all sectors of society. I believe it isn't fair to play the blame game when there are necessary actions put forth to reduce the impact. While there is still much work to be done, the commitment of F1 to climate action is a positive step towards achieving a more sustainable future. F1 has an important role to play in future as they may not single-handedly save the world from climate change but the steps that they have put forward may inspire other carbon heavy industries to start carbon offsetting in order to combat climate change. The road to combat climate change is long and far from linear, I hope you enjoyed reading.

Asad Ahmed


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