A very recurring topic in recent years is global warming caused by humans and their activities with the relationship between motorsport and sustainability becoming increasingly important.
This problem, with the consequent criticisms and attempts to run for cover, has not spared the world of sport, in particular motorsport, which has always been accused of emitting more carbon dioxide due to the use of racing vehicles, although studies indicate that these emit only 1% and that over 70% of CO2 emissions are due to logistics and travel, a factor common to many sports.
As a result, sponsoring companies pay more and more attention to the sustainability of a particular sport before investing large sums of money. The ball then passed to the leagues and to the teams who had to develop sustainability strategies and programs to meet the needs of potential sponsors. And in this sense, which of the two top motorsport series is doing better?
Now in its eighth edition, over time Formula E has made some changes not only from a technical point of view and therefore related to the cars, such as improvements to the electric batteries in such a way as to compete an entire E-Prix with only one battery, but also from an environmental point of view: in the first four seasons the series implemented a recycling program for all first-generation Li-Ion batteries. Since 2018, however, it has begun to tackle the problem of disposable plastic bottles by installing water dispensers during events. Finally, in 2021, it pioneered the recycling of carbon fiber from broken car parts.
All this, together with the right measurement and offsetting of carbon emissions, has allowed it to become the first sports championship entirely recognized as carbon neutral.
The Formula E Championship, at the forefront of sustainability, in its short course of life has already been awarded multiple certifications at a global level: in 2020 it was awarded three stars for environmental sustainability by the FIA (International Automobile Federation), while in 2021 it obtained the ISO20121 certification (management standard for the sustainable organization of events) and received the highest score from what is the first and only sustainability index, the "Sustainable Motorsport Index" created by Enovation Consulting which examines 106 international motorsport championships.
But what about the best known and most followed Formula 1? Always considered the least sustainable championship, in recent years it has made great strides in this field, so much so that it was awarded three FIA stars in 2021, also thanks to the hard work of the various participating teams, who seem to have taken the issue of sustainability very seriously.
In addition, the series has set itself a very ambitious goal, namely the achievement of a zero-emissions level by 2030. This goal goes beyond the technology of car engines but also concerns the total reduction of the waste of resources on track and logistics optimization. In fact, from 2023 the races will be grouped by continent, to avoid frequent trips from one side of the globe to the other.
However, sustainability is not only environmental but also social. It should be emphasized that both Formula 1 and Formula E have developed very interesting projects, such as: “F1 in Schools”, “Girls on Track” and “Project Pitlane”. Projects that aim to bring young people closer to the study of science subjects, to bring girls into contact with a world historically with a male connotation, and the development of 20,000 NHS ventilators during the pandemic.
In the "Enovation Consulting's sustainability index", Formula 1 took second place, just behind its "cousin" Formula E, but the imminent arrival of other car manufacturers and the ongoing sustainability strategy with the use of 100% biofuel from 2025 suggests that, within a few years, the positions could align and Formula 1, thanks also to the ever-growing and vastly superior audience to Formula E, could be the place to be.
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