Formula E is starting to mature as a racing series and this week’s Sustainable Motorsport Roundup brings you some opinions as to why.
In addition to Formula E, this week I cover topics ranging from how Mercedes F1 plans to become the world’s most sustainable sports team to how greenwashing is going to start to have legal consequences in the EU and beyond.
I also look at Michelin’s sustainable tire push, why Porsche is focused on “Double E”, the relevance of biofuel and how F1 batteries are developed.
All this and more in this week’s Sustainable Motorsport Roundup on Motorsport Prospects. Its green news racers can use.
Sustainable Motorsport News
The Sustainability Report has a great interview with Mercedes F1’s head of sustainability, Alice Ashpitel, as she discusses the team’s ambition to be the world’s most sustainable sports team. “Being able to show that you can go racing at the highest level and that you can get to all of the races across the European season, be competitive on track and do that in a sustainably fuelled way is going to be really key. And that’s what we hope we can use our platform to demonstrate. It’s really pleasing to see F1 also just announced that its got biofuels in its trucks for this season as well. It’s about creating this wave of change and showing that there is an appetite in the market as well, and that will hopefully stimulate further uptake.”
Autoweek talks to Andretti Formula E Team Principal Roger Griffiths to find out why Michael Andretti and Andretti Autosport are in Formula E. “A conversation at Long Beach, Calif., with Formula E founders and cousins Alberto Longo and Alejandro Agag, proved Agag a persuasive salesman. But it didn’t take that much cajoling, even though, as Griffiths recalled before the recent Formula E Prix at Monaco, that Michael Andretti was warm to the series’ mission of sustainability: “Michael’s certainly got a pretty broad outlook on the world in general and what we need to be doing to find ourselves in a better place to be living for our children and grandchildren and for the rest of us. Formula E was a step in that right direction.””
Carbon Positive Motorsport have done something interesting on their blog this week. They used ChatGPT to write a blog post on the topic: What sport has the highest carbon footprint? It is a fascinating read. “Overall, while motorsport is often considered to have a higher carbon footprint due to the nature of the sport, football and golf can also have substantial emissions depending on various factors such as stadium size, energy consumption, travel distances, and sustainability practices implemented within the respective sports.”
Enel X Global Retail and Ferrari are doing some exciting work to accelerate Maranello’s renewables journey. “Enel X Global Retail is helping Ferrari and the luxury sports car maker’s surrounding area accelerate on their journey to increased sustainability. One year after having teamed up to create a photovoltaic system to power part of the luxury auto brand’s Maranello factory, Enel X Global Retail and Ferrari have teamed up again, this time to create Italy’s first industrial Renewable Energy Community (REC), a new, equally ambitious project that will further assist the Prancing Horse and the surrounding territory reach carbon neutrality goals.”
LawinSport has a comprehensive article on how business can avoid greenwashing in sport by staying onside amidst increased regulatory scrutiny. “As a general takeaway, with sports organisations, their commercial partners and potentially even professional players and athletes themselves under increasing pressure from fans, sponsors and the public at large to promote their green credentials, it is no doubt mutually beneficial in the current regulatory climate, for greater diligence to ensure that environmental claims made are carefully considered and appropriately substantiated.”
Sustainable Motorsport Tech
Michelin is planning to introduce new tire specifications for the Hypercar and GTP classes in 2025 as it seeks to increase longevity and the proportion of sustainable materials used. The next-generation tires are projected to include more bio-sourced, renewable and recyclable materials while also facilitating longer stints.
According to Michelin, 75 percent of the environmental footprint of a racing tire can be traced to the materials, with the remaining 15 percent being attributed to the rest of its life cycle including use on the track. “We have 30 percent [sustainable materials] for the slick this year and 40 percent for the wet. We’re going to increase it. It’s going to be over 40 percent for the slick and 50 percent for the wet.”
Through a key partnership with technology giant AERO, Jaguar TCS Racing is set to undergo a series of sustainable refinements to its Jaguar I-TYPE 6 starting with the next race on the calendar in Portland according to Green Racing News.
“AERO’s advanced urethane technology forms the black, white and gold livery of the I-TYPE 6, and is an alternative to traditional wrapping with an aerodynamic and sustainable manufacturing and application process. The aforementioned features create minimal impact on the environment with no polyvinyl chloride (PVC) compounds, emits no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and produces zero carbon dioxide (CO2).”
Barbara Frenkel kicked off a new era for Porsche when she opened the Haru Oni pilot facility for the production of sustainable eFuels with international partners in Punta Arenas, Chile, in December 2022. In the Christophorus interview, she talks about her first two years as a member of the Porsche Executive Board, Procurement, and provides insights into the major challenges of today.
“We view double E as a key element of sustainability and prioritize electric mobility. We’re making every effort to ensure that more than 80 percent of our new vehicles feature an all-electric drive by 2030, which makes us a pioneer in our industry. And eFuels are then of course a sensible complement, as they can help decarbonize transportation with immediate effect. We’re thinking of our existing fleet, in particular. In other words, all of the Porsche vehicles with a gasoline engine that are already on the road – and will continue to be for a long time to come.”
Green Racing News looks at the relevance of biofuels for the sustainable transition of motorsports. “The adoption of biofuels in motorsports stimulates research and development of more efficient and environmentally friendly technologies, due to the challenge of innovation and technological progress in the field of racing.”
A sustainable petrol developed specifically for classic vehicles, named Sustain Classic, is now available from Coryton. The plant-based petrol comes in three different types and is a drop-in alternative to conventional petrol. “Coryton states that Sustain Classic will deliver a 65% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil fuels due to its high sustainable content. The company produces the sustainable petrol using an advanced second-generation biofuel manufactured from agricultural waste, including straw, by products or waste from crops.”
Autosport Plus looks at the science behind battery development and use in F1. “While development focus is on cathodes, anodes are also being experimented upon and the addition of silicon to the graphite material looking promising. Focus is also turning to other chemistries such as sodium-ion. Sodium is abundant and starting to challenge the efficiency of LFP cells.”
Under a new scope of work (SoW), IperionX will supply titanium metal components to Ford, using 100% recycled and low-carbon titanium metal. The companies have been working together to design, test and additively manufacture titanium components for use in Ford Performance production vehicles.
While not completely motorsport-related, the Mercedes-Benz Vision One-Eleven and Porsche Mission X demonstrate some incredible advances in technology that could very well see its place in motorsport in the future.
As Formula E announces the debut of Tokyo on the 2024 calendar, they are also returning to Portland for their American stop but have they given up on New York? And does the series really need a marquee race?
By all accounts, Formula E is finally starting to hit its stride after a rocky 2022 nad start of the Gen3 era this year. Here are two articles that look at how the series has been performing in 2023 so far and how it is living up to its potential.
- After a rocky start, Formula E’s Gen3 car is living up to its potential
- Special Report: ABB FIA Formula E Racing Series Is Mature Well Beyond Its Years
The FIA has released details of the tender requirements for the next generation of Formula E cars. As revealed by The Race last month, a deployment of up to 600kW of power will be available with scope for differing power modes to be made available for specific races. “The move to increase the available power comes to both escalate the ‘wow’ factor of all-electric race cars but also to ensure that the technical package is not compromised in areas, such has been the case with the Gen3 project, which had a troubled gestation on many levels.”
In my final bit of Formula E news, here is a great article on the Maserati MSG Racing website that looks at Maserati MSG Racing, Formula E, and the drive for social sustainability.
JuliaPallé, Formula E’s Sustainability Director, explains the correlation between environmental and social sustainability, and how the series plans to change motorsport for the better. “Environmental and social sustainability absolutely go hand-in-hand,” explains Julia. “Sustainability is about environmental protection, social inclusivity, and economic prosperity and I think it’s important to acknowledge that if you want to save the planet, you need to save the people. With climate change, our planet will adapt, but it’s our own species that is at threat from global warming. We need to take care of ourselves, fulfil the basic needs from a human perspective, and make sure that people are a part of society. Everything is inter-connected.”
“Formula E has a clear vision – accelerating sustainable human progress, and within that, social sustainability has its own dedicated pillar, alongside environmental protection, and economic prosperity.”
“Ace Championship isn’t just hoping to develop a new crop of drivers each season. The series will also offer opportunities for ages 15-25 who are interested in engineering, communications, marketing and other aspects of motorsport to get real-world experience. Gill said that during his eight years in England at the reins of Mahindra Racing, guest lectures opened his eyes to the fact that nearly 30 percent of university students in motorsport disciplines were from Asia. “What are they going to do next?” he asked himself. “Could something like [Ace] help them find a path?” Gill further explained that Ace would offer a scholarship program to reduce the financial burden even more. “Some talented folks who can’t afford getting in, we will be supporting them,” he said.”
NXT Gen Cup will start a long-term cooperation with leading battery producer Clarios and its VARTA brand for its inaugural season, a cooperation focused on innovative battery technology and education of young mechanics. “Clarios, with its VARTA brand, is the world’s leading battery manufacturer and number one original equipment supplier for all major car and commercial vehicle manufacturers. Six out of ten new vehicles in Europe are equipped with a Clarios battery. The robust design of VARTA AGM xEV batteries allows them to fulfil current and even future requirements of electric and hybrid vehicles.”
Formula 1 has become the first motor sport Championship to have all member Teams achieve FIA Three-Star Environmental Accreditation, the highest level of environmental sustainability recognition from the sport’s governing body. The FIA Formula One World Championship has also renewed its own Three-Star Environmental Accreditation as the sport continues its journey to become Net Zero by 2030.
Regularity rally organiser HERO-ERA are celebrating a successful inaugural ‘Rally for the Ages’, which took place with a capacity 90 entries on June 3. The event was notable for its partnership with Coryton Fuels, who provided free-to-use suistanable biofuel for all entrants in an effort to keep emissions to a minimum. An impressive 70 of the 90 vehicles ran on the fuel.
This year’s Pikes Peak lineup includes more electric cars but plenty of ICE-powered cars as well. “I’m coming back with the Unplugged Performance Tesla Model S Plaid we call Dark Helmet,” Randy Pobst announced on his Instagram.
“The Model S is the work of noted Tesla tuner Unplugged Performance, which is as close to an AMG or an M as Tesla’s likely to get. Dark Helmet’s modifications include massive aero add-ons front and rear, Ohlins TTX 4-way coilovers, Unplugged Performance full suspension links package, carbon-ceramic brakes, carbon-fiber widebody, and 330/710-19 Yokohama A005 slicks.”
Finally, Extreme E has extended its net zero mission partnership with carbon project developer Allcot.
Ali Russell, Chief Marketing Officer, at Extreme E, commented, “We’re delighted to continue our work with Allcot for Season 3, where we will ensure Extreme E continues to offset our carbon footprint at the end of each racing year. Extreme E has always strived to make a difference, leveraging the global influence of motorsport to showcase solutions to pressing climate issues. Allcot’s collaboration as Extreme E’s official environmental contribution partner will ensure that the Championship can minimise, measure and offset its environmental impact, as well as continue to effect lasting change. We look forward to progressing our work together.”