Sustainable fuels are now powering historic race cars as Sebastien Vettel will demonstrate at Goodwood this summer, a development that will only accelerate in the coming years.
It is interesting to note that this year, it is estimated that 20% of the cars in action at this year’s Festival of Speed, the 30th edition of the event, will be powered by alternative methods, whether electric, hydrogen or synthetic fuels.
I also look at how racetracks are enhancing biodiversity in Sweden, the concern around EV fires at racetracks, environmentally friendly logistics and how sustainability is factoring into how F1 pitches brands.
All this and more in this week’s Sustainable Motorsport Roundup on Motorsport Prospects.
Sustainable Motorsport News
Four-time Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel will return to the Goodwood Festival of Speed this year and is due to drive F1 cars from his own collection up the hill. And they will all be powered by sustainable fuel.
All the cars Vettel drives at the event will be powered by sustainable fuels, following the ‘Race without Trace’ initiative he launched last year at Silverstone when he drove the FW14B using e-fuels.
The Duke of Richmond added: “His attitude towards sourcing alternative fuels absolutely aligns with our plans across the event and the wider Estate to ensure we are shining a light on this important topic and protect motorsport for the next generation.”
It is estimated that 20% of the cars in action at this year’s Festival of Speed, the 30th edition of the event, will be powered by alternative methods, whether electric, hydrogen or synthetic fuels.
A report published by the Svenska Bilsportförbundet (SBF) has proved that, if properly maintained, motorsport arenas can have a net positive impact on biodiversity, with the FIA stating that these arenas could be considered “assets to preserve and develop ecosystems”.
“Supporting Svenska Bilsportforbundet’s project was key for the FIA,” said Robert Reid, deputy president for sport, FIA. “This knowledge-led initiative gives us a better understanding of how motorsport arenas can offer good conditions for maintaining biodiversity and lays the ground for the adoption of sustainable practices. We encourage more initiatives aiming to develop biological diversity around motorsport arenas.”
Envision Racing has announced a significant new partnership with New Scientist – one of the world’s leading science and technology media brands – to reach and engage new audiences in the race against climate change.
“As an Official Partner of Envision Racing, New Scientist will work alongside the Team to create exciting and inspiring content to showcase the wealth of stories generated through a sport where sustainability and high-performance powerfully co-exist.”
“The partnership will also focus on Envision’s unique Race Against Climate Change program which is focussed on accelerating the transition to renewable energy and speed up the mass adoption of e-mobility.”
“Together New Scientist and Envision Racing will look to bring the world of science, sustainability, and technology to as many people around the world as possible using their combined publications, research, events, and digital channels.”
There has been both concern and derision aimed at racetracks that have banned EVs from competing but what is clear is that those on both sides of the debate often don’t understand why racetracks are giving hybrids and EVs the cold shoulder. It’s all about making sure the tracks can handle the unique issues caused by electrical fires on-track.
“What is known is that an electrified vehicle fire is a different animal than an internal combustion engine fire. Nobody debates that. It requires different equipment, it requires different training, and that represents an investment for a track to make to be future-forward.”
The push towards net zero and reversing climate change has touched everyone in every industry, but it means very different things to different people. It is essential for there to be a global concerted effort to reduce our impact on the environment and create economic solutions that put climate at their centre without bankrupting the world.
The recent Net Zero & Climate Change Forum featured a panel of experts, Ellis Spiezia, Electric Racing Driver at Ellysium Racing (and Motorsport Prospects contributor) and Karli Anderson, EVP, Chief People & ESG Officer and Head of Communications at Summit Materials discuss what net zero and climate change mean for their business and how you can implement new policies to tackle environmental issues for the future. You can watch the panel in the video above.
In the video above, Formula-E world champion and UN Environment Programme Clean Air Advocate Lucas di Grassi discusses the intersection of sustainability, technology and sports and shares how he is working to advance net zero initiatives in his native Brazil and beyond.
One of the biggest barriers to sustainability in motorsport, especially in international series such as Formula 1 and Formula E, are related to logistics. at Porsche in the Logistics Planning Strategy and Standards department, Markus Fritzsche leads the effort to achieve ‘environmentally friendly logistics’. This will give a good example of some of the challenges faced in implementing sustainable global logistics.
Sustainable Motorsport Tech
Toyota has announced that their liquid hydrogen GR Corolla will compete at the Fuji 24 Hours.
“This car competes in the ST-Q class, a category set up with the goal of developing technology that will play a part in creating our future mobility society,” explained Koji Sato, president of Toyota. “The purpose of such testing is to identify issues. Getting a car running on liquid hydrogen at racing speeds is something no one in the world has ever done before. The key is figuring out how to build on the issues that emerge. We plan to keep moving forward with continuous improvement.”
Mercedes-Benz wants to see what its Formula 1 team can do away from the race track reports The Robb Report. The German luxury marque has enlisted the U.K.-based team in its quest to build more efficient EVs, reports Reuters. The legacy automaker hopes that the unorthodox move will help it better keep pace with Tesla.
The issues I mentioned above about EV fires at racetracks is a definite problem, but a solvable one. This new fire truck is designed just for EV fires.
Organizers of the STCC have confirmed that a second city event will be added to the schedule for the 2024 season. Gothenburg has been confirmed as part of a three-year deal that will come into effect next year.
“We are extremely proud to continue our expansion back into the cities and above all to return to Gothenburg with a long-term collaboration – a city with a strong interest in motoring and leading environmental work,” Micke Bern, CEO of STCC, said.
In his recent appearance at the World Congress of Sports, F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali addressed a number of issues while talking about advancing the sport’s profile and his comments on sustainability were particularly interesting.
“Domenicali said that when F1 goes to pitch brands these days, the first question F1 execs get almost without exception is their sustainability plan, underscoring how brand marketers are wary of aligning with racing properties that aren’t prioritizing plans to reduce its carbon footprint. Domenicali said that the sustainable fuels it is developing to start racing with in 2026 can help contribute to developing technology to use such fuels in not just road cars but also planes.”