In this issue of the Sustainable Motorsport Round-Up I look at sustainable motorsport as a whole and then dive into some series-specific news and initiatives. I then end things off with some interesting developments in the bigger field of sustainable motorsport. Let’s go!
The Big Picture
- One thing I keep stressing whenever the topic of sustainable motorsport comes up is that the future of motorsport is eclectic. What I mean is that we should not be dictating how a racing series or team for that matter goes carbon neutral but that their environmental footprint will be part of the envelope that regulates them and that they can use whatever technology they decide on to hit both those sustainability targets and their performance goals. This is the position of Robert Reid who is running on the Mohammed ben Sulayem ticket in the upcoming FIA Presidential elections. “So we need to come up with solutions that satisfy all the different needs. We’ve got a big opportunity because we’ve got so many different disciplines, that we can have different solutions in different disciplines.” Electric battery will suit some series, hydrogen others and still others will need to use sustainably-fueled internal combustion engines for the time being. The end result is what should be stressed, not how the various series get there.
- The FIA has announced that they have reached carbon neutrality in 2021 and have obtained ISO 14001:2015 certification in line with its environmental strategy.
- The PRI show concluded last weekend and Autoweek discusses 10 Things That Caught Our Eye at PRI. Notice the preponderance of sustainability-related technologies that made their list?
- While the focus in sustainable motorsport is on batteries, hydrogen and synthetic fuels, over at Koenigsegg, internal combustion is still king. While you may think they are mired in the past that is far from the truth. Technologies such as Freevalve pared with hybrid engines running on sustainable fuel makes a compelling argument that the ICE can still play its part in a sustainable future.
- BlackBook’s latest report: How sustainable motorsport can accelerate a low-carbon future is now available and makes for some fascinating reading. The report shines the spotlight on some of the biggest players making the most significant changes to advance social and environmental sustainability in the motorsport industry.
- The ERA Championship is gearing up for their first European season in 2022 and have listed 5 Great Reasons to Race Electric.
- The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has signed new contracts to host Formula 1 and MotoGP and with that is a renewed sustainability push. “We want the circuit to become an exponent of the green transformation and the adaptation of infrastructures to the demands of the climate emergency.”
- Porsche is attacking sustainability on multiple fronts with their push for e-fuels, their Mission R concept and their work in batteries. What is Porsche looking for in a battery? Power, fast charging and reduced pollution.
Formula E as I like to say is entering their teenage years and with that have come a number of challenges. The last few weeks have certainly kept them in the news as they address these and more.
- “We have to behave like a world championship” says Formula E CEO Jamie Reigle as he describes what’s next for the series.
- Julia Pallé, Sustainability Director at Formula E talks about how to break down barriers for the EV sector, what Formula E does for sustainable innovation and what Formula E was doing at COP26 in Glasgow in the video below.
- Formula E’s focus on inner-city racing is causing them headaches on a number of fronts. Recently Alberto Longo has had to assure the press and stakeholders that the Indonesian E-Prix is organized with full transparency. On top of that, Covid is causing innumerable headaches with their scheduling in 2022.
- Along with venue and calendar headaches, it is no secret that Formula E has lost manufacturers but could Porsche be next? They have admitted that their F1 interest will “influence” their decision to continue in Formula E.
- While the Race looks at Why Formula E is struggling to coax new manufacturers, there is hope on the horizon as Maserati could enter Formula E from 2023.
- One cool sign of green tech and Formula E being in sync is DS Techeetah’s recent announcement of a multi-year partnership with Li-Cycle, a “global leader in EV battery recycling.
- Formula E is not sitting still though as they have recently announced their Gen 3 car as well as a cost cap for teams and manufacturers. And they have already started work on an update to their Gen3 car for 2025.
- Formula 1 is moving confidently towards a more sustainable future, something that I am sure Formula E is looking warily at. With its popularity increasing to climb thanks to the “Netflix effect”, new details have been announced about their 2025/26 cost-capped engine. The engine is to use 100% sustainable fuel and increase its electrical power from 120kW to 350kW as well as ditching the MGU-H. This may just be enough to (finally) convince Porsche and Audi to get on the F1 bus.
- Extreme E has made quite the splash in 2021 but they have also suffered teething problems which is only natural in the first year of a series. While the series has the power to influence the Sustainable Transition, series boss Alejandro Agag has had to defend Extreme E visiting wealthy economies in its climate push. He does bring up a very important point that we should keep in mind though, a point that applies to any sport. Agag has stated, much to the chagrin of some I am sure “Everyone can help privately but we are a motor racing championship that uses motorsport to break the bubble and to bring environmental action, a message, to a wider audience, to a motorsport audience.”
Sustainable Motorsport in Other Series
- Motor Trend has taken the Hyundai RM20e EV Prototype for a test drive and loved what they were feeling. In their view “electric track cars are going to be sweet.”
- As Audi gets ready for new adventures, check out the cockpit of the Audi RS Q e-tron for the Dakar Rally.
- Speaking of cockpits, check out the video below as test driver Stéphane Richelmi gives us a tour of the one in the Mission H24 prototype.
- Here is how the Total Karting e-kart works.
- Road & Track discuss what the Mission R Concept Tells Us About Porsche’s Electric Future.
- Bike Sport News has published an interesting Special report: Electric bikes and the future of racing…
- Nissan has revealed their high-performance Ariya Single Seater Concept and it is wild!
Getting to the Track
As a lot of motorsport requires shuttling cars and personnel around the world, so sustainable aviation would go a long way to diminishing its carbon imprint. Here are three articles related to sustainable aviation and the promise (and complexity) that sustainable aviation pose.
- Flying from London to San Francisco on a single tank of liquid hydrogen: UK unveils taxpayer-backed concept plane
- United Just Flew the First Passenger Flight Using 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuel
That is it for this edition of the Sustainable Motorsport Round-Up. See you all in 2022!