I have a lot of great sustainable motorsport developments to bring you this week. From maximizing efficiencies in scheduling in order to minimize environmental impacts to hydrogen-powered hot rods, there is something here for everyone. Developments just keep accelerating!
The Big Picture
- As I discussed in last week’s Business of Motorsport, cryptocurrency sponsorship has exploded on the Formula 1 grid. One issue that people are becoming more aware of is the potentially adverse impact that crypto has on the environment. In How crypto has become F1’s latest sponsorship addiction, Dieter Rencken addresses this particular issue and how the teams are justifying these investments. “The sustainability argument is extremely important,” agrees Mercedes F1 CEO Toto Wolff, “but it is not only about mining and the energy that it consumes, but also where the energy comes from. But you can’t shut yourself down to modern technology. It’s definitely an area that will grow.”
- Formula E driver Lucas Di Grassi explains the difference between air pollution and carbon neutrality in Air pollution and carbon neutrality aren’t the same thing. “As you can see, we don’t have a silver bullet – a unique all wonder solution – for our carbon neutrality and air pollution problem. A combination of technologies and uses must be developed side by side so we can decrease our impact on the planet and human health while providing faster, better, and improved quality of life for all world’s population.”
- Supply chain issues have forced IndyCar to delay the start of its hybrid era to 2024. According to series officials, the 2.4-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 engine with hybrid technology is expected to produce 800 horsepower as a baseline. The addition of the hybrid system is said to give an additional boost of 100 horsepower to ultimately produce 900. Luckily, the delay is not stalling development of the new engine technology with the first on-track test of the new engine scheduled for Wednesday, March 30 and Thursday, March 31 at Sebring International Raceway.
- As always, Marshall Pruett does a deep dive into the news and explains how IndyCar’s hybrid delay is the right call.
- Blackbook Motorsport spoke with Formula E’s Sustainability Director Julia Pallé about how Formula E is leading motorsport’s sustainability challenge. “Sustainability has always been at the core of Formula E,” says Julia Pallé, the series’ sustainability director. “We’re one of the first real purpose-driven brands that was created to solve the issues and bring the solution to climate change in the field of mobility by advancing electrification. The sustainable strategic culture within the business has become extremely evolved in a positive way. We started with a compact focus on the environmental protection side of sustainability. We’ve really grown the scope in adding the social inclusivity element, and then providing economic prosperity.”
- Julia also spoke to Sustainability Magazine about how Formula E promotes sustainability with electric motorsports. “Formula E was not created because the world needed another racing series. It was created to accelerate positive action around climate change, especially around emissions in cities and drive forward the development and uptake of electric vehicles. Having that purpose at the heart of the business and the sport always makes us go further with each race to become more and more sustainable.”
- One of the biggest sustainability challenges for motorsport is the logistics challenges of getting race cars and teams to the various circuits they race on around the globe. Formula E intends to start tackling this problem with the first season of the Gen 3 car where they will be going to a schedule straddling 2 years. But that is not all. Formula E co-founder and current chief championship officer and deputy CEO Alberto Longo said tighter and more efficient logistic plans for next season will have a large influence on specific legs of the first Gen3 calendar. Formula E is undertaking a revamp of its freight policy, with multiple sets of large portions of equipment to be taken to most races by sea freight. “We always develop the calendar in a way that is efficient for logistics and that will mean that if we go to a region it will be to do at least two races,” said Longo. “Whenever I have the pipeline confirmed then we will look into the most efficient way of creating the calendar.”
- Finally, Formula E is starting to seriously look at the development path for drivers to get to Formula E. As reported by Green Racing News: “Among the options under consideration are the creation of a single-brand ladder without teams, all under Formula E management. Another alternative, would be to put teams, letting them choose a driver, and the electric competition promoters another one.” The internal debate continues.
- With Formula 1’s plans to adopt fully synthetic fuel by 2025, the plan is to test the fuel in Formula 2 & 3 to work out the bugs before stepping up to F1. Teams have indicated that they are not too thrilled at being guinea pigs. According to RaceFans: “Carlin team boss Trevor Carlin, of Carlin and François Sicard of DAMS took issue with F1’s plan. The pair said they object to customer racing series, in which drivers pay to compete, being used to develop technologies for the wealthier manufacturers and teams which participate in Formula 1.” F2 and F3 boss Bruno Michel seems unfazed. “We will introduce sustainable fuels into Formula 2 and Formula 3 before we do into Formula 1,” he said earlier this year. “The reason for that is that Formula 2 and Formula 3 use a single type of engine, they use a single type of fuel. So we’ve got to do the job once. And, to be honest, it doesn’t have to be perfect.”
- The Sustainability Report Podcast has a great interview with Julia Fry, Kester Wilkinson (both Extreme E) and Dr. Matthew Bell (EY) who illustrate the impact of the first season of the electric off-road racing series with three amazing stories. You can listen to the podcast here.
Sustainable Motorsport Tech
- JEC Composites has a great look at the sustainable interior of a Porsche GT4 race car, an interior developed by Bcomp. “Bcomp’s lightweighting solution replaces nine interior carbon fibre parts with significantly more sustainable composite components that also help to minimise vibrations.”
- Finally, Autoweek looks at how hydrogen could fuel future internal-combustion hot rods. “With numerous modifications, engineering and the right software, hydrogen can fuel a combustion engine and offer performance similar to what traditional ICE engines offer, but without the pollution.”