Sustainable Motorsport Roundup for July 30, 2022-Thanks Seb!

This week in the Sustainable Motorsport Roundup, I have a lot of great green racing developments for you to enjoy. From Sebastian Vettel racing a 100-year-old race car on sustainable fuel to the 2nd edition of the Sustainable Circuits Index, to Formula E’s impact on sustainability, there is a lot here to digest. I also look at two athletes that have not been shy in voicing their opinions on issues that matter, something not always easy in a motorsport context. From “Vegan, Hippie Chick with a Race Car” Leilani Münter to Formula 1 driver Sebastian Vettel, they both have spoken up for what they believe is right and they should both be thanked for that.

Sustainable Motorsport Roundup for July 30, 2022-Thanks Seb!
Vettel in Green Pea
  • One cool story from the recent French Grand Prix was Sebastian Vettel’s run in Green Pea, the first Aston Martin Grand Prix race car. The 100-year-old ‘Green Pea’ ran on sustainable fuel. Vettel used the same for his previous demonstration run in Nigel Mansell’s 1992 championship-winning Williams-Renault FW14B at Silverstone earlier this month. It is exciting to see motorsport researching any number of sustainable technologies, looking forward to the future while not forgetting its the past.
  • Formula 1 has announced that they are on schedule to switch to fully sustainable fuel in 2026, but retiring F1 driver Sebastian Vettel believes that the sport is too slow in adopting the fuel. “It goes to show that it can be done, it is ready,” he said. “So you’re also asking yourself why, in Formula 1, we are so slow? If we always claim to be the best at everything, we are more than four years behind.”
  • In addition to the P1 Synthetic Fuel that ran Green Pea, ex-Formula 1 engineer Paddy Lowe is pursuing similar goals with his Zero Petroleum. “Synthetic fuels are made using renewable power (wind, solar, geothermal) and efficient industrial processes (carbon capture, electrolysis, thermal reactions) and should not be confused with biofuels or fuels made from waste. The raw materials are just air and water from which are obtained the ingredients carbon dioxide and hydrogen. Zero Petroleum uses Direct FT® (a proprietary and highly advanced version of Fischer-Tropsch) to directly manufacture target fuels (gasoline, kerosene and diesel) at high yield and with no need for refinery upgrading.”
Sustainable Motorsport Roundup for July 30, 2022
  • Last week I mentioned the brand new Tomorrow’s Motorsport podcast that is being produced by Motorsport Prospects contributor Tristan Niesslein and . “Tomorrow’s Motorsport is looking at the not-too-distant future of motorsport with the key players, influencers and advocates, at how the business of motorsport will meet the challenges of present and future, when it comes to Transformation, Innovation and Performance.” The first episode has been released and you can listen to Tristan and Ignition Human Performance‘s Neil Butcher chat with Ferdinand Habsburg. “This episode Ferdinand talks about his approach to performance, sustainability and what’s coming next, as he launches Rebel Team by WRT, Ferdinand is spearheading a really unique approach to going racing – and he needs you to be a part of it!” You can listen to the episode here.
  • RightHub and Enovation Consulting have announced the publication of the 2nd edition of the Sustainable Circuits Index™ (SCI ™), the annual study which assesses and reports on the sustainable performances of motorsport venues across the world. The study evaluates the sustainability performances of the circuits by analyzing their commitment to environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. The Top3 circuits leading the way are Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya (Spain), Mugello Circuit (Italy) and Circuit Paul Ricard (France). Download the study:
Sustainable Motorsport Roundup for July 30, 2022
  • Formula E was featured in two non-motorsport magazines which is always significant as it makes people more aware of sustainable motorsport generally and Formula E specifically. Sustainability Magazine looks at how Formula E is a catalyst for sustainability in motorsport. “Targeting an urgent matter like climate change can lead to fluster among organisations, so the steady, measured approach is what FE took in terms of emissions reduction and ensuring that waste is managed in a circular fashion. While the FE events are centred around the racing, there is also a huge sustainability element to be considered in every corner as it promotes an environmental legacy and sentiment towards its host cities.”
  • Meanwhile, Fast Company looks at how Formula E, the all-electric alternative to Formula 1, is driving EV innovation. “Electric racing tech has progressed quickly in the years since the sport launched. The first cars used in the original races, known as Gen 1, had to pit stop to switch out the entire car because it couldn’t make it the whole course with one battery. Now, the Gen 2 car completes the entire track, reaches speeds of up to 170 miles per hour, and also boasts regeneration, whereby braking recaptures some of the car’s kinetic energy by charging the battery. When Gen 3 launches next season, it will have front regeneration—and it will pit stop in order to fast-charge, partly just to demonstrate to spectators that it can be done. “What Formula E does very well is [being] a complete and utter technical demonstrator of what the future of mobility looks like,” says Jack Lambert, a Jaguar racing engineer.”
  • Formula E has also collaborated with logistics company DHL and NYC Parks to plant 50 trees following the New York City ePrix earlier this month. “The trees have been placed in the Red Hook district of New York, one of the most underserved neighbourhoods in the city and particularly susceptible to poor air quality and flooding.In one year, the trees are expected to intercept 4,700 gallons of stormwater, conserve 5,650kWh of energy, remove 11.43lbs of air pollutants and remove 2,025 tons of CO2.”
  • When it comes to the new FormulaE Gen 3 car, Green Racing News reports that drivers like Sam Bird are getting excited. “I drove it for the first time a few weeks ago and it came out of the pitlane where we were testing and my first thought was Holy sh…, this is some power now! I went from turn one to turn three very fast, much faster than we’ve done in the Gen 2 cars which put a smile on my face. The braking technology is much more advanced and complex, we don’t really have brakes, it’s all done by regenerative braking, which is great,” said Jaguar Racing driver Sam Bird.
  • Carbon Positive Motorsport has announced a new end-to-end carbon offsetting package for rally championships and events. “The end-to-end package is structured to provide a full turnkey solution for any rally event and meets the needs of event stakeholders over four simple steps. In addition to carbon offsetting, the package provides events and organisers with a complete range of supporting services that enable organisers to focus on running successful and sustainable events.”
Sustainable Motorsport Roundup for July 30, 2022
Leilani Münter (Photo credit: Scott LePage)
  • Leilani Münter, the groundbreaking Eco ‘Vegan, Hippie Chick with a Race Car’, was named Evergreen Athlete last Monday, one of five prizes that will make up the first-ever BBC Green Sport Awards, in partnership with Sport Positive. “The BBC Green Sport Awards noted in a statement that “a panel of judges recognized Münter, 48, as one of the first athletes to use her platform to prominent effect in raising awareness of environmental issues, often to the detriment of her career. Unafraid and unapologetic, she brought the environmental conversation to motor sports fans, while also challenging convention as a woman in a male-dominated sport. Münter was doing this long before it became a cause celebre elsewhere in motorsport, and significantly prior to the development of EV racing.”
Sustainable Motorsport Roundup for July 30, 2022
Mark Boudreau
Author: Mark Boudreau

Mark is the publisher of Motorsport Prospects. As a former lawyer, he applies his legal background and research skills to assist race drivers by showcasing the resources they need to make their motorsport careers happen.