In 2019, Formula 1 announced its intention to have a net zero carbon footprint by 2030, covering areas such as logistics, the use of renewable fuels and the reduction of waste.
Renewable fuels are part of new powertrain regulations for 2026, which will streamline the design of F1’s hybrid engines. The sport also aims to make the grand prix sustainable by 2025 by banning the disposal of single-use plastics and reusing or recycling waste, among other initiatives.
Vettel stressed that, as impressive as F1’s efficient hybrid engines are, it should put more emphasis on its footprint as a spectator sport following its expansion to 24 races a year, all of which are heavily attended because the sport has become more popular than ever. .
He believes F1 should reinvest some of its revenue into its current promoters to help them find greener solutions to help reduce its spectator footprint.
Speaking at a summit organized by World eX, an esports championship promoting zero-emission mobility and clean energy, Vettel said: “Any type of event that attracts a large crowd has to live up to the responsibilities that come with our times.
“Obviously we draw big crowds in Formula 1. I think the sport has become more popular in recent years with new fan bases, especially in North America, which has made the sport bigger and more developed.
“But with that, there are more people who have to go to the track, who have to be managed when they are on the track. So yes, there are a lot of things that can be done, as with other big events.
“Obviously how people get to the event, public transport is not just a big topic in general, but also getting to and from events, so there’s a lot of things I think we can do.
“At the end of the day, we have to take some of the revenue or the money that Formula 1 in particular generates and try to reinvest in the promoters and give them the opportunity to decide on a better, greener solution. and cleaner when it comes to managing crowds and dealing with the event.”
Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR22
Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images
Vettel, who announced his retirement from F1 after the 2022 season last month, earlier spoke out against the lack of road relevance of current hybrid engines due to their cost and complexity, an issue that is expected to be at the less partially resolved by 2026 changes. .
Even though motorsport events are arguably no more polluting than other mass spectator events, the sport is coming under greater scrutiny from politicians and activists.
Vettel argued that Formula 1 can counter any existential questions posed by the outside world by reviving the development of sustainable technologies that benefit society as a whole.
“At the end of the day, it doesn’t make a big difference whether we’re driving cars, hosting a music concert, or doing other things, watching the big crowd and the footprint of the crowd itself. “, he added.
“But that comes back to the question of relevance. And if we don’t find a way to really help make a difference, and contribute to the fact that everyone benefits from what we do for fun, and the engineering innovation that comes with that, so I think pretty soon the question will be, ‘Okay, what’s the point?’
“We get it, because we love it, we’re motorsport enthusiasts, and you don’t have to explain that to us. But if you zoom out and talk to a crowd that has nothing to do with the sport automobile, quite rightly, I think these questions will arise in the future.
“So it’s up to us to be in front to be a lap ahead and not get overtaken, so to speak, with the huge power that we have.
“We spend a lot of money in motorsport, but with that comes a lot of innovation, engineering and power that can be channeled in a better direction, so everyone, even outside of the sport automobile, take advantage of it one day, whether the answer is electric, or hydrogen or something else.”