Formula One Racing Failing on its Green Promises

honda earth car image

Image credit: BluGroup
F1 Motorsport Accused of Greenwash
Once upon a time, Formula One racing committed to going hybrid and reducing emissions. But commitments are one thing, following through on them is another. So far it looks like F1 racing's green tendencies are largely limited to paint jobs. And it would seem that The Guardian's Greenwash column would agree, laying into the world's premier motorsport series for a woeful lack of commitment to sustainability.
Here'e more from The Guardian's Fred Peirce on Formula One's betrayal of its green promises:

One of Mosley's key ideas was to require cars to recycle energy generated by braking – a technology called kinetic energy recovery. With cars decelerating from 200mph to 50mph in a couple of seconds, there is considerable energy to be harnessed that is otherwise dissipated in heat and noise.

So far, four teams have taken up the technology. Ferrari used the system at Barcelona last weekend, but BMW dropped it; McLaren-Mercedes and Renault also trialled it at the start of the Grand Prix season. In any case, the purpose of energy recycling has turned out not to be exactly as billed. The brake energy is being stored in a battery or flywheel not to reduce fuel consumption, but to provide a quick power surge during overtaking manoeuvres and to come faster out of corners. Good fun for racers, I am sure, but not in the least bit green.

Out on the track, the most obvious sign of the "greening" of Formula 1 over the last two years has been the sight of Honda cars going round with a big map of the planet on the side.

But the "Earth Car" didn't prove such a success. Honda pulled out of Formula 1 over the winter. The website they once advised you to visit to check out their progress in greening racing cars now carries a goodbye message.

Just to play devil's advocate here, F1 teams are always trying to boost speed and acceleration, and usually it comes at the cost of INCREASED emissions - so regenerative breaking still offers some benefit (not to mention helping to develop the technology for mundane uses) - but I'd agree that F1 can still do a lot more.

Related Content on