How does Liberty Media reconcile hunger for more F1 with sustainability?

20-01-2022 17:04
F1 News
How does Liberty Media reconcile hunger for more F1 with sustainability?

For a good five years now, Liberty Media has been in charge of Formula 1. In that time, the popularity has gone up and so has the demand for more F1 races. At the same time, a sustainability strategy has also been put in place to be carbon neutral by 2030. How can that be unified?

F1 calendar getting bigger

Liberty Media has tried to expand or make the calendar more diverse every year in the last half of the decade. In 2022 there will be a record calendar with no less than 23 races. Liberty Media is increasing the calendar because there is more money to be made that way, but also because the popularity of the sport is growing so much that the demand for more races in different countries is increasing. According to F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali, there is enough interest for as many as thirty events.

 Liberty Media is moving with the fans' demand for more F1 races but that seems to go against the sustainability strategy that F1 instituted in 2019. The busy calendar not only causes overtired team members but above all it causes a lot of travel time and long travel distances. In the strategy report, F1 states that twenty percent of F1's waste emissions come from the driving cars themselves and the factories where the cars are made. Nearly 73 percent of those emissions come from travel by the F1 circus.

Itinerant F1 circus big culprit

Of that more than seventy percent, 45 percent is in the logistics of the material that has to be carried along each time. 27.7 percent of the emissions come from the business transportation that takes place around the most necessary aspects. Increasing the F1 calendar and a more sustainable future in F1 are the two tracks F1 is on; these two tracks just seem to be going in exactly opposite directions.

Numerous solutions have been given by F1 experts, journalists and policymakers. For example, holding two races in one place is a good solution to reduce the travel distance and still have a full calendar. It is also advisable to take a more logical route around the world. F1 always claims to think about this carefully, yet already this year in the first quarter we see a particularly illogical route that goes from Saudi Arabia, to Australia, to Italy, to the United States and back to Spain.

F1 strategy lacks priority

Given that a good seventy percent of Formula 1's emissions are in this major "travel frenzy," it would be wise to prioritize their strategy. Indeed, currently, this strategy touches on travel emissions as a single 'bullet point' that seems to be as important as the 'sheet' available on car emissions that contributes only 0.7 percent to emissions.

That Formula 1 is keeping its eye on sustainability is only a good thing, but again, increasing the calendar and making the sport more sustainable seem to be two incompatible tracks. Of course, we haven't talked about the money made from all the business travel. That too is something F1 should make a decision on in their own conscience that fits their motto of making F1 and the world more sustainable.

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