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F1 a surprise second behind FE in new sustainability ranking

Formula 1’s quest to become more sustainable is paying off, with it emerging second behind Formula E in a new report ranking the sustainability of global motorsport championships.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB16B, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB16B, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12, the rest of the field at the start

The Sustainable Championship Index, which has been produced by the same Enovation Consulting company that recently created the Sustainable Circuits Index, has evaluated 106 motorsport championships around the world.

Looking at both car and motorcycle series, the report has assessed the environmental, social and governance impact of each championship, plus their engagement with different stakeholders.

Using publicly disclosed data in research from July to November 2021, it looked at 25 different sustainability performance criteria across six broad areas that include certifications, accreditations and awards, environmental criteria, social criteria, engagement and partnerships, and sustainability approach.

With it putting the series into ranked tiers, the all-electric FE series was the only championship that fell into the top category with a ranking of four.

Setting the benchmark in the report, thanks to a score of 79 out of a maximum of 100, it was not surprising that the championship came out so well considering it was built on a foundation of sustainability.

As well as FE having a 3-Star accreditation under the FIA’s Environmental Certification Framework, its push for recycling of batteries and broken carbon fibre parts, plus efforts to eradicate single-use plastics in the paddock, were highlighted.

F1 came in behind FE, earning a score of 60 out of 100 after a few years where it has made good gains on the sustainability front.

The report said that F1’s place in the order was ‘slightly more surprising’ than FE being top.

As well as having the same 3-star FIA Environmental accreditation as FE, actions such as a net-zero target by 2030, plus the use of 100% renewable energy for its headquarters, and the trialling of a carbon neutral broadcast centre over the British Grand Prix, were mentioned.

The report said: “While there is still room from improvement, F1 has come a long way on its journey towards a sustainable future, elevating its level of engagement and setting the pace for other stakeholders to follow suit.”

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR21 Mule

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin AMR21 Mule

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

MotoGP came in third, with a score of 60, ahead of Extreme E, the FIA World Touring Car Cup and NASCAR.

Dr Cristiana Pace, who is a member of the FIA Environmental and Sustainability Commission and founder and managing director of sustainability consultants Enovation, said F1’s place was very welcome.

“I want to congratulate everybody on the list, from the bottom to the top, for having started this sustainability journey,” she said. “F1 is actually a good surprise and we are really happy for them. We are delighted with the outcome.

"They have a strong legacy, so for them it's much more difficult to be sustainable. But they have definitely put some resources on sustainability for a few years now.

“It's good as well that MotoGP is in third position. We always think about four wheels, but we don't have to forgot two wheels.

"The FIM has got a very different strategy on sustainability compared to the FIA, but all of motorsport is moving in the right direction.”

As well as showcasing the efforts of series like FE, F1 and MotoGP, the report also highlighted how some categories have a lot of room for improvement.

In total, 72 series fell into the bottom category of a low score – including Formula 2, Formula 3, the DTM, IndyCar and IMSA.

More details about the report can be found at: www.sustainablemotorsportindex.com

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