Formula 1 Climate Goals and Aramco Partnership - Başak Bozoğlu


Formula 1 is the highest level of international auto racing organized by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA). Formula 1 has a history of seventy years, but it has regained its popularity in the last few years like never before. There are ten teams, and each team has two pilots for racing during the racing series. The interesting issue is that Formula One is one of the most expensive sport and Formula One is the fastest regulated car in the world. Millions follow the Championships, drivers' personal lives, team's race, and qualifying in stadiums and the media. The race, which is on the list with everything, draws attention with its technological developments, engines, and sponsorships.

Being the fastest racing car in the world means you need great mechanical power, energy, and a solid engine for this power. The questions start at this point, what effects do such powerful cars have on the environment. In these years, when the damage caused by carbon emissions to nature was reduced by various means and electric cars were started to be produced, how much damage does formula one cars cause to the environment.


Before 2014, Formula 1 cars used much larger short-stroke engines, causing more gasoline in a shorter time. During the years 2006 - 2013, Formula 1 cars had a massive 2.4-liter V8 motor type, producing more traditional production. That is more appropriate for races because it has powerful shrieks and howls, which are more attractive for fans. However, in 2014 the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile announced that they were looking the new ways to reduce their carbon footprint while still improving efficiency in the races.

Along with technological developments and changes in engines, the event's environmental discussions continued to grow like an avalanche with each passing day. One of the Forbes article state that the average road car emits 4600 of carbon dioxide yearly. By comparison, the average F1 racecar emits a staggering 12,350 kilograms of CO2 per season. In other words, 3x the amount of a typical car.

In addition to all these discussions, Formula E was launched in 2014. Formula E is officially connected to the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, and it is a single-seater motorsport championship that uses only electric cars. As predicted, Formula E never reached the same popularity as Formula 1.

Later, Formula 1 announced that F1 calculated its total carbon emissions at 256,551 tonnes in 2018. And, forty-five percent of that figure came from logistics of shifting, shifting freight around the world by road, air, and sea, and only 0.7 percent came from the emissions of the racing cars themselves. But still, Formula 1's carbon footprint is massive.

With millions of eyes on you and doing a million-dollar sport, it becomes very difficult to remain unresponsive to the world's developments. F1 authorities launched a plan in November to become net carbon neutral by 2030 and to have "sustainable" races by 2025. Chase Carey, the Chairman and CEO of Formula 1, states after Formula 1's launching F1's first-ever sustainability strategy, "we recognize the critical role that all organizations must play in tackling this global issue."

This move is the first time Formula 1 announced that they had a new policy on sustainability. But for many people, this announcement would not be enough when countries like Norway, Austria, or the European Union are also aiming to become net carbon neutral in the same time frame countrywide.

The interesting news is that seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton said, "F1 is only implementing it [net carbon neutral status] in 10 years, and I don't fully understand why that doesn't change sooner. These large corporations that have a lot of money and power behind them and can make change happen quicker, but it's not their number one priority" in ESPN.

When Formula 1 continues to increase its popularity, especially the Netflix series, Formula 1: Drive to Survive in 2020. Approximately 471 million viewers watch Formula 1 racing on only global TV. An interesting sponsorship deal was signed at a time when its popularity was so high. This month Saudi Arabian Oil Company Aramco signed a huge global sponsorship deal with Formula 1. Thus, Aramco had officially joined DHL, Emirates, Heineken, Pirelli, and Rolex as one of F1's six global partners in March 2020.

This sponsorship takes huge attention in the media and for most fans. The Aramco's officials stated that they were keen to partner up with Formula 1 for their first global partnership "in recognition of the sport's dynamic appeal and growing global fan base." This kind of sponsorship provides creating rebranding in social media and advertising your company through Formula 1 viewers. The controversial and surprising issue is that Formula 1's announcement about sustainability and agrees with a giant oil company. Generally, sponsorships are done to use each other's audience, gain popularity, bring more voice, support, and provide a mutual win and win situation.

This partnership has prompted questioning of Formula 1's intention and plans for environmental improvement. In Formula 1 news, under the new sponsorship, both companies agreed to work towards sharing information that could aid the advancement of sustainable fuels and engine efficiencies. Chase Carey, the Chairman and CEO of Formula 1, stated, "We are looking forward to sharing our combined expertise and working with Aramco on technological innovation, and we will benefit hugely from its capabilities and expertise in the fuel and energy sector." Will this partnership provide more effective movements for environmental issues in Formula 1, or will they postpone Formula 1's plans for 2030 even further?


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