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FIA introduces sustainable fuel into Formula 1 and commits to 2030 net-zero

On December 17, 2020, during its Annual General Assembly, the Federation Internationale de L'Automobile (FIA) approved an "ambitious" environmental strategy plan to become carbon neutral in 2021 on route to net-zero by 2030. In addition, the first barrels of 100 percent sustainable fuel, made from biowaste and developed to stringent F1 specifications, have been delivered to Power Unit manufacturers.

FIA European Truck Racing Championship is a truly unique motorsport spectacle. Founded in 1985, the current format has been in operation since 2006 thrilling fans across Europe with the world’s most advanced racing trucks. The eligible vehicles are series production two-axle road tractor units weighing at least 5 300kg. The size and weights of the vehicles’ mean speeds are limited to 160 km per hour, with engines limited to a maximum cubic capacity of 13 000 cm3 (photo courtesy FIA).

The FIA introduced a hybrid Power Unit in Formula 1 and created Formula E in 2014, set up a dedicated Environment and Sustainability Commission in 2017 chaired by former President of Mexico Felipe Calderón, and joined the United Nations Sports for Climate Action Framework (UNFCC) in 2019.

Based on a science-based target reduction plan aligned with the Paris Agreement 1.5°C objective, the approved commitment builds on the FIA’s increasing efforts to reduce the environmental impact of motorsport and mobility by setting clear goals to accelerate this progress.

The FIA will work with its Members Clubs and championships to support their efforts to become carbon neutral by developing and improving environmental sustainability across its two pillars.

With 243 Members Clubs in 146 countries and 303 championships, the impact of this commitment will be felt globally and result in a significant reduction in carbon emissions and broader environmental impact, through three strategic areas:

  • Climate Action: Accelerating net-zero transformation;
  • Technology & Innovation: Fostering sustainable and innovative solutions;
  • Sustainable Practices: Driving sustainable change.

First barrels of sustainable racing fuel

One of the most significant steps to achieving this goal has been the research, development, and production by the FIA’s Technical Department of a 100 percent sustainable fuel, developed to stringent F1 specifications, able to power Formula One cars.

As a second-generation biofuel variety, meaning it is exclusively refined using biowaste, not intended for human or animal consumption, the first barrels are now with F1’s Power Unit manufacturers for testing and validation.

The objective is to demonstrate the technology works and to lead F1 suppliers to develop their own fuels, with the mandatory requirement of 100 percent sustainable fuels in F1 targeted by the introduction of the new powertrain architecture.

From 2021, other FIA championships, such as the European Truck Racing Championship (ETRC), will also be able to use sustainable fuel.

FIA takes its responsibility in leading motorsport and mobility into a low carbon future to reduce the environmental impacts of our activities and contribute to a greener planet. I’m glad that our Members Clubs approve our environmental strategy that is part of the Purpose Driven initiative focused on the societal contribution of our two pillars. By developing sustainable fuel made from biowaste that can power Formula 1, we are taking a new step forward. With the support of the world’s leading energy companies, we can combine the best technological and environmental performance, said Jean Todt, FIA President.

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