An investigation into F1 through a sustainability lens

* 6 min read
As Sunday 3rd July will be the turn of Silverstone to host the British round of the F1 Grand Prix. Simon explores what is the sport doing to improve their environmental and sustainability credentials and which areas could be further improved.

I won’t be looking into the changes within the cars, power units and fuels etc. Which incidentally are being radically modified to be kinder and more sustainable for our environment. In fact in 2019, F1 set a goal to be Net Zero by 2030. Part of their plans to achieve this is by ensuring they use ultra-efficient logistics. 100% renewably powered offices, facilities, and factories for all teams to have a Net-Zero footprint. But what else are the F1 teams and the owners of the F1 brand, Liberty Media Corporation doing to improve their negative impact on the environment?

Liberty Media Corp have put a milestone goal of 2025 where all its events will be sustainable, with single-use plastics. Including plastic bottles, cutlery and cups eliminated and all waste reused, recycled, or composted. Although they haven’t detailed exactly how they intend to achieve or measure this. This elimination of the obvious ‘single-use plastics’ needs to be accepted by us, the paying spectators as well as the teams, media and F1 owners need to change their behaviour.

Formula1ImageFrom March 2021, F1 staff moved from single-serve plastic water bottles to reusable containers with refill stations located around each circuit. They are even extending the changes to the remote camera operators and track-side staff, who were provided with pouches that contained enough water for the full day. The official passes that are given to employees, drivers and VIPs are made from recycled plastics, using an estimated 143k plastic bottles to create the annual passes. I wonder if these passes can be recycled or reused after use?

As role models F1 drivers also need to take responsibility,  some drivers have already clearly made steps into changing their professional and personal lifestyles to reflect this.

4-times F1 World Champion, Sebastian Vettel is one driver who has made many changes. In 2021 he displayed on his crash helmet the words ‘Change the World, Sip by Sip’ highlighting the CO2 emissions caused by transport and the use of single-use plastic bottles. He understands that F1 teams and their drivers play a huge part in the negative impact that travelling from race to race has on the environment.

He was quoted in saying “The future is important, and we must do our best to protect the planet for children and young people. We all share this responsibility and if we come together, we can make a difference” - Sebastian Vettel

Vettel has made small changes to his personal life including changing his energy supplier to a renewable supplier and now only eats locally grown seasonal food.

He was also witnessed in helping organisers clearing rubbish from the grandstands of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2021, rubbish including burger wrappers, event guides and beer cans and bottles that the spectators lazily dropped on the floor rather than disposing of them responsibly. He spent over 3 hours of his own time putting the spectators rubbish into bin bags which was taken away and disposed at the Grundon waste facility. Sebastian subsequently visited the facility the next day to learn how some of the rubbish he collected could be recycled.

With the F1 circus visiting over 20 locations throughout the year, spending at least 4 days at each circuit. Its not uncommon for unopened bottles of champagne to be left behind along with vast quantities of uneaten food and forgotten flower displays.

“F1 teams are making huge efforts to reduce their environmental impact at the track and away from it” Simon Furness – Sun Strategy.

Below are just a few of the best and worst teams:-


The most successful constructor in F1 for more than 15 years, use renewably sourced energy to power all their operations, including their wind tunnel at their factory in Brackley. Whereas their Brixworth Technology Centre (where their engines are developed) uses at least 50% renewable energy. This is achieved by using solar panels and on-site Combined Cooling, Heating and Power (CCHP) Plant, which uses an efficient gas engine to generate electricity for cooling, heating, and power.


They generate 87% of their energy used at Maranello from their trigeneration (also know as CCHP), and 95% of the remaining energy sourced from renewable providers. Their team headquarters comply with the New Zero Energy Building Protocol, which means energy they use is approximately equal to the renewable energy they create.

Red Bull, Hass, Alpha Tauri

Have not released any information on their sustainability goals

Everyone involved in F1, including the spectators still have a long way to go to improve its environmental and sustainability credentials, the teams and the organisation have made it clear that where the sport currently stands, is not acceptable and have set out clear goals for the future. The fans of F1 need to realise the part they play in making the sport more sustainable and environmentally friendly, being responsible for their own actions and not expecting others to do it for them.

At Sun Strategy we can work with you to ensure you recognise today’s sustainability regulations and understand how future legislations will affect you and your business. We help you create sustainable strategies fit for the future, whilst reducing the negative environmental impact. 

Pioneering the right choices for you, your fans and our planet.

About the author

imageedit 1 6168940299Simon Furness – Structural Design

Simon has 30 years' experience in the packaging industry. As an experienced structural packaging designer, he has worked with major brands and retailers including Marks and Spencer, Target, Pier 1, Tesco, Remington and Russell Hobbs. Simon has extensive manufacturing experience across primary, secondary, tertiary and food packaging. He designs holistically with primary considerations being fit for purpose packaging, durability, optimisation and sustainability. He has also worked closely with Asia, India and North American markets. Over the last 10 years, Simon has worked with clients to understand and recommend changes to their supply chain to improve and reduce damages and save cost.

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