Formula E chief tears into Formula 1 sustainability push: ‘Not a sustainable sport’

Jamie Woodhouse
Formula 1 and Formula E cars alongside each other. May 2023.

Formula 1 and Formula E cars alongside each other. May 2023.

Formula E CEO Jeff Dodds believes rival series Formula 1 is discussing sustainability from a “very low base”.

Both of these FIA-sanctioned series are committed to a sustainable future within the field of motorsport, though are following different paths in their respective quests.

For Formula E, their path is rather clear as an all-electric series, while Formula 1 is attempting to prove there is still a future for the internal combustion engine, which from 2026 will be powered by fully-sustainable fuels alongside the electrical power to create a 50/50 split for that new generation of power units.

Formula 1 not a sustainable series claims Formula E chief

All of this forms part of Formula 1’s push to be a carbon neutral series by 2030, but while Dodds says a degree of credit is due for the efforts, ultimately he is clear in his mind that Formula 1 does not have a sustainable future.

“Let’s be clear, that [F1] is not a sustainable sport,” Dodds told City A.M.

“I’ll give them credit for getting better but let’s not try and convince anybody that that’s a big sustainable sport, because it’s not.

“There is a market for Formula 1 and people like the series, and therefore I give them full credit for anything they’re doing to try and improve their existing position.

“So anything they do that is material and meaningful that makes them more sustainable, they should get credit for. [But] when I say a low base, [it’s] a very low base.

“Based on snippets of information I picked up on Formula 1, the annual impact is around 250,000 tonnes of carbon and I think that excludes things like fan travel and stuff like that.

“So I’m not surprised Formula One is talking about it [sustainability].

“Because they are. You only have to read the press or pick up the newspaper or turn on the telly and they’re talking about sustainability.

“But let’s be clear, you know that they’re talking about sustainability from a very, very low base.” recommends

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While the regulations for the new 2026 power units are now in place, Red Bull boss Christian Horner has re-opened that particular can of worms by calling for a re-think amidst fears over the quality of the racing action if the current plans come to pass.

Among his concerns about the 50/50 divide between internal combustion and electrical power is the apparent prospect of drivers downshifting along straights to harvest energy.

Ferrari are willing to discuss changes, while Mercedes and Renault are happy with the current plans, but the real loser could be Formula 1 if the path to this key milestone in the sustainability drive now faces obstacles from within.

As it stands, simply time will tell whether Dodds is right about Formula 1’s sustainability talk, unless of course the likes of Red Bull force further compromises, at which point Formula 1 must be extremely careful regarding what said compromises are.

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