“We had to set some hard targets”: Pat Symonds on how F1 is achieving its sustainable aims

Formula One has set out an ambitious sustainability strategy that includes the target of achieving a net-zero carbon footprint by 2030. Pat Symonds, the series’ chief technical officer, explains how motorsport’s preeminent championship is working to make good on its pledges.

Having made the switch to turbo hybrid power units back in 2014, Formula One developed its first-ever sustainability strategy in 2019 as part of a holistic environmental, social and governance (ESG) programme known as ‘We Race As One’.

According to Pat Symonds, the series’ chief technical officer, the “ambitious” strategy broadly breaks down into two main pillars: the first is to have fully sustainable events by 2025, and the second – “the very tough one” – is to achieve a net-zero carbon footprint by 2030.

“We had to set some pretty hard targets because we are such a public sport – and, you know, that’s a bit of a double-edged sword,” says Symonds. “I get quite upset when I see the words ‘gas guzzling’ right next to Formula One, and you see it so often in the popular press, when the reality is we’re anything but.

He adds: “Environmental sustainability is not just important to Formula One, it’s important to everyone. We’re not debating climate change anymore, that debate finished many years ago. The debate now is how to ensure that we are contributing to reducing climate change, contributing to technologies that will help our planet.”

Read the rest of Symonds' thoughts on the sustainable advancements of Formula One in BlackBook Motorsport's latest report, Racing with Purpose: How sustainable motorsport can accelerate a low-carbon future, available here


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